Tuesday, July 23, 2013
I don't have to tell you how overwhelming it can feel when house work, yard work and laundry all pile up! Whether you have no children or 10, everyone falls behind and everyone feels like the work that needs to get done around the house is too much for one person. I feel like that pretty much on a daily basis. It can be very discouraging to spend a few hours cleaning only to have it look like you didn't do anything 10 minutes later because 6 kids make a lot of mess!
Now that we have "older kids" we have the benefit of help around the house. We don't HAVE to do it all. Part of raising kids is teaching them. Teaching them to not only work hard but how to do that work by having them work beside you. It takes a lot of time and and patience on the parents part to train kids how to do things before they get to a point where they are able to do it on their own. But in the end every parent who does it will tell you it is worth the effort. Not only for the extra help it gives us but for the character it instills in the kids.
My kids are normal kids...they would much rather play then work. Sometimes there is something we are doing that they want to help with and get excited about but a lot of times we have to force them to help. Whining to get out of work is not tolerated and neither is complaining about the work. Teach your kids to do everything with a happy heart because in the real world there are a lot of things they will have to do that they won't like and is there anything more annoying than a whiny and complaining adult who refuses to work?! Start them young!
All the kids (except Tess of course) have their nightly chore. Noah sweeps, Owen washes the table, Gabe washes the chairs (kids get chairs SOOO dirty, I had no idea!), Will sets the table for dinner and Jena picks up the toys on the main floor before bed. This is what is expected of them nightly. Once a week they have to bring down their laundry, except Jena because she's too little to carry it down, and they have to tidy up their rooms. And no, they do not get an allowance for this. Everyone has their different opinion on this and you have to do what works for you but our opinion is that they are a part of this family and need to pitch in without expecting a reward in return.
Then there are the extras. Things that we ask them to do when there is down time, a rainy
day or we just need the extra help. For example today it was raining and they spent a lot of the morning watching a movie and playing their DS. So I put the boys to work in the afternoon while the girls napped. They had to wash down all the walls throughout the house. This is something I like to do a couple times a year. Gabe even did all my kitchen cupboards! Just give them a bucket of water with some pine sol and some rags and they are good to go. It's an easy task and one that I particularly appreciate having get done. Now don't think I sat back and watched. I was washing the floors while they did this. The best way to teach your kids to have a good work ethic is to lead by example. If you just sit back and watch them work while you delegate they will learn to resent work and likely, you too.
Jena has always loved helping to unload and load the dishwasher. She started this when she was 2. I keep my dishes in a lower cupboard so the kids CAN help with this and with setting the table. Everything they need is in their reach. She is super at doing this job and more than capable. Of course the boys are able to help with this too and they do sometimes. We also have them help with yard work. The other day all of us went out and weeded my flower gardens. Ben taught Gabe to safely use clippers so now he loves to clear the borders of our rock walls of unwanted small trees and weeds. One of the big jobs we have that Ben has taught Noah and Owen is piling wood. We heat with wood so every year there is wood to be piled. Last fall the two of them piled 3 chords of wood by themselves and they did a great job! Ben did pay them for this because it was a big help to him, they worked everyday after school till the job was done and they did with a happy heart.
These are just some examples of how we have been teaching the kids to work. Are there
times we get frustrated? Yes! Are there times we think we could do it faster if they were just off playing? Yes! But we know the time we are investing in them now will only be a benefit to them in the future. I encourage you if you have not yet started training your kids to work to do so now! You will not regret it!