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It seems like we are busy from the moment we get home from school until bedtime. The only thing that has kept things from getting hectic is our School Schedule. Luckily, school started on Thursday for us this year so it wasn't a whole week of crazy afternoons. I am usually a very organized person and have all this figured out before the first day even comes around, but this year summer went by too fast. Who's with me?
I am glad the kids are back in school, but I'm also that mom that gets sad because I enjoyed them being home all summer with me. No really, I do miss them. But what I really enjoy about school is that we can have more of a set schedule, even if it's busy and full.
Now, it’s not easy getting my boys to do chores on top of homework and everything else, but they know it is a requirement before bedtime. My goal is that one day they will not need to be told do chores.
For example, there's a Hot Wheels car under their rug that has been there for five days that nobody has picked up. Nobody including ME! I want them to look at that toy one day and pick it up without being told to at clean-up time. I guess I should realize that the “clean-up song” stops working after a certain age.
I also want them to feel that I value their help and that I ask them to help at home because they do a good job. That towel my 6-year-old just balled up instead of folding is not bothering me at all.
What I have found most effective is to give one to three age-appropriate chores per child, so they won't be overwhelmed, especially during the school year. Now, I know many parents count brushing teeth, getting dressed, etc. as chores, but honestly, I don't. Why? Because those are everyday things that should be done. When they are in their toddler years, yes because they need consistency. But older kids should be able to do more.
Chores for older kids should be more responsibility-based, like setting the table, washing the dishes, or taking out the trash. My 6-year-old sets the table and wipes the table after dinner. My 8-year-old sweeps the floor and washes the dishes. My 9-year-old takes out the trash, cleans the living room, and makes sure the playroom is clean. My 16-month-old even helps clean his high chair and helps with the playroom.
Assigning chores per week is a great idea so each child gets a turn at a different chore and isn’t stuck with the same chores every week. It's also important to make them feel included by letting them have a say in their chores. If a child is a part of a decision they are more likely to be compliant.
I read a quote once that said, “When you're a parent, EVERY DAY is the busiest day of the week.” So, no matter how busy we are with work, after school activities or life, always make time to teach responsibility and spend quality time as a family.
Gabriela is wife to husband, Aaron, and mom to four boys! She is a full-time mom, works as a substitute teacher, and owns her own cleaning business. She runs the Facebook group, I Only Make Boys, where she enjoys chronicling her boys' crazy adventures and sharing wisdom with other boymoms.