Housework for 8 y/o? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 24 Old 05-16-2008, 08:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What are the thoughts out there on this topic?

I do most of the housework; dh works full time+ and is more than wiling to help when I ask, but for the most part cleaning falls on me; I work pt from home, volunteer a ton at ds's school, and in general am the "go to" queen of the house.

There are jobs around the house that I enjoy doing (cleaning the kitchen at night, folding laundry, tidying up, vacuuming) some not so much (bathroom, sweeping, windows, cooking) and as ds is getting older I'm thinking about my own childhood and how me and sis had chores every Saturday. And we had to do them *before* going out to play, calling a friend, ect.

Anyhow, I am wondering if I am doing my son a dis-service by him not helping out on a regular basis, and by not seeing his dad have regular jobs as well (having said that, dh does take out the garbage, does laundry, vacuums when needed, cooks on occasion).

And, I should add, we have had a chore routine in the past for ds: feed the
cat, make his own bed, water my plants (this was actually a 'job', .10 each plant, $1 a week!), but for whatever goofy reasons it has not stuck (running late in the a.m., tired in the p.m., me grumpy, him grumpy...).

So what have you done? What do you do now? What is a good age to start chores/housework? What kind of modeling do you?

Thanks!
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#2 of 24 Old 05-16-2008, 09:16 PM
 
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All of my kids do "housework" to some extent, and they are 18 months, 3, and 5. The 18 month old really just picks up at night with his brothers, my 3yo and 5yo pick up the living room and playroom before bed and help fold clothes and put them away. Right now they're just cleaning up after themselves (to the extent that I feel is appropriate considering their age) and helping out with general household stuff. My 5yo loves to spray and wipe anything, so he does the counters for me and things like that. My 3yo loves to use my little vaccum, so he does that.
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#3 of 24 Old 05-16-2008, 09:18 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mama-t View Post
What are the thoughts out there on this topic?

I do most of the housework; dh works full time+ and is more than wiling to help when I ask, but for the most part cleaning falls on me; I work pt from home, volunteer a ton at ds's school, and in general am the "go to" queen of the house.

There are jobs around the house that I enjoy doing (cleaning the kitchen at night, folding laundry, tidying up, vacuuming) some not so much (bathroom, sweeping, windows, cooking) and as ds is getting older I'm thinking about my own childhood and how me and sis had chores every Saturday. And we had to do them *before* going out to play, calling a friend, ect.

Anyhow, I am wondering if I am doing my son a dis-service by him not helping out on a regular basis, and by not seeing his dad have regular jobs as well (having said that, dh does take out the garbage, does laundry, vacuums when needed, cooks on occasion).

And, I should add, we have had a chore routine in the past for ds: feed the
cat, make his own bed, water my plants (this was actually a 'job', .10 each plant, $1 a week!), but for whatever goofy reasons it has not stuck (running late in the a.m., tired in the p.m., me grumpy, him grumpy...).

So what have you done? What do you do now? What is a good age to start chores/housework? What kind of modeling do you?

Thanks!
I don't have older kids of my own at this point, but I've been a teacher for a while and have asked a lot of parents about this. The kids who have larger responsibilities around the house tend to have *much* lower entitlement issues. They are better able to recognize that being part of something (in this case, a family) requires that everyone do work.

That said I know that my family tends to start "chores" from when kids are toddlers. They gradually increase as you age, but from when you can get around on your own you are required to to help pick up after yourself.

My advice may not be appropriate for you. That's ok. You are just fine how you are and I am the right kind of me.

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#4 of 24 Old 05-16-2008, 11:30 PM
 
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I have been lax about giving them chores. I am now realizing that I should have already established it , esp with my DS (13) Now he is so resistant.

DD,8, is responsible for folding the laundry and putting them in piles for each family member...each person puts their own away.

she also helps with sweeping and I get her to mop bc she loves it and it is satisfying for her (and me )

DS,13, takes out the trash, takes it to the curb and is supposed to cut the grass, but with school there is hardly time. during the summer I intend to make sure he does that.

I also expect them to help out as I ask. It is an ongoing process.

