My older daughter is about to eight, and I really believe that she is at the age where she can contribute to the family with her “skills.” So, what can an eight-year-old do? endless!
She is supposed to make her bed in the morning, clean out her lunch bag after school, put away her clothes after they are washed and folded (I am working on getting her to fold his clothes, too), help unpack and put away the groceries from the supermarket, and tidy her room. I think these are reasonable—they are simple tasks that just take a few minutes for her to do, and frees my time up to do other things.
Of course, the corners on the bed she makes aren’t square, and the sheet is rarely pulled tightly, but you know what, I’ve let that go. It’s her bed anyway, so I ‘m not going to be too picky about the quality of the work. I believe it’s the responsibility of having to do chores that is more important than how perfect it turns out. Of course, I am not talking about accepting a slapdash job, but if the effort is honest, I am fine with that—and we can work on improving the result.
Does my daughter want to do his chores? Definitely not!
I have to remind her EVERY DAY to empty the lunch bag, to make up the bed, etc. Surely she tries to get out of it, but if she doesn’t do it, it’s not done, because I am not going to do it. I have waited several mornings for her to clean out the lunch bag so I can pack the lunch. I think that is key. If you always pick up the slack, then why would they bother? They have to know that you are sticking to your guns.
Even if you have help at home, I feel that it’s important for children to help around the house. Apart from learning to help themselves and learning some basic life skills, doing chores builds a level of responsibility and also helps them feel valued for their contribution to the family. Oh, and I don’t pay money for chores. We explain that for our family, each person has an important contribution to make, and helping around the house is just one way to contribute.
I figure if the kids of the president have to make their beds, then my kids can certainly do the same!