Put Your Kids to Work

12 Jul

When I was a kid, I had a lot of chores. I had to do my chores because I was part of the family, though I did get a $5.00 a week allowance when I was a teenager.

When I asked around at school or to friends, it seemed like my brother and I were expected to do more chores, at least compared to many of my peers. I didn’t exactly think it was unfair that I was expected to do so much, but I did wonder why other parents didn’t want their children working. Did they think their kids would do it wrong? Was it just easier to do it quick without a helper?

I can certainly sympathize with that. When the kids help me with a task, it takes twice and long and everything ends up dirtier than it was before we started. But that’s for younger kids, older kids need to learn how to do pretty much everything around the house or else they’ll end up helpless and pathetic when they decide it’s time to move out. And you have to start when they’re young in order to make responsibility a part of life.

Once I got to high school, a lot of my peers had responsibility around the home (mowing the lawn, cooking a few times a week, keeping the car filled with gas, taking care of personal laundry) but there were a few kids whose parents still kept their bedrooms clean and packed their lunches every day. At that point, when the kid is 14-18 years old, it’s just sad if he or she is incapable of such simple jobs.

My kids will leave home with all the appropriate homemaking skills in their arsenal. I refuse to let them enter the world as privileged little assholes who can’t cook a basic meal or do a simple load of laundry.

Life Skills 101 starts early in the Eating Dirt family:

Cleaning out Gramma and Grampa's shed

Cleaning out Gramma and Grampa’s shed

Helping Daddy assemble a cabinet

Helping Daddy assemble a cabinet

watering the flowers

watering the flowers

If you spill the cinnamon, you clean it up!

If you spill the cinnamon, you clean it up!

Doing the dishes!

Doing the dishes!

Helping Daddy assemble the doll crib, which will be baby brother's crib for the first few months of his life

Helping Daddy assemble the doll crib, which will be baby brother’s crib for the first few months of his life

Helping Grampa install a ceiling fan

Helping Grampa install a ceiling fan

Fixing a step ladder

Fixing a step ladder

Helping Uncle Jesse clear a spot for the sandbox

Helping Uncle Jesse clear a spot for the sandbox

Helping Daddy try to fix a wooden bench

Helping Daddy try to fix a wooden bench

Cleaning the toilet

Cleaning the toilet

Helping Daddy fix the gate

Helping Daddy fix the gate

Fixing the door

Fixing the door

Helping Grampa fill in the hole

Helping Grampa fill in the hole

Wait...fixing the door again?  Either that or he was getting ready to wash the windows...

Wait…fixing the door again? Either that or he was getting ready to wash the windows…

Washing dishes again

Washing dishes again

What?  The door needs to be fixed again?  Okay, seriously, I think we just need a new door...

What? The door needs to be fixed again? Okay, seriously, I think we just need a new door…

Helping Uncle Chris fill up bucks of dirt

Helping Uncle Chris fill up bucks of dirt

Raking the yard

Raking the yard

Helping Daddy build a frame for the sandbox lid (which was ultimately destroyed by the massive rainfall in May 2012)

Helping Daddy build a frame for the sandbox lid (which was ultimately destroyed by the massive rainfall in May 2012)

So, do you make your kids work? Do they have chores? Obviously, a lot of these pictures are tongue-in-cheek: RJ is not really fixing our door. But the bottom line remains the same: our children will have chores and jobs around the house/yard because they are part of the family. They will not go out into the world completely unprepared for the day-to-day tasks of living life in North America.

2 Responses to “Put Your Kids to Work”

  1. Chrissie July 12, 2013 at 5:24 pm #

    I agree with u 110%!!! Not enuf parents expect their children to even help them do chores, never mind expect them to do them on their own!! I believe that it’s part of our job as parents to make sure that our kids know how to cook and clean and do laundry and fix things, etc! I think it’s as important as keeping them fed and clothed and safe because it affects the rest of their lives. I will admit that there are times when I do things alone because it’s faster but there are a lot of times when I expect the girls to help me and other times when I expect the chore to be done totally by them. If you make things fun it helps. Playing music while we are cleaning and dancing around and singing is fun, blowing the bubbles around while doing dishes, singing while cooking… The options are endless! I know that They won’t always think its fun to help but they will always be expected to pull their weight around the house. Welcome to the real world kids!

    • L.W. July 12, 2013 at 7:39 pm #

      When they think it’s fun, you have to take advantage of that! RJ loves helping me mom the floor. It’s such a novelty because I rarely mop…once every two months or so.
      But yes, I do things myself a lot at this point, just to get it done. But we’ve started easy chores for RJ with a chore chart, etc.

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