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#5 of 24 Old 05-17-2008, 12:36 AM
 
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All my children have chores; depending on what age and size they are. We have a roster where I get them to:
*peg, bring in and fold clothes (everyone one puts away their own clothes)
*set the table
*help with getting dinner ready
*stack the dishwasher and then put away the dishes,
*wiping down the kitchen table and benches,
*feed the pets
*taking out the trash
*cleaning the leaves out of the pool (older chilren only)
*vacuuming, sweeping and moping
*watering plants (indoor for my four year; outdoor for the older children)
*pick up toys (four year old).

Each of them is responsible for keeping their rooms tidy. My four year old loves helping me with the grocery shopping; pulling out any items on the lower shelves where she can reach and then I help her put the in the trolley, when we get home she likes to put things in the pantry..

It sound's like a lot of chores but some of them are weekly chores and we have six children so they are not doing that much really.

I think its good to get kids to contribute to the household; just make sure the chores age appropriate.

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#6 of 24 Old 05-17-2008, 01:36 AM
 
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My son has chores too. He helps unload the dishwasher, put the wet clothes in the dryer, sweeps with his little broom, picks up his books and toys and helps fold laundry. He's a great helper. Okay so really it take me three times as long to do things. But I'm teaching him and I think its really important to teach them how to clean.

My mom was always too busy to teach me and it really messed me up when I moved out, in fact I'm just now getting the hang of it.

Also, I think its important for him to work at being part of a family and chores, to me, are part of that.
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#7 of 24 Old 05-17-2008, 02:54 AM
 
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DH works full time + as well and I've pretty much always been a SAHM. This is a choice we both made and is one that we both mutually agree upon. Because DH works so much, I am the one who does ALL of the housework. DH does to some outside chores like weed eating and home repairs, but I do the day to day house running.

When DS was 5 I set his dinner on the table in front of him and he said (jokingly), "You call this food, woman!" This is something that NO ONE has ever said to me, and I can only imagine he had picked this up from TV. Anyhow, we had a long talk about what was polite and how people are addressed. However, during that conversation he had mentioned that it was a dads job to work and a moms job to cook and clean. My jaw hit the floor. I was perpetuating a stereotype! We continued to have a long talk about how this was a choice that was made purely for financial reasons, and that it very well could be a daddy that stays home.

Now...he's 8 and does have responsibilities around the house. It is his job to keep his room clean, it is his job to bring the dirty clothes to the laundry room and to take the clean one to his room. It is also his job to empty the dishwasher and to pick up his stuff from around the house. He is also expected to put a new trash bag in the trashcan after his sister dumps it. I will also ask him to do other chores when needed.
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#8 of 24 Old 05-17-2008, 08:25 AM
 
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My boys have daily 'jobs' and jobs just for the weekend. They work together to empty the dishwasher every day (even the 2 yr old)!

Daily responsibilities: make bed, empty dishwasher, setting and clearing the table, taking out the trash (each boy has a rotating schedule of who does which job).

Weekend: scooping up dog poop (yucky but it has to be done), sweeping and moping the kitchen and their bedroom, vac all rugs, empty all small trash cans.

It's not too much but they all pitch in. If I don't have a printed up schedule it does not work. They actually don't complain too much and we really try to be consistent about doing their 'jobs'.
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#9 of 24 Old 05-17-2008, 10:10 AM
 
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We just made a list of chores my dd (8) could do. I printed it out and hung it on the kitchen wall.

- make bed
- fold and put away clothes
- put away toys and books
- set or clear table
- sweep and dust
- pick up trash
- water plants
- dry and put dishes away
- help put away groceries
- mop the kitchen floor
- wipe table, kitchen island and counters

We are using Chore Wars to keep track of dd's chores. She doesn't have to do them daily but she gets 1 point per chore she completes and for every 7 points I told her I would give her a dollar. She also "finds" gold or other treasure as she completes the chores (adventures). So far she has been pretty eager. She usually chooses cooperative tasks like putting away dishes as I wash them (no dishwasher) or helping to put away groceries.
In the past she has also been very helpful scrubbing the toilet while I clean the bathroom sink or helping to scrub the tub area. She helps with cooking sometimes too.

