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Chores?????

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 

I can't get them to do anything!  NOTHING!  They make 95% of the mess.  Ok the little one will clean up sometimes but the oldest... NEVER!  I need ideas!

post #2 of 37

There's a book called "Kids Are Worth It" by Barbara Coloroso. I found it to be very helpful. It's hard to MAKE someone do something, but it is not that hard to refuse to do something for them.

 

Example: "Mom, can we go to the park?" "Yup. Right after you clean your room."

 

This technique really, really helped. Because I don't like standing over him, forcing him to do this or that, nagging & all that. Once he learned that there were "extras" I was not going to do as long as his attitude was "let someone else in the family do all the work," he really started to shape up.

 

Also, with my son, his floor was getting to be knee-deep in Legos, and I could not get him to do a darn thing about it. So one day I put 80 percent of them away in the attic. I left him a decent selection to play with which took two plastic "shoe boxes" to hold, and told him that he would get the rest back when he showed me he could handle it. Well that day never happened, and he has learned to live with fewer Legos. I've even asked him if he was ready to have them back, and he said no. I actually look forward to the day I give him back the Legos, but he's going to have to show a little more initiative.

 

One more thing. My son is pretty scattered, attention-span-wise. He's all over the map and it's hard for him to stay on task sometimes. So if the job involves many steps, I type them up. Sounds odd, I suppose, but it helps. Now, whenever he has to wash the kitchen floor or clean the bathroom, I just hand him the step-by-step instructions and tell him to go to it.

 

Of course HOW you present the chores is important too. I found that my son really rebelled when we gave him lists of chores...you know, stuff that was clearly busy-work designed to teach him. That's sort of insulting. But I find that when we are honest and really need his help for something, he does it. Also, we have a thing where he knows that if he blows off his bedtime, he has to do a job the next day. A significant job. Like clean out the fridge, put away a basket of laundry, or whatever. (he is 8) Oddly enough, after he does the jobs, he feels very proud of himself! So even though in this case the chores are a consequence, they end up teaching him and he gets work done (I always assign something that REALLY needs to be done, something valuable, not busy-work designed to punish.)

 

I used to get thrown off by people like Dayna Martin who never ask their kids to do chores, and magically they willingly help out on their own, but it wasn't happening in our house. I find that locating that spot in between being a stern task-master and a resentful doormat is key.  :-)

 

 

post #3 of 37
Thread Starter 

How exactly did you present his chores?  Did you tell him he'd have to do them and then tell him what you wanted him to do?  Did make a list or spreadsheet of his responsibilities?  

 

At this point all I want them to do is clean up their play room.  They actually do not have a lot of toys, a wooden house and some horses, drum set, guitar and keyboard.  Also art supplies.  I have problems with them taking food in there and leaving it on the floor or leaving wrappers everywhere.  They have a trash can in there that I empty often.  However if I go in there to get the trash it will be empty and the trash will be under a chair.  Shoes dirty socks everywhere.  And currently theres a vat of beads on the floor.  Since I just cleaned the playroom two days ago and I went in there to take out the trash... it's a horrendous mess all over again.  I'm kind of considering locking the door with all their stuff in it.  I"m seriously that mad.

post #4 of 37

so there are two kinds of chores in our house.

 

one that is a command and dd knows she does not have the choice. it has to be done.

 

two - its a request which means she does not have to do it. if she chooses to she can either do it or refuse.

 

mostly they are all requests. or commands which include giving her some control like she has to do something by such and such time and does she agree. she is allowed to ask me for help which if i am able to i will. if it is a command its because its for a reason (like guests coming over) and usually i am not free to help.

 

clean your room is not a command. its like saying 'write a paper on the computer". well u need more info than that, esp. when they are at the age where the dirty socks will be right under their nose and they cant see it. for that reason you have to be specific. instead of saying clean your room, i say pick up your socks, put the beads away (you migth already be doign this).

