I was watching some television show a while back, and the father said to his grade-school age son, “Time to do your chores.” The smart-alecky kid replied, “Chores? What are we, Amish!” It was meant to be funny, I’m sure, although I don’t find kids being bratty on television particularly amusing. Is it a sad reflection on our culture that children are no longer expected to help out around the house? Or is this “progress”, that we are financially able to provide everything for our children?
My parents didn’t want us to work after school or in the summers. They felt that our school work was our job. I don’t think now, in hind-sight, that was a good idea. First off, my parents managed to do all three – chores at home, part-time jobs, and finish school. There were some basic job skills and financial management skills that I was severely lacking, and it took years (my husband might add “if ever!”) for me to learn them.
Christmas Day there was a paper to deliver! That shocked me, but the kids didn’t mind. They decided to deliver it after the midnight Mass the night before. A light snow was falling (we lived in Oklahoma at the time, so snow was rare). I drove the pickup truck, and they rode in the back (okay, I’m confessing to doing something that is now illegal, too). And they flung the papers from the back of the pickup, while singing Christmas Carols at the top of their lungs. It is a happy memory, for me as well as for them.
Then they started getting the Christmas Cards. Satisfied customers sent them nice little notes inside, sometimes with a dollar or two for a tip. That was the best Christmas for them, ever. Not just because they had some spending money, but because of the pride they took in their work, and that their customers appreciated them.
Later, when we moved to North Carolina, they had to retire. It is illegal in the state of North Carolina for a child under the age of EIGHTEEN to have a paper route. Children in that state cannot cut grass for the neighbors! Even McDonald’s is not allowed to hire kids under the age of sixteen. And at least in the area where we lived, there was a high rate of juvenile crime. Some kids broke into the school computer lab and trashed it. Even the sheriff claimed it was just because they were bored.
Well, my rambling thoughts are going to draw to a close sometime soon.
The point of this post is, that children can do chores. Whether they should or not is a matter of personal preference. As for me, I wouldn’t have robbed my children of those experiences for anything.
I found several blogs that posted very detailed information on this subject, so rather than “re-invent the wheel” I thought I’d just share those links.
The first is Emomsblog, written by an online friend of mine. Her children are older, ages 10 and 12, so her information may be a little beyond the scope of this blog, where I focus on preschoolers ages 2 – 6. But she wrote an excellent article on summer planning, complete with calendars and chore charts, that I thought you might be able to adapt to your own needs.
Next is More4kids, a blog I don’t really know anything about. But there was a great article that listed a number of jobs very young children could do.
And finally, you might want to read Paying Children to do Chores . This blog seems to be more about saving money than parenting, but I thought this article was well written and thoughtful.
So, I invite all of you to comment below, and share with us what chores your children do. What would you like them to do? Do you pay them or give them an allowance? Thanks for reading! Until next time-
Top: photo by J. Danvers
Middle: photo by Jennifer Schwalm
Bottom: photo by author