I expect her to take her dirty dishes to the kitchen, put her dirty clothes in the basket, and wipe up spills.

Kim ~mom to one awesome dd (12)

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#10 of 24 Old 05-17-2008, 11:45 AM
 
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My 6 1/2 yo doesn't have any chores but he follows me around the house and I'll hand him stuff to carry or put away. It's more of a working together thing. My only pet peeve is if I see someone drop, spill, or knock something over and not attempt to fix the problem in an age appropriate way (just telling me there was a problem would be good enough for a toddler) so I've always called his attention to that. I'm happy if he puts trash in the trashcan and dishes on the counter or in the sink.

He likes things to not be too messy so he'll be the one to declare something needs cleaning so I'm really not worried about him growing up clueless and unhelpful. I figure by helping him when he asks I'm rolemodeling how I'd like him to help me. And it generally works out fine if he isn't tired.

I don't like people giving me lists of things to do so I don't do that to him. I don't even like the word "chores". It sounds so mandatory and inevitable. Ds has picked up the term from tv. I just say it is something that needs doing. And I like to decide when I'm going to do something so I would never ask or tell ds to drop what he was doing and do some task.

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#11 of 24 Old 05-17-2008, 04:18 PM
 
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His dad does have a regualr job. Its just outside the house. I don't think thats an issue. My kids do house work because that is what there is to do where they are. we all chip in.

daily it is my 8 year olds job to put away clean dishes, clean the bathroom, clean her room, and clean the play room. She also helps sort the pile when that is necessary ( we have wood floors so I push everything on the floor into a big pile and make the kids sort out all the stuff worth saving . . . ) and put her laundry away. For yard work she has her own part of the plot to tend and weed, she helps weed the rest of the garden and hand trims the grass around the trees, cement ledges and fence.

My 11 year old does her room, playroom, sorting the pile, sorting all the folded laundry and putting away all the hanging laundry, and vacuums the stairs. She is responsible for emptying all waste baskets at least once a week. She also helps in the garden like her sister and mows the lawn.

my 5 year old dusts, cleans her room with help and helps clean the play room. she puts her laundry away and holds dust pans for me. She also helps in the garden and picks up all the "stuff" from the yard before her sister mows. And she is my little side kick helper when we are cleaning.

they all help out with the dog, and taking out recyclables, garbage and compost. It is also their responsibility to clear the table of school stuff, wash it and set it and then after supper take their dishes to the sink and wash the table again. This falls to whoever happens to be handy.

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#12 of 24 Old 05-18-2008, 10:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This was great, thank you!

I, too, have had ds do house jobs as he has been growing up, he's not a pampered soul; but I do realize that there is both a pleasure I receive in a tidy home and the need to help him develop a routine of helping out.

Having said that, he does help whenever I ask, and is no slouch to doing what needs to be done (just how do you get an 8 y/o to see what needs to be done w/o *telling* him?).

So, we will try anew: thank you again for your input, it has helped me see that we are probably on track.

xo
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#13 of 24 Old 05-19-2008, 01:09 AM
 
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When I was little my brother and I were in charge of drying the dishes every night from the time we were 6 or 7 on up. We also had to help out when my mom asked. She told us the faster the house got clean the faster she could play with us. In my head it was a fair trade.

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#14 of 24 Old 05-19-2008, 08:53 AM
 
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Right now my dd (8) sorts her laundry, sets the table and will tidy up when asked. Alot of the chores we do together though.
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#15 of 24 Old 05-19-2008, 09:17 PM
 
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DS is only two so he doesn't have real chore responsibility yet. He does have to put his dishes in the sink after eating and helps clean up most messes. If he spills something intentionally, he helps clean it up. He loves to run the little vacuum and help sweep. I plan to have him share in househole chores as he gets older as I think it's important for him to learn how to do stuff as well as learn responsibility/value as part of the family. And if he grows up feeling not believeing he is entitled- even better

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#16 of 24 Old 05-20-2008, 04:38 AM
 
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My DS doesn't have required chores but he does help out because he wants to.
-He likes to unload the dishwasher so when we moved I put all the dishes in low cupboards to make it easier for him.
-He helps with the vegetable garden.
-He helped my DH this weekend do a renovation project (and has helped with previous projects).
-He helps cook and bake and can make tortilla dough by himself (in the kitchen aid).
-He will go with me when I take the garbage and recycling and help carry and put things in the right containers.
-He's helpful at the grocery store and when we get groceries delivered he brings them inside and helps carry them upstairs.
-Sometimes he will pick up his toys, but he has a playroom so legos on the floor, etc. are not the biggest deal around here since the mess is contained.
-He will sometimes mop.