 

but here is my secret. dd has been doing chores since she could crawl (she WANTED to do it to show her independence - i dont give her chores, she asks for them because its not chores but helping out in our family). and the secret is me cleaning her room and she cleaning my stuff and joint stuff. i put her clothes away, she puts mine away.  

 

even today at 9 she does a LOT at home. however ask her to clean her room and its 'moAHM NOT now. i am too busy'. eyesroll.gif yet she happily does the laundry, dishes, cooking, sweep and mop but her space. HAH!!!!

post #5 of 37

We are working on this at our house too. winky.gif

 

I made a detailed list of what they are to do each day, and I check it at the same time every day (right after I get home from work). It is the exact same list every day and includes exciting things like "neatly hang up towel" and "empty dishwasher."  It's nearly a page long, but most the things on it take 2 secs. It's making a massive difference in how our house feels,though. If you want, I could copy it paste it here (but most likely not until the weekend).

 

A check list for a playroom could include thing like checking that all trash is in can, dishes and shoes have been removed, etc. For bedrooms our list is something like "make bed, put clothes in hamper or away, put reading material away, tidy nightstand and dresser, close closet door"

 

but the key here is breaking it into tiny steps and then checking the list every single day.

post #6 of 37

We started doing a ChorePack with my DS, who is four, this year. The Duggars use this kind of idea and I got it from Masters of Their Chores by the Maxwells. Basically it's a laminated pack that you put chore cards in that hangs around their neck (or ckips to their shirt). He puts it on in the morning after breakfast. Once a chore is completeed, I inspect it to make sure that it was done properly. Then he puts it behind the other chore cards in the pack and does the next chore. He has both a picture of the chpore & the words on it (he is a reader but likes the pictures too- makes it more fun). He has morning and evening chores and in-between chores. I can add to this new cards as he grows in ability.

 

Right now, for age 4, his chores include:

 

Everyday

-Wipe table after breakfast

-Unload dishwasher

-Hang up/fold all of his own clean clothes out of the laundry

-Get dressed

-Put pajamas away

-Brush teeth

-Read his Bible

-Straighten up room/living room

 

Ones he does on occasion that I am sooner going to be making a daily thing

-Help make lunch/dinner

-Sweep the kitchen

 

By the time he's five, I hope to add a few more like wiping down the bathroom sink/counter/tub edge.

 

Anyway. I had to take him step by step through the process. It helps to make a detailed description of each chore, esp for readers/older kids so that they know they are doing a thorough job. I do not pay my son for doing these things. He is just expected to help out. Once he gets to the age that he can do ut of the ordinary type work then I might pay him for it.

 

post #7 of 37

Also, if they can't learn to care for their own things, I will take away their things. If your kids make a huge mess in the playroom and leave it for you to clean up, teach them to respect their things or they will no longer have them. *hugs* How old are your kids?

 

I also have a "no-food in the house except the kitchen" rule. Saves a ton of headache and mess.

post #8 of 37

Here's the system I developed a few years ago: (i'm shamelessly cutting and pasting from another post)

 

We started "chore time" when dd was about 3 and ds was about 6. Chore time consisted of 15 minutes after dinner. I wrote down very specific things on popsicle sticks for them to do. they would pull a stick, do the chore and go back for the next one until the 15 minutes were up. I'd mix them up depending on what needed to be done. "Pick up 15 things on the living room floor." (The fact that this was in there several times gives you some general idea of the state of the living room floor!) "Vacuum stairs." "Scrub sink in bathroom". When they were really little, I had to work with them, showing them how to do it. You have to realize that it's sometimes more work to teach them than it is to do it yourself. The bonus will come later.

 

They key to making this work is that we did it every single night and the whole family worked at the same time. Nothing else happened until the timer beeped and those 15 minutes were up. And yes, some nights they didn't do much. Some nights I lost my temper because it took them 15 minutes to pick up the six pairs of shoes in the living room .

