Put Them To Work

Put Them To Work | Mommy-Miracles.com

Please excuse the mess. The children are making memories.

Is that how the saying goes? The truth is that the mess you see in my home means that I have a husband who works way more hours than full-time and three little boys who seem to actively try to undo any of the housework I manage to get done.

Time to load the dishwasher? Not with the baby around. He loves to reach in and grab the knives in the cutlery tray. Or, he takes out all the dirty dishes that I have just loaded in an attempt to be helpful.

He also seems to not understand “Don’t step in that dirt pile!” when I’m sweeping.

And the bigger boys somehow equate “I need some help cleaning up! People are coming over!” with “Please bring out all your sleep toys and put them on the living room couch so they can greet the guests.”

One of the hardest things about raising three boys is realizing that I am responsible for teaching them how to be responsible men; how to be equipped to live on their own and how to be helpful spouses. This is a massive responsibility. (I promise that teaching them to put down the seat is one of my top priorities!)

When I’m cleaning, I tend to avoid the basement where the kids play. We rarely have guests venture down there, and it always seems like such an act of futility to me. But often, the kids will get upset that I don’t prioritize cleaning their space, despite the fact that I had literally nothing to do with messing it up. Somehow, in their mind, I am the cleaner of the house, and the sole responsibility of cleaning lies with me.

Which is precisely NOT what I want them to be learning.

We all live in this house, not just me. Despite the work I often find myself doing, I am not hired help (as evidenced by the lack of money in my bank account). The responsibility of making this house a home that everyone enjoys living in rests on everyone who lives in this house. And I absolutely do not want my children growing up in a world where they do not understand that. This is not just my home. It is theirs. This is not just my mess. It is theirs.

And the memories they need to make involve learning how to care for the place they live.

I think it is about time I introduce a chore chart. Because being part of a family means pitching in and helping out and sharing responsibilities. And it is important for my children to feel like they are valuable members of this family.

What “chores” can my kids take ownership of?

Logan (17 months):

  • Brush teeth
  • Hand me dishes from clean dishwasher
  • Put clothes in hamper

Gavin (4):

  • Put away toys
  • Make bed
  • Clear his dishes from table
  • Help load and unload dishwasher
  • Put away books
  • Put clothes in hamper
  • Set table

Cameron (6):

  • Replace toilet paper rolls
  • Fold towels
  • Load and unload dishwasher
  • Pair socks
  • Help with groceries
  • Put away toys
  • Make bed
  • Put clothes in hamper
  • Put away clean clothes
  • Set table

Now, I just need to figure out how to teach them and incentivize them to do these things without making them feel like it’s optional…

Teaching responsibility doesn’t necessarily have to be a “chore” (see what I did there?). Netflix can make these conversations go a little easier with shows that help encourage certain ideas and conversations. When I tell the kids they now have to do chores on a daily basis, I think I’ll be turning on VeggieTales In The House S1E1: Puppies & Guppies/Sorry We’re Closed Today where Larry and Laura Carrot quickly learn about responsibility as they attempt to care for a new pet.

See? Now that’s how we make chores fun.

I have to go clean my kitchen now.

This post was inspired by Netflix. I am a member of the Netflix Stream Team and as such I have been compensated for this post with a complimentary Netflix subscription and a few other perks. I’m honoured to have been a StreamTeam member for the last three years. The stories and opinions are all my own.

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