Da Da Dum....cue children.
Ahhhh, my pride and joy! Such adorable smiling faces.
I know what you're thinking. Those poor kids. She's home all day and she can't find time to vacuum or do the laundry herself???
Apparently, you've never homeschooled 4 children before. There are days I don't have time for a shower! Trust me, I am not sitting around here watching soaps and eating Bonbons!
How did all this chore business get started in our house? Was it because the house was falling down around our ears? No. Was I just such a wise parent 10 years ago that I fully knew and understood what a character building experience it would be to start daily chores with my 3 year old twin boys? Ummmmm....no, not that either.
It all started with tinkle on the bathroom floor.
And it wasn't my tinkle, in case you were wondering.
You see, we had us a couple of newly potty trained preschoolers....but ummmm, they were having some aiming issues. I got a little tired of wiping the feet of the toilet everyday. Thirty three times a day! So, I decided that if they could make the mess, they could clean it. Maybe I was a little bit delirious from all that bending over. I don't know. But, once I made up my mind that they were going to do it, I was not turning back! There is a point at which mothers of multiples snap, I tell you. And there is just no turning back when that happens. It would be one thing to have one toddler leaving toys everywhere, sneaking into the pantry, ripping the wall paper down in the living room, flipping lights on and off, running with scissors (where did he get the scissors?)...but when there are two. Going in different directions, always. Good Grief!
I got a little plastic caddy and filled it with the necessary items and then commenced to training my little tinkle cherubs how to wipe out a bathroom. We didn't deal with the tub, just the toilet and sink areas. Everyday each boy would wipe down one of the two bathrooms and take out the trash from the cans in them. It worked wonders! I always had a clean bathroom and they learned really fast that there would be less mess if they paid more attention to their aim!
I patted myself on the back for a job well done.
I know what you are thinking.......Ooh gross, you let your kids clean a toilet! Please. Kids touch worse things than the toilet. Besides, I taught them to wash their hands too!
Well, we had tread in the land of chores, and there didn't seem to be a reason to go backwards. I was onto something here and it was workin' for me! Once their aim was greatly improved the boys graduated from bathroom duty and moved to kitchen duty and laundry. LAUNDRY folks! My kids do the laundry!
Now, maybe you don't subscribe to this notion that kids should have to do housework. Maybe It's all you can do to get yours to clean their rooms and you're happy with that. Or, your children are too busy with all their activities. But, when we stumbled on the idea that chores were a good thing for our kids, we really did chance upon a wonderful character building opportunity. And we're gonna keep it.
Chores, not just cleaning up behind one's self, but chores that benefit others as well as yourself, teach responsibility and service. If a child is held responsible for himself and other jobs he will be establishing a work ethic that will benefit him later in life. Little did I know that by setting a routine of chores for my children, that I was tapping into some major Bible lessons! Ever read Proverbs 6:6-11. What about John 13:14-16. I just wanted to walk into the bathroom and have it not smell like a nursing home!
If a child is not doing chores, he or she may enter adulthood not only not ready to handle the added responsibility of their careers, but also not able to care for themselves. Teaching children the tasks involved with organizing and managing a home can only benefit them in the long run, and teaching them to serve our family for the benefit of all, will instill in them the ideal that serving others, whether it be their spouses, children, community or a global mission, is what we were made for.
BTW, the Bible gives 21 references to laziness....not one of them is positive. And, over a hundred of verses refer to serving in some capacity!
When my children are little, we start with folding kitchen rags and sorting silverware. We move up from there to emptying all the little trash cans, setting and clearing the table and feeding the animals. Next comes the hard core chores: learning to wipe down bathrooms, vacuum, load and unload dishes and do the laundry! The boys have reached the age where they are expected to keep the grass mowed, the laundry done and do the dishes. They also help out with the cooking and vacuuming as needed and some babysitting.
Learning to put away the silverware.
carrying junk upstairs to put away.
Feeding the cat.