 

We've recently moved to a 'new' system. Our kids are 7 and 10 and can handle more responsibilities. I've made a list of chores that need to be done to keep the house minimally clean. It doesn't include the decluttering and other things (like cleaning out the fridge) that need to be done. Those are still parent jobs. I've divided them into roughly 6 days' worth of work (Tuesday is garbage night). It doesn't matter which chore is done on which day, but over the course of a week, all should be done. And instead of working for 15 minutes, they work until their chore is done. This does reward ds a bit because he's more focused. I still have to keep an eye on him and make sure he's thorough enough (he's older so my standards are  higher for him.)  Last night, the kids scrubbed the bathroom floors. The night before the kids cleaned the bathroom sinks and the toilets while I changed their sheets. Today, they picked up things on their bedroom floors because tomorrow we will vacuum.

 

In addition to the family chore time, I've added unloading the dishwasher for ds. He does it when I tell him to. He never remembers and often tries to weasel out of it. I've only lost my temper once or twice, and told him that if he wants to eat, he can darn well help us with the dishes! (Ds likes to be served, so it's an uphill battle with him.)

 

So, things that work for us are:

Being very very very specific about what needs to be done

Working with our kids, often right next to them showing them what to do until they've learned how to do it

Being consistent about doing chores daily (when we get busy and skip a few days, I always get more complaints and backlash from the kids)

Adjusting expectations to their skill levels and ages

 

 

post #9 of 37
Thread Starter 

Ok ladies lots of help thank you so much.

 

The girls are 9 and 7.  They actually don't have many toys due to my toss all broken or too dirty to care about rule.  They got lots of Christmas money this year and were allowed to spend it on what they wanted.  They did get a lot of toys.  I have them nice containers to keep all the toys separate and put up.  I put it all way first and explained to them what needs to be done. Obviously they won't do it otherwise I wouldn't be begging you guys for help.  

 

I'm going to start a list of things that are most definitely their responsibility and things that would help if they do it.  And I really like the idea of small steps to get there.  

 

Does anyone have a specific time that in the day that works best for kids that do go to school?  

 

 

post #10 of 37

What do you mean they won't do it?  Is that actually an option in your house?  My kids do not have the option to not clean their room when I tell them to.  There are consequences for every action, or inaction. If I tell them to clean their room they do it or they will lose their stuff.  It's that simple.  I don't want to see it lying all over the place so if they don't do it their stuff will be put into a garbage bag for a week.  After the week they get their stuff back and they will put it away or it will be gone again.  I'm the parent and they need to learn responsibility.  But I guess I'm the odd one out here.

post #11 of 37
Thread Starter 

Not the odd one out. 

post #12 of 37

When my children have chores to do, it's not a request, nor is it phrased as one.  I tell them to do it now and it works better if I supervise them.  It also goes much quicker.  They are very prone to overlook things that are right in front of their faces.  Eg, I ask if everything is picked up and they say yes, but when I check there are still toys all over.  They're not ignoring them, they just don't see what I see or consider it clean when I consider it clean.  So I supervise.  It's a PITB, but it cuts the time spent on chores down to a fraction and also helps my frustration levels. 

 

All food stays in the kitchen.  This is one we're still working on, but you won't believe the difference a designated eating area makes.  It cuts down on the mess and the food stashed all over.  BIG time.  :)  Have them focus on different tasks, because in our house two kids responsible for the same thing just turns it into a competition.  We focus on having toys picked up before bed time or when the mess just becomes too much during the day, we do a quick clean up.

