Monday, June 02, 2014

You'd Better Work!

If you’re a parent and you’re on the interwebz (which I kind of assume you are since your'e reading this), you may have seen the post going around about the parents who worked up a chore chart for their kids to work on in order to earn back their “screen” privileges. I think it’s a pretty smart idea, but I don’t like the idea of chores as a punishment.

I think chores are a part of life for everyone who lives in my home. We all pitch in because we all live here. Laundry doesn’t do itself, people. And dustbunnies are not pets. During the school year, my kids don’t have an overabundance of chores—I prioritize their schoolwork over housework and I want them to have unstructured downtime, too—but in the summer, all bets are off. If they had their druthers, any minute they are at home means a minute they are online, noses buried in tablets.

Add to this the one-two punch of me being easily distracted and working from home. This means that when I have a deadline, my kids know it’s a good time to ask for screen time, at which point they will quietly retreat to their rooms with their screens and will only emerge after I go looking for them several hours later or if their batteries die, whichever comes first. Then when I call an end to screen time, they are grumpy and bicker and turn into little angry whipper-snappers with whom I don’t care to spend my time.

So I’ve decided that this summer they will earn their online privileges, much like those parents who traded chores for points toward electronics. I’ve decided that we’re going to have lists of rotating chores that need to be done each week if they want to keep their privileges.

My chore list for our 10 and 12 year olds includes:

  • help with dishes as needed
  • take out trash
  • wipe down kitchen table
  • sweep floor
  • check napkins and paper towels
  • clean toilets
  • wipe down counters
  • clean mirrors
  • sweep floors
  • wash towels
  • sweep patio and front stoop
  • wipe down table and chairs
Living room:
  • dust
  • maintain a clean room
  • keep track of library books
  • laundry (dirty clothes to laundry room, fold and put away their own clothes)
  • vacuum living room and hallways
  • sweep front hall and laundry 

I spent far too much time online (oh, the irony) this morning, Googling chore lists for kids and there are a million options—but what about you? Do you expect your kids to do chores? What chores do you assign?

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