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Chores for Children: help or hindrance?

February 18, 2010

As ever I don’t claim to be an expert in this area but I’m merely sharing a part of our journey in the area of chores and children getting involved in the life and working day of the home; I have SO much to learn myself in ‘keeping home’ and am grateful for the grace and help of my husband and children as I learn my lessons!

Work is very much a part of life and I don’t think there is ever a ‘too young’ to start learning about responsibility and being given a small job to do regularly around the house. I refuse to raise a household of lazy and selfish individuals that have no sense of responsibility; therefore Dave and I realise WE have to put the work into our children everyday! Children don’t learn these lessons at school, from television or even watching you ‘slave away’ under their feet; they learn this lesson from YOU, in the home, getting their own little hands dirty!

Some things we’re finding important

  • The children need to see Dave and I (especially me in the day) enjoying our work, I need to be singing while I sweep the floor, chatting happily while I wash the dishes, not grumbling while I fold another huge pile of laundry (need to work on this one!!) – work is such a big part of life, it has to be full of joy and peace; this not only sets a great example for our children but also builds security in them that Mama LOVES being at home and bringing glory to God through all she does!
  • Build on character issues along side giving them responsibilities. At least four times a week as part of our daily devotions we work through certain character traits; so far this year we’ve studied the areas of faith, being attentive, creativity, diligence and patience – and I get to remind the children about these everyday…especially when they ‘slip’!!
  • Start off with jobs you know they can manage and be consistent with then build on them over a few months.
  • Train them in the area of work that you’ve given them, don’t expect the bathroom to be sparkling and clean if all you’ve told them is ‘clean the bathroom’, spend time showing them what to do and explain the outcome that you’d like to see!
  • Our children don’t get an ‘allowance’ yet and we don’t ‘reward’ them for every job they do; we don’t want to train our children that you only work to get a reward (because as we all know that isn’t always the case!) but we do regularly review their weeks work, encourage them LOTS and bless them with treats and special outings to say thank you and ‘well done’…but they never know when that is going to happen, it’s always a surprise!

Joel tackling the dishes

Nyah making the salad

Micah taking the cutlery to the table and trying to set it out!

It’s not always easy, they don’t always ‘feel’ like it and like to express that (as we all do from time to time!) but we’ve made it a consistent part of their daily routine, we have breakfast, read and pray together, do a short review on work and attitudes from the day before then set them to work!

A big thing to tackle early on is grumbling; a scripture we taught the children and regularly quote in our house is Phil 2, v 14 – 16:

Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.”
Phil 2: 14 – 16

What do we do?

Here’s a brief run down of what the children are involved with at the moment:

Nyah and Joel take it in turns every day to be my ‘kitchen helper’; this can mean chopping, stirring, mixing, setting the table, filling the water jug etc. It’s a great way to get time with them at the end of the day and teach them about cooking, nutrition, recycling, composting etc. We have great fun and they LOVE telling Daddy that they made the salad or the bread!

They are responsible for their rooms although I do help them keep on top of things if needs be; they have to do a 10 minute ‘pick up’ every morning, make bed, open curtains etc.

They are all (even Micah if he can carry things) responsible for clearing the table after every meal, scraping plates and stacking ready for the washing up to be done.

Micah gets involved with lots around the house and is the first to go to the kitchen to get the dustpan and brush if something gets spilt, he clears up after himself and is very handy with a mop…very cute!

Every morning:

Joel: feeds fish and guinea pigs, brings in the milk from front door and tidies and sweeps the hall way

Nyah: switches laundry from washer to dryer, takes dry clothes up stairs ready to sort, wipes down bathroom and picks up any towels, stray toothbrushes etc.

They are also on hand to do regular ‘pick ups’ throughout our day and are a whizz at folding laundry!

I’ve heard many mothers comment how it’s much ‘easier’ and quicker to do it themselves and yes I have to agree that sometimes it is but that isn’t sowing into or training my children for adulthood or shared life in any way at all. Training our children is hard work and is a sacrifice, but for every time the guinea pig food is spilt all over the kitchen floor and I act patiently and graciously towards my son (and show him how to avoid doing it again) I am producing and sowing into a man of God, a future father and husband that will bring glory to God!

Soli Deo Gloria!

Trust you’re having a blessed week – thanks for popping by!


4 Comments leave one →
  1. February 18, 2010 10:52 am

    Great post Leah! This is so important for our children. I know that my 'work ethic' whether in or out of the home comes from how my parents trained me and lead by example. You are doing a GREAT job! Have a wonderful day x

  2. February 18, 2010 12:03 pm

    Fabby as ever Leah xxxxx Our boys are really getting into their chores…..LOTS and LOTS of encouragement goes a long long way…we have the book 'mangers of their chores' by the Maxwells from the titus2 website…it is a great book…..really affirming of why it is so imortant to teach responsibility, dilligence and to nurture a servant heart.They all like to be mealtime helper the most so one does brekkie, one lunch and one dinner…having a three year old pouring our cereal in not always a blessing to my kitchen floor…but then it provides much opportunity to develop those sweeping skills so its not all bad!!!!!

  3. February 18, 2010 3:35 pm

    Thanks for your encouragement and comments Kathi and Lucy; we're learning new things everyday and know that keeping a regular rhythm to our routine in all these things is SO important – keep up the great work ladies 🙂

  4. February 19, 2010 6:19 am

    I loved this post! I agree that it's important to teach our children how to be a part of their home and that includes chores and helping around the house with everyday jobs 🙂 Cute pictures btw!

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