The Child Chore Challenge
Sharing responsibilties and goals....
Family unity takes nurturing and sharing.
My daughter and son-in-law have five children ages 9 to 3. Four are in school now and the fifth is getting at-home-schooling from his bright mom, and isn’t missing a thing.
My son-in-law works two professional jobs and is a wonderful provider. That has allowed my daughter to be a full-time mom, something that would have been hard to avoid with a gaggle of young children
One of the consequences of hubby working two jobs, mothering five young children, laundry for seven, meals, shopping, church work, errands, and chauffeuring, is that housework takes a team effort by one and all.
Their system works and accomplishes even more than just the housework.
Here’s the system: Saturdays are “Cleaning Day” and everyone has an assignment (even dad). The oldest child is assigned the laundry and is very capable with the right soap, bleaching the whites, fabric softener, etc. Similarly, each child’s chores are listed on a board with a candy Lifesaver® hanging on a nail next to their name and their assignment. When they have completed their chore, they can eat the flavored Lifesaver® and will have earned their allowance for the week, if they did their chore properly.
If they didn’t do their chore, it can be assigned to another child (after adequate warning) and that child earns the Lifesaver® and all or a share of the first child’s allowance depending on what the assigned child didn’t complete.
Each child’s chore is suited to their abilities, but even the three year old is able to steam clean the kitchen floor! Others pick up the toys, vacuum their rooms, help dad clean the two bathrooms, do the dusting, etc.
An added benefit to mom and dad, part of the $5.00 weekly allowance for each child goes to post-high school education and goals, matched by mom and dad. The children can not only watch their totals grow, but they can remain focused on future worthwhile goals.
As an LDS (Mormon) family, one of those future goals is financing themselves as missionaries after a probable first year of college. They are also practicing tithing their church donation of 10% of their increase, thus learning to keep that commandment and starting to learn basic financial skills.
Recently the grandson who attends kindergarten declined to do his chore (because he was enjoying playing) but he later relented when his chore had already been completed by his three year old brother. He pleaded with tears in his eyes that his grandchildren-sitting grandmother would find “something else I can do, please. Please!” He understood the rules and the consequences which were explained again, before assigning him a one-time “make up” chore to soothe his conscience.
Can this system work for other parents? Fewer children in the family will mean fewer to share the chores, but (normally) fewer, shorter cleanups to be shared, even in cases where both parents work full-time. The idea is sound. Sharing family responsibilities and setting worthwhile goals every child is working toward, can have a universal value.
© 2012 Demas W. Jasper All rights reserved.