That's all I can think of at the moment but I'm sure more will come to me.
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#17 of 24 Old 05-20-2008, 06:03 AM
 
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My kids are only 18m and 3.5, so right now the 3.5 yo just helps clean and sometimes sets the table. But you can bet your bottom dollar they WILL have chores. So they can see it takes work to keep a family running, and they are part of this family. They are not guests in a hotel. No responsibility is a huge disservice to your children, IMO.

I learned the hard way. Growing up I had a cushy life with minimal chores; clean my room, dishes, ocassional weeding.... DH was the oldest of 5 children on a farm. He had to milk cows, babysit... don't even know all of it, but hard work. He never complains about it; that was just life. The result: DH wanted to be sure his kids never had to do that. So his 22yo DS (who lives with us), has NO chores or responsibility whatsoever. I mean NOTHING: no cleaning, cooking, shopping, not even occassionally watching his step brother or sister - never. If DH and I wanted to go out at all, even for an hour, we must hire a babysitter. (If I ask, DH covers it up with taking the kids or trying to do whatever it is at another time.) Now, DSS never babysitting is not the issue. I respect that. He didn't ask for siblings. But him never cooking a meal, never putting laundry in the washing machine, never taking out the trash.... nothing, that is a problem. When he was 21 he finally got the responsibility of putting dishes in the dishwasher (plates and cups only) most nights. Too little too late. I feel animosity and as a put upon servant, and that DSS is not really a member of our family. I have discussed this numerous times with DH; it changes nothing. I have asked DSS to do XYZ, and he is very polite and does XYZ, the one time, but never again.

But the real result: I have made it crystal clear to DH that OUR children will not be raised in the same mode. I think having such an imbalance has affected the rest of our lives, the interaction of family members together, as a family. It's a shame that it has to be like this, like our family, as opposed to DSS being an active member of it.

Sorry, rant over. Back to the post.
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#18 of 24 Old 05-20-2008, 10:51 AM
 
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Yes, I think it does your child a disservice for her or him not to be involved in the family's responsibilities.

My children help as they're told with picking up and things. They're 1 and 3, so no real chores yet.

I don't know how it works with a WOHD/SAHM situation. I'd think that made it harder to show that everyone contributes to the household work because the idea of one person contributing with cleaning/cooking/laundry and the other with money isn't something easy to understand. In our situation, the kids know everyone participates, and it's not weird to them to see Dad handling dinner or folding laundry. It's just the way things work.

One rule we have that I think would be great for most families is that one person is not working while the other relaxes. Now because I freelance sometimes that comes out as I'm working on a project while DH loads the dishwasher, but our children will never see one of us on the couch while the other's vacuuming.

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#19 of 24 Old 05-21-2008, 01:47 PM
 
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The kids who have larger responsibilities around the house tend to have *much* lower entitlement issues. They are better able to recognize that being part of something (in this case, a family) requires that everyone do work.
I see this with my Girl Scouts. However, I also want to mention that I've seen the most pampered girls really glow when they have done a chore, put a lot of effort into it, and seen that the result is something really great and satisfying--a good meal, a new flowerbed, etc. Suddenly they feel important and confident in their abilities, and then they start ASKING to do stuff! I think a part of the reluctance to do work when one is accustomed to being lazy is fear that it will be too difficult and won't turn out right.

This article includes a list of things I remember doing around the house when I was little. I think the more challenging self-directed jobs (like mowing the lawn) started when I was 9 or 10.

