Thursday, October 4, 2012

31 Days...Day 4...Chores for Kids

The theme behind my 31 Days of... posts will be "31 Days of Homemaking". It will be 31 posts about anything related to homemaking, you know, making a home. Whether it has to do with parenting, housework, organization, crafts, whatever. As long as it falls under the definition of making a home, it counts.

Day 4 - 

Today is Thursday, October 4th, 2012. Today's topic is "Chores for Kids."

It is my strong desire that when my children are grown and move out of our home, that they are able to keep a home. I want that for my boys as well as my girls. At this season in our lives, while we are getting this housework monster under control and I am getting back to teaching them how to clean and maintain a house, this is the end goal that I have in mind. I want them to be able to keep a home.

At this point in time, I am not even working on the actual cleaning of a home. At this point in time, my goal is simply for them to learn what it means to just thoroughly pick up a room. And to teach them the responsibility to do it well, with a sense of pride in having a clutter-free home. Or at the very least, one where it is kept in check. That's been a long road on my part and I'm still traveling down that path to a much more clutter-free home.

Anyhow, to instill the idea of what a clutter-free home should look like, to gain some assistance around the house, to give the kids some ownership over our home, I have given them each a series of chores that reflect their ages.

Cephas is eleven. So he has eleven chores. They are all in the living room (well, I guess one is on the front porch) and they basically just cover keeping flat surfaces from getting filled up and to keep an eye on the hotspots that occur over time. One in particular, the space under our sectional. I don't know what it is about that area, but it constantly has to be cleaned out.

In addition to his chore room, he also has five regular chores to do in his bedroom (as do all of the kids). I expect them to do these chores, in their entirety, every single day, with only a rare exception. For the most part, it happens as planned.

Now, you may wonder what chores I would give to an 11 year old in a single room that would just include tidying it up, but not actually cleaning the room. I'll show you.

Clear off side table
Clear off TV stand
Clear off cedar chest
Clear off couch
Clean under couch cushions
Clean under couch
Clear off entry table
Straighten entry area
Pick up floor area
Straighten shoe area
Tidy the front porch
* * * * * * * * * * *
Tidy bed
Clear off bookshelf
Clear off dresser
Pick up bedroom floor
Take dirty laundry to bathroom

I'm sure you can guess, but the five chores at the bottom are the ones for his room.

You may be asking yourself why I have such a laid out and detailed (when it is a no-brainer) list of what to do to merely pick up a room. But you see, this is where the ADHD comes in for Cephas. It is where the Aspergers comes in for Jeriah. And the possible Aspergers for Cephas. And the slight OCD tendencies that Koren shows. For Cephas, it helps keep him on track and keeps him from asking me very couple of minutes, "Is this good now?" I can simply redirect him to the list and ask him to look at the list, then look at the room. If there is something that is not neat and tidy, it still needs to be done. He is eleven. By all means, he should be able to look at a room and tell what needs to be done to it on his own. But he doesn't., because he can't.

For Koren, this kind of list helps him to reduce his OCD tendencies. He needs some kind of guideline to know that okay, this is enough. He doesn't have to continue working on it indefinitely. He doesn't have to get it all perfect. As long as the items on his list are neat and tidy, even if the vacuuming isn't done, the windows aren't washed, the frames aren't all dusted, the books on the bookshelf aren't perfectly lined up, it is still okay. He needs this. Jeriah needs the list as a visual idea of what he has to do. It's a motivational thing for him. For Oralee, it keeps her on track most of the time. Which she needs, because her chores are spread out. She has two in the kitchen, three in the dining room and one in the hallway. She can easily lose her place. This is a tool to help her.

I will post later on "Motivating Kids" and tell how we use these current sets of chores to motivate our children.