So last week I was in the backyard with my daughter, age two, picking up the dog poop in our yard. If you have dogs, or other animals, you know this is a necessary evil, and it happens fairly often. I had pooper scooper in hand and wandered around the yard cleaning said evil droppings. When my daughter yelled out to me, “Dog poopoo mama! Here!” I walked over to her and indeed saw a spot I had missed. I went to rake it into the scooper she stopped me and asked to help. I let her hold the handle to the scoop basin while I raked the poop in. She loved it. She screamed about helping. She even went around and gathered a few more pieces. I was over the moon. Maybe soon I can stop doing this job and pass it off to her. Especially since she seems to enjoy it. My neighbor was not as enthused as I was. He actually yelled at me over the fence about using my child as slave labor. It is a parents job to work he told me, children should not do chores. I was baffled. I did chores as a child. It was not slave labor. I did what everyone else in my house was expected to do as well. So I pose this question to you readers, are chores unreasonable?
I have always taught my children to participate in the household duties, just as my parents did with me. It encouraged productivity, community involvement, and an understanding of how the world works. In order for the house to run smoothly for us all to enjoy our time together we have to work together to get things done. Every night my entire family helps. The oldest help in the kitchen at dinner time, chopping things, or assembling the salad. The younger children set the table, and everyone helps to clear at the end of the meal. My children also help to take the trash out, clean up their rooms, and feed the dogs. My two year old loves putting food in the dog bowl and carrying it in to the kitchen for them.
When it is time to clean up the house everyone pitches in, helping to dust, mop, and fold laundry. My two year old sorts the laundry, she revels in her ability to sort the whites from the colors.
So I ask you once more, what is wrong with this? My children still play, they go out with friends, they do not get punished for not helping, but they also do not refuse to help. It has never been a requirement, no punishments or treats are given for helping. It is just something everyone does. I feel it helps my children to understand responsibility, appreciate what they have, and teaches them how to run a household when they are older. I would hate to see my children at 30 unable to take out the trash, or cook a decent meal. What do you feel is a good chore for every age? Do you agree with the chart for different age group chores? Is there something you would add? Or remove?