I loved all of your suggestions for chores and I thank you all for your help and advice. I’m glad to know that some of you are struggling with this just like I am, and I am glad that some of you already have it together so you can impart your wisdom to the rest of us!
There were some great ideas you handed down, and most of you agreed that kids shouldn’t be paid for chores, but an extra privilege or treat was not out of the question either for a job well done. I like that and will keep that in mind.
There were a few items that jumped out at me and really made me think. I’m not always the most patient person in the world, especially when it comes to my kids (it’s sad, I know), but Debby reminded me that … “It is usually more work for you to get someone to do something new than it is to just do it yourself. So, most of the time we just do it ourself. But it is of course more benefit to the person you are teaching, and eventually will be more benefit to you.” Thank you for reminding me that I have to TEACH them how to do these things, not just give them the chore and then send them on their way, as I am apt to do. So I will keep in mind that this is a learning experience for them right now.
Also, Jeanette brought up a very interesting point about why now is a good time to get this going – “you will never have more time to teach them stuff then you do right now! As they get older they are home less and they will have more school work and outside activities. It’s easy to let things slide because they seem so busy…. However your relationship with them will be so much better if you are able to teach them simple responsibilies now!”. I figure once they learn to drive, I won’t see them very often, and by then it will probably be too late! So now really is the best time to instill these habits into them.
And finally Vickie nailed down the WHY of giving them responsibilities, “i realized that one of my big break through moments was when i realized it was MUCH easier to live life with my kids and I being “on the same” side of the fence than at odds with each other. And I am very honest to the kids that they need to know how to do all the household things – so that they know how to take care of themselves”.
I always looked at this as benefiting myself, but really they will be the ones who benefit the most from it.
Okay, so after reading all your comments and thinking about how to go about this, I did a Google search (I love Google) for “kids’ chores” and this was one of the hits.
Handipoints is a site where kids (with a parents help) can create chore lists, and then for every chore they complete, they get bonus points to use in Handiland – a virtual town populated by cats. The kids choose a cat and they can use their handipoints to buy clothes or things for their cat. It’s kind 0f like Webkinz or Neopets, or something along those lines. I asked the kiddos if they thought this would be something they liked: they were all over it like white on rice! I found the site on 6:30 Friday night and by 9:30 that night, my son had made his bed, picked up the dirty clothes off the floor, put his toys away, unloaded the dishwasher, fed the dog, taken out the trash, and brushed his teeth WITHOUT BEING TOLD, just so he could get points for his cat. So far it has worked out well. My daughter hasn’t had a chance to play with it much, but she was at Grandma’s for the weekend, so she’ll have time this week. I think it will be a good thing for however long it lasts, and then if/when they lose interest in that, maybe they will at least have gotten into the habit of doing their chores.
I also had a little “talk” with my son about why I want him to learn these things. I repeated a lot of what you all had to say, like how he will someday want to live on his own and he needs to know how to do things himself, and that it will make for a happy mommy to have some help with these things. I think he gets the picture now and is a little more willing to help when I ask him. And I do make sure to “ask” instead of “telling” him to do things, I don’t like having orders barked at me, so I’m sure he doesn’t either.
We had a really good weekend and I think he will be more receptive to helping out and learning some new “skillz” this summer. Ask me in 2 months how things are going – hopefully I’ll have something good to report!
Thanks again for all your advice and tips – you guys are awesome!! 🙂