Friday, 13 April 2012

Chores for children

I've been thinking of ways my 4 year old daughter can help more around the house. My sleep has been lessened greatly lately because the baby (8months old) has been waking very early -5:30am seemed like a sleep-in today! - so I looked at this list of chores from Purposeful Mom and realised that at 4, my daughter is already probably helping enough. I need to get her into some sort of routine though.

At 18months of age she loved nothing more than to sit on the grass beside the laundry basket and hand me the clean clothes to hang on the line. She was all for it. It was her favourite thing. She does now often sort her clothes from the rest in the washed pile, then puts them into the right places in her little cupboard. I often cringe when I look in there afterwards though, as it's not to my standard. I think mummy needs to let go of perfection in these areas though. I read once that as long as someone is helping you (especially a child or a messy husband) you should just be happy they've completed a task, no matter how differently they've done it to the way you would do it. That's got to be true. I know a lot of the time I do way more than I need to do alone just because I want things to look a certain way. I can ask my husband to wash up but I would prefer the dishes to be washed the way I want them done, and then I know the kitchen will look its best at the end as well. Gah. Perfectionism. It really does stand in the way of a lot of things for me, I'm realising.

I'm not sure how to do a chore chart for my daughter. Perhaps I'll do a small list for starters and see how she goes. She could:
*Make her bed
*Put clothes left in loungeroom back in the bedroom
*Make sure the cushions on the lounge are tidy
*Sort washing into piles
*Put her washing into the cupboard and drawers

I think those few above will do for starters. If she starts doing them regularly then a few more added in won't be a big thing. It will definitely free up more of my time if I can delegate at least some little tasks to her. I love making the house a home, and I can more than happily do the rest, but I think it is also good for kids to have things to do. They can feel as if they are achieving something and helping the family. My mum always complained that we never washed up or did anything useful as teenagers -but she hadn't taught us to be useful. I think she has my disease (or rather, I have hers) of wanting to do everything herself and then looking round and realising that no one has helped. But of course no one is going to help you if you're being some sort of cleaning and tidying maniac, you didn't ever give chores to your kids (I think we used to wipe coffee table glass, that was what she made us do. That's it!) and you don't stop to breathe and consider that it may be up to you to do the delegation.

Good, easy, regular tasks. That's how I'll start with my daughter. I'll let you know how it goes. Today she will make her bed and we'll go from there.

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