January 19, 2012

How our children do work

I have taken an intentional break from blogging.  The holidays were filled with some serious game playing, a Kutless Christmas concert where Ryan and I volunteered, baking, a trip to see the Nutcracker, and simple days.  It was awesome!  Ryan took about a week and a half off and we all really just enjoyed life together.

And then we rang in the new year with everyone at the Dr.'s office and many on a much needed antibiotic.

But here I am, back to writing, and healthy (except for a serious calf muscle strain-long story...let's just say patience is not one of my strong suits)!

I am going to wrap up the series on kids and work today. To find part 1 go here.  For part 2: here.

Our family has a designated chore time five days a week.  It happens M,T,Th,F,Sat.  Wednesdays are a busy day for us outside of the house and chores just don't make sense that day.  Currently, I have the kids doing their weekday chores after lunch.  This allows us to have a solid morning to get school done.  On Saturdays, chores are first thing. Sundays are a day of rest.

We do pay our children a bit for chores.  This consists of a couple of quarters a week.  We don't want to make this a large money making ordeal.  However, we want to give a small opportunity for them to begin learning some money managing skills.  In addition, it is a way to introduce the concept of working to earn a paycheck. 

We do not pay all of the children equally.  Our oldest two earn a quarter more than J does and their assigned jobs reflect that difference.  M and S do not have chores nor do they receive any income.

Our children usually begin doing chores when they are between 3 and 4.  This begins with simply putting away their own clean laundry, making their bed and maybe helping dust or wipe down counters or feed a pet.

Typically by the time they are 4 they are ready to take on some more independent light cleaning.  It is better to begin this process early rather than late.  Just don't overwhelm them; you want this to be a positive, helpful experience.

As a practical matter, how do we handle kids and chemicals?  We don't.  I use all natural cleaners.  You can make some of your own.  You can look to buy some 7th Generation at the store (not really my favorite, but convenient). 

We purchase through Melaleuca (I use all of their cleaners and laundry/dish detergent) and through Frontier (I buy Citra-Solv and all of our personal products from them).  Team up with like minded friends and family if you wish to do an account on Melaleuca as it requires a monthly commitment that I find is typically beyond what one family needs.  Or contact Frontier to see if they have a buying group in your area. 

Honestly, long-term, you will save piles of money with these two companies if you become committed to natural products. I don't sell for either of them.  It is just my honest opinion.

My last bit of advice is to be consistent, but flexible.  Keep chores going despite any whining or complaining.  Better yet, inform your children that income is only given out when their jobs have been done well and cheerfully. 

But if a child is not feeling well or it has been a particular stressful day I may declare that there are no chores, but that everyone needs to work together to get a particular two or three things done.  Sometimes this is simply emptying the dishwasher or picking up the living spaces.  This helps everyone enjoy a bit of grace, but work together to keep our home functioning.

No matter what, make chores and working together a priority.  It will instill work ethic, personal responsibility, and a sense of belonging to each young one.