post #13 of 37
Thread Starter 

Almost everything is an option in our house.  Well except hygiene... not an option at all!  Eating a decent meal is not an option either.  Cleaning up at the table not an option.  The rest used to be an option but no longer.  I've had enough of all this cleaning after capable children.  DH helped them clean their play room yesterday and vacuumed up anything left on the floor.  They knew it would happen and yet they still didn't even attempt to pick up their beads.  So they lost them.  Everything else they put away nicely.  I picked up hundreds of beads on my own as I really didn't want them all gone.  Since they can spend hours making things.  The new rule in the house stems from leaving a mess.  If you want to go out and play you need to make sure the play room is clean.  They have to check the house for their shoes and clothes they've just thrown about.  We did it all together last night and a quick pick up only took us 15 minutes.  They're afraid to play in their playroom now though.  DD1 said she's prone to messiness and she doesn't want to have to clean so she spent the evening reading instead. 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Heavenly View Post

What do you mean they won't do it?  Is that actually an option in your house?  My kids do not have the option to not clean their room when I tell them to.  There are consequences for every action, or inaction. If I tell them to clean their room they do it or they will lose their stuff.  It's that simple.  I don't want to see it lying all over the place so if they don't do it their stuff will be put into a garbage bag for a week.  After the week they get their stuff back and they will put it away or it will be gone again.  I'm the parent and they need to learn responsibility.  But I guess I'm the odd one out here.



 

post #14 of 37

I'll think a bit more about it (not like our place is *clean* and I'm an *expert* 2whistle.gif), but I've always done regular picking up times before meals (so, before I start making dinner I'll ask dd1 to make sure she picks up bigger stuff she's working on, check table and clear as much as she can do - if she balks, I get specific and say she needs to get her art things picked up, or gather all the dishes, etc).  If it's some night we're staying up later (like on the weekend), I try to get in a bigger house picking up first (so, extra stuff in her room or things like that).  We generally do it together.

 

Getting stuff done before meals or as part of bedtime has worked fine with school.  She never wants to pick up stuff right when she gets home, so thats the worst time.  Sometimes deferring to dd things that I normally do (ie. letting her do the vacuuming, clean the tub & toilet) while I fit/organize all the tiny toys on the shelves or clear off her dresser, etc. works out better than expecting her to do tasks like that.  Sometimes I've had 'misplaced stuff' baskets or bags around the house to be able to dump stuff in that just doesn't go there, and then have dd, dh sort through later and put their things away (so I can at least clean up and they still are responsible for their things).      

post #15 of 37
Thread Starter 

You know I have tried this and it always seemed to work.  When the DD's wanted me in the play room I would say I needed a place to sit if I had to go in there.  And I didnt want to sit on a lego or doll shoe.  They would go in and shove things to the side.  Of course It wasn't clean.  When we clear the table for dinner I can get them to help with that but they try to stack their books on the floor.  I've shown them the proper places for everything daily.  I just have to keep showing them how to take care of these clean ups.  Eventually we'll get there. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mumkimum View Post

I'll think a bit more about it (not like our place is *clean* and I'm an *expert* 2whistle.gif), but I've always done regular picking up times before meals (so, before I start making dinner I'll ask dd1 to make sure she picks up bigger stuff she's working on, check table and clear as much as she can do - if she balks, I get specific and say she needs to get her art things picked up, or gather all the dishes, etc).  If it's some night we're staying up later (like on the weekend), I try to get in a bigger house picking up first (so, extra stuff in her room or things like that).  We generally do it together.

 

Getting stuff done before meals or as part of bedtime has worked fine with school.  She never wants to pick up stuff right when she gets home, so thats the worst time.  Sometimes deferring to dd things that I normally do (ie. letting her do the vacuuming, clean the tub & toilet) while I fit/organize all the tiny toys on the shelves or clear off her dresser, etc. works out better than expecting her to do tasks like that.  Sometimes I've had 'misplaced stuff' baskets or bags around the house to be able to dump stuff in that just doesn't go there, and then have dd, dh sort through later and put their things away (so I can at least clean up and they still are responsible for their things).      