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#20 of 24 Old 05-21-2008, 02:54 PM
 
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All 3 have chores. We have a chore chart in my office that they check each day when they get home from school to see what their daily chores are. They dont even ask me if they can do xy or z until their chores are done. They range from washing dishes, min-vac the steps, sorting laundry, bringing dirty laundry to the laundry room, sweep, put the dog out and bring out the garbage and cleaning their rooms. Between 3 kids and not all needing to be done each day... its not a ton of chores and helps me out since I WAHM full-time and volunteer at the school a lot.

After they are done with chores they are free to play outside, or whatever. It gives them responsibility and they appreciate the work we all do much more.

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#21 of 24 Old 05-21-2008, 02:59 PM
 
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Our son is responsible for helping get the trash out on trash day, picking his toys, helping to put away laundry when asked, feeding the cats when asked, and other tasks that we want help with. He lives in the house and he should understand that a tidy house doesn't just appear. We also want him to develop a sense of responsibility and we think that this is one way he can do that
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#22 of 24 Old 05-21-2008, 04:11 PM
 
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Yes, I feel children who are never expected (or conversely, never *allowed*) to contribute to the household are done a disservice.

It's better to learn how to clean, cook, do laundry, take care of things while you still have the safety net of being at home. If you ruin all your laundry your first time on your own, that can be a significant financial hardship when you're going to school/at your first apt. vs. having mom there to explain things and even laugh/cry with you about it and salvage some of it.

I want my children to savor independance AND interdependance. To me, the most essential thing I can teach them as a parent is not only how to care for themselves but also how to work as a functioning household team. Even if it's a pain in my ass quite honestly, because in teaching them I must also have tolerance for things not done quite up to my standards all the time or in my way.

Most 8 year olds are perfectly capable of doing their own laundry (unless they can't reach the bottom of the machine, we have a front loader so this isn't as big of a deal) or helping on laundry days, folding and putting away clothing, some limited independent cooking (or all out cooking with supervision), vaccuming, washing windows and non super-contaminated surfaces (I'm leery of letting kids use harsher chemicals than watered down ammonia, to be honest, I try to stay way from that myself). They can assist with pet care and yard work (yard work would depend on their trustworthiness with tools and strength--my 6.5 year old helps me prune roses, and plant things, but I wouldn't hand over the weed whacker or branch pruners or lawmower until she was significantly older). They can certainly load the dishwasher--I bet many won't be tall enough to completely put all the dishes away, but they could do the stuff they could reach.

I guess I'm just a mean ol' mom. I expect my children to contribute age appropriately to our household, and they are expected to do their chores. I don't really tie them to privleges necessarily, it's just something they've been brought up with. I also think that probably most people are going to have to deal with having to do something that they're not yippy skippy about doing now and then, so I don't think I'd help my kids by encouraging a "I'll do what I want when I want to" attitude.

Now I grew up in a household where I wasn't allowed to contribute because I would "mess it up". (control and OCD issues were a very big part of my childhood) So literally I didn't know how to do one single damn thing for myself. Luckily I had a series of very patient, nuturing housemates who were able to frame for me acceptible behavior and technical skills. Later I had mentors and a very kind mom-figure housekeeper who have helped me put the finishing touches on there. I do know people who never had that help, were labeled as problems and shunned, ect.

I know most people think cleaning/housekeeping is 'common sense', but for quite a few of us it's totally not, and I"m not stupid or anything.

In any case, my kids will have the skills necessary to keep and maintain a home. That's where my responsibility ends, I'm not going to bitch at them when/if they leave home and then choose not to use 'em. But I do think it's part of my responsibility to equip them with those skills.
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#23 of 24 Old 05-21-2008, 04:22 PM
 
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I do think modeling is important.

My 18 month old puts her dishes in the dishwasher, puts her dirty clothes/diapers in the hamper, picks up toys etc.

My goal is that she always knows it's an expectation that all members of the family help around the house.
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#24 of 24 Old 05-21-2008, 09:02 PM
 
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i would just make him clean up his own messes and his own room, and maybe help you fold clothes once in a while. He just needs to be able to pick up after himself. My sisters and I were never given chores and lets just say we're super lazy I am the least lazy but the littler girls cry and cry if they have to clean anything because my mom was super lax about chores.
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