Friday, April 20, 2012

Little Chores



We have made some changes this week that are really making a difference.

Our normal pattern of leaving the majority of the cleaning for the weekend is not working.

Last weekend when we asked our two older children to help us clean, they both threw tantrums citing that we were using them as slaves. They spent more time complaining than cleaning and it was a very painful process. It usually is a painful experience on the weekends trying to play catch up for a week long neglect.  To their credit, it is overwhelming thinking about all that needs to be done on our weekend that should be a time to play.

I have been afraid to ask them to help during the week because they are in school all day and still have homework, violin to practice, cub scouts, etc.. But, the amount of mess that they make is more than I can keep up with.

This past weekend was the last straw. They were taking on attitudes of entitlement that I was not happy to witness.

I told them that we were going to do thing differently starting with the expectation that they each were going to be expected to do a chore a day.

The results surprised me.

1. They did the chores willingly without much complaint.

2. They did them quickly so they would have free time sooner.

3. They seemed to feel good about themselves for doing it.

4. It did not take much time or hair pulling.

And there were some other realizations and surprises.

1. Two children doing 2 chores a day equal 14 tasks completed a week. They would never do that much on a weekend.

2. Because they cleared living room and kitchen floors of toys yesterday, I was able to sweep, vacuum, and mop those floors today in about 30 to 45 minutes time while the baby played in the same room.

3. We now do not have to spend hours cleaning the house tomorrow.

4. It is Friday and I do not have to be embarassed about letting anyone come over, when normally at this point in the week, the house is horribly cluttered.

I also realized that by breaking the housework into smaller tasks, it becomes much more manageable such as instead of having the goal be clean the whole kitchen, it is on thursday, clear floors, then friday sweep, vacuum, and mop the floors. This is also better, because when you have a baby/toddler to watch, you do not have huge chunks of time to complete huge tasks.

Also, smaller tasks are not so overwhelming for kids to do and they are much more willing to help when the tasks are in smaller bites.

Why did we not figure This out before now?

I really don't have to do it all...and I really shouldn't have to, either..

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