Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Choring it Up

Are you kidding me? Being this cute is a full-time job, mom.
I didn't really have chores as a kid. It's not that I wasn't expected to help around the house (although I probably wasn't as much as I should have been - I am NOT complaining). It's just that I didn't have regular jobs. I was asked to vacuum or clean the bathroom or load the dishwasher or whatever and I was supposed to keep my own room clean (I was an abysmal failure at this). But I didn't have jobs that were assigned to me to do.

As a parent I am taking a different approach. Do I think my family was wrong? No. But I, I am a control freak and given the opportunity, I will never ask my kids to help because they won't do it right anyway. So, I assign jobs. Except, as previously noted here, I am terrible at follow-through, so I often forget that they are supposed to be doing it and do it for them, or forget to remind them or do it when they aren't home, hoping that they won't notice that I did it.

This is a constant source of something bad. Badness ensues. There is badness emanating from every pore of this practice. Brynna is already doing the push/pull, I'll-do-it-tomorrow, why-do-I-have-to, dance of laziness. Maren is not. Maren would scrub down the walls if I asked her to, or change light bulbs or clean the gutters. (Luckily, I don't have the kind of trees that drop things in your gutters, so I don't have to do this job much or I might let her.)

The thing is: I don't know what I can reasonably expect of them. I've always said that I'm going to teach Brynna to do her own laundry as soon as she can reach the bottom of the washer. Other than that, I got nothin'. Right now, she cleans the bathroom (when I remind her), puts away her laundry (badly), feeds the cats (when I remind her) and keeps her room clean (never, ever).  She's six. And I feel like she's capable of so much more. I just don't know what.

Maren helps me unload the dishwasher (faithfully and is enraged if she finds out I did it without her) and sets the table (poorly, but we're getting there).

Additionally, they are both supposed to be responsible for daily toy round up and clearing their spot at the dinner table.

Brynna loves to mop but she does such an abysmal job that I only let her mop her own room and Maren loves to work a spray bottle, so I try to give her things to clean that are down low (cabinet doors, kitchen appliance fronts, etc.) But I just feel like there's got to be a better way to do this. Like maybe a rotating daily chore so that she (and I mean Brynna, I'm doing better with Maren than I did with Brynn) doesn't get so bored? A weekly list that she can pick and choose so long as she does one thing every day? Except that I really don't know what else she could do.

Which is where I beseech you, oh internet. What should a six year old be able to do? How do you keep kids motivated to do chores? Please remember that I am as beta as they come and elaborate chore charts probably aren't going to work for me. Also, should I be asking Maren to do more? Other appropriate ideas for a two year old?

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