 

post #16 of 37

Would a weekly clean up work better for them?  I used to have my dd clean up nightly, but since I started working full time it has been hard to keep track of it and she is tired by the end of the day.  It was taking so much energy and causing such a strain on our relationship that I changed to requiring her to do one big clean up on Sunday, unless a friend is coming over then she has to help me get it organized.  At first she tried getting out of it by whining and grumping but I made it clear that she had to have it done before watching a movie at 6:00 on Sunday night.  The timing was under her control but the actual action of cleaning the room was a requirement.  Now she just does it and doesn't fuss. 

 

The stuff she brings into a room that isn't hers does still have to be put away right after using it, but that doesn't usually cause her trouble because she has had enough stuff eaten by the dog when she left it unsupervised.  Books are also always stacked neatly on the floor by her bed in a small pile or put back on her shelf (and that is just because I have always been anal about caring for books). When it does cause her trouble I offer to put it away in my closet until she feels ready to clean up after herself another day and she comes around quickly.

 

post #17 of 37

I have fallen off my system this pregnancy but I am getting back on board. I just made checklists (for some reason they accept the checklist much easier then me telling them) . They have a morning checklist for before school, an after school checklist and an evening checklist. Once we get used to this again then we will add some new chores in because they are old enough to help more. I think though taking them from pretty much no expectations to tons isn't going to help. Once their checklist is done they can choose what they want to do play wise. I will be making a weekend one too. Over the summer my 8 year old had to do a load of laundry every day, that isn't practical during the school year so I will have do 2 loads do laundry on the weekends. I think I might do a popsicle stick type thing  our an extra assigned chore on school days we don't have a lot going on.

 

Oh and I got to hear Barbara Colorosa speak at the LLL conference, amazing!

post #18 of 37

So this is not specifically addressing the "chores" aspect, but just curious and it might be helpful (or not...)

 

I read "Simplicity Parenting" recently and the part about your daughters not caring if their beads got vacuumed made me wonder...have you thought about just simplifying their stuff?  If they had fewer things (but that they really loved and could get tons of "play" out of) it might make them (a) better able to manage it and (b) want to take better care of it.  Given that you already toss what is dirty or broken, and given that you are already doing 2012 in 2012 maybe this isn't an issue for you.

post #19 of 37
Thread Starter 

Yeah they really don't have a lot of stuff.  They do leave clothes, paper, pens and other things around.  As well as cups and plates.  I think I'm really going to have to get tougher on them with eating or snacking outside the dining room.  And I may say no more to beads when they want more for jewelery making.  I don't feel they valued the ones they had. 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nstewart View Post

So this is not specifically addressing the "chores" aspect, but just curious and it might be helpful (or not...)

 

I read "Simplicity Parenting" recently and the part about your daughters not caring if their beads got vacuumed made me wonder...have you thought about just simplifying their stuff?  If they had fewer things (but that they really loved and could get tons of "play" out of) it might make them (a) better able to manage it and (b) want to take better care of it.  Given that you already toss what is dirty or broken, and given that you are already doing 2012 in 2012 maybe this isn't an issue for you.



 

post #20 of 37

This may sound harsh, but my rule is generally, if you can't take care of your things, then you aren't old enough to have them.  If things start to get messy, I will politely ask to have them picked up, and if DD doesn't pick them up (usually with some help from me since she is only 3) then I remind her that if she isn't ready to take care of her things I will put them away in the closet and we will try again tomorrow.  We usually have 15 minute clean up sessions though out the week, and all family members participate.

 

With older children I would probably put up a white board to write chores down on for the day for each family member.  Then designate times during the day for clean up (15 minutes after breakfast/after dinner).  I would then let them know that I will be doing inspections after bedtime, and anything not put away will go in the closet.  I would also make sure you do have a space for ongoing projects, like block or lego structures...  since these may be played with for many days and don't necessarily need to be cleaned up.  

 

Maybe for the jewelry, you could set up a table and get some of those large flat tupperware containers for storing them in, so it would be easier to see what they're looking for, but make clean up easy.  

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