Before we have kids we know, without a shadow of a doubt, that our angels are going to be obedient, cheerful Christmas elf children who merrily flit about and do their chores with smiles on their faces. Then they’ll settling down for family games-night, after which they will be in bed (and stay in bed) by 6. They will be a direct reflection of the top-notch, controlled, no-nonsense but generously-loving parents that we will be. In short, our kids will be perfect.
Then reality hits. We discover that each child pops out with their own stubborn/willing-to-please ratio. We find that somebody’s arms miraculously get tired when it’s tidy-up time. We realise that small humans go from hyper-speed to puddle-on-the-floor in nano-seconds once the words “please could you…” leave your lips. The blocks which were so easy to tip out are now impossible to put back, and the piles of dishes in the bedroom (that we’re not allowed to eat or drink in) become invisible.
There are five people and three animals in our home which means that keeping things looking, smelling and feeling habitable can be an ongoing saga. With 3 kids aged 4, 6 and 16, we try (but don’t always succeed) to implement what we consider a reasonable number of age-appropriate chores- with varying degrees of success.
Amongst other bits and bobs, all three children are expected to open their curtains, make their beds, tidy their rooms, have breakfast, wash and get dressed before their day starts. The little ones are expected to tidy up behind them as they go, take dishes to the kitchen, and help with odd-jobs like dead-heading the flowers and washing the car. In addition to these, the older one is in charge of hanging and taking the washing down and packing and unpacking the dishwasher before she is allowed to have her phone in the evening.
I wish I could say that everybody does what is expected of them without having to be reminded, but the reality is that only one of our kids doesn’t need reminders, and ironically, it’s the youngest one! The other two are generally alight, but let’s just say there’s always room for improvement. My dreams of my perfect Von Trapp kids don’t seem to have materialised – perhaps I need a whistle?
So on this note, do your children help around the house? I’d love to hear what is expected of them, and how you have implemented their chores. It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut, I think it’s time to shake things up around here and I’d love some new ideas! (Bonus points for tips that include nag-proof methods!)