Saturday, March 1, 2014

Kids and Chores--the short version

I'm slightly famous in certain (very small) circles for a single parenting rule I probably learned from my own parents.

Namely:  Do not do anything for your children that they can do for themselves.
This is a combination of encouraging domestic learning, and my ideas of fair distribution of labor (or perhaps laziness.)
  • Since the day we got a front-loading washing machine when they were eight or so, the boys have done their own laundry.  One basket for dark clothes, one for whites. (Bonus? This keeps their oopses from hurting MY clothes.)
  • They do the majority of the dishes, and are responsible for some of the tidying around the house.
  • They are entirely responsible for their bathroom, because ew.
  • We've been working on cooking lessons for ages now--they get to choose recipes and make us dinner, and breakfast on Saturdays if we're at home. This year they got their own chef's knives.
  • When given money, they can get themselves to the grocery store, do light shopping, and get it back home unscathed and uneaten.
(Ok, so this was early acclimation...)
Now, it does not always go perfectly, especially when we all have a busy week. And they do not like chores any more that the rest of us--sometimes some nagging has to happen.  

Through the years we have worked on different distributions of the chore list--they are pretty big on equity. Some weeks more gets done on Sunday than the whole rest of the week, as that's "Change-Over Day"--Monday morning they switch to the other set of chores.  It's the time of week where they inspect one another's areas and decide whether or not to accept the work or send 'em back for rewrites.

And here's that link about Montessori age-appropriate skills, with an editorial about why sometimes it works better than others.  Ayup.


  1. Do not do anything for your children that they cannot do for themselves.

    I think you might mean "can do for themselves" instead of cannot. Otherwise, since a small child cannot feed him/herself, the parent should not do it for him/her? Or since the child cannot change his/her own diaper, the parent should not?

  2. Whoops. This is what I get for posting when tired.
    Thanks for pointing that out--editing now!