Periodically, I vow to just tell them what I want them to do, rather than yelling at them for what I DON’T. In the interest of not complaining–or at least not complaining without making an attempt to change things–today I instituted a couple of improvements.
Every day I come in with a big pile of things from the car–hats and mittens (so sad, already) and lunch boxes and bits of trash and sundry. Today I took along a single bag to tote all of that in (helps going into preschool, too). Sam will empty his backpack (if reminded). Lily I assigned the task of supervising the emptying the Panda bag. I could hear the three of them rustling, and some arguing, so I announced that if I came in to a clean hallway, there would be one piece of candy corn for each cleaner!
It worked–empty bag, jackets hung up, mittens in cubbies and one less chunk of work for me. Also featured today were Wyatt, sent to his room after kicking Rory while she tried to get over him to get in the car (and that’s sent to his room AFTER a lengthy drive home) and Lily, sent to same after various forms of defiance at bedtime (No! It’s not bedtime! I want YOU to brush my teeth! I’m NOT going up to my room! It’s opposite day!” It is time to take Lily in line, I can see.)
I always struggle with how much they should help with chores. They do WANT to help, and not necessarily only when it’s fun, although Rory only wants to help her way–as in, she won’t take a fork and spoon to the table for each child, but will instead provide each of the eight chairs at the table with a spoon…and I want their help. We have a housekeeping service, so I’m not cleaning toilets (although I could, and they’ll learn) but I am sorting laundry, emptying the dishwasher, and packing lunches. One friend has the kids pack lunches, including the three year old, from a planned assortment–but of course she supervises, and after some thought I concluded that the supervision (plus the fact that I am NOT A MORNING PERSON) would outweigh the lesson, and if Sam packs his, everyone else will want to, and there is really no way, not any way, that Rory could pack goldfish in the morning without also eating goldfish. (I think my friend buys them prepacked.) Maybe next year.
Kids need to have some chores. Having them hang up their coats and put away their hats, gloves and shoes is a good thing for them to do. Helps teach them responsibility. Don’t be concerned about finding chores they can do, it is good for them, and it will help you. As they get older, you can assign them more difficult things to do, For example, Sam could take out the trash to the garage now.
And my most enlightening discovery this fall was that nine year old boys are perfectly capable of doing laundry! Caleb does his & Wy’s hamper once a week. That only leaves me with four other hampers.
And I loathe the car unloading process at the end of each school day. I want a housekeeping service for that!