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children and chores?

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June 25th, 2012, 10:04 AM
Frackel's Avatar DOh!
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Originally Posted by cybele View Post
I get the strict kind of reaction to my older four (plus Dita's partner who lives with us) cooking dinner. I don't know why, but apparently there is something about a 10yr old who knows how to make a basic pasta sauce that rubs people the wrong way. It's not like my kids are forced into cooking or that I set time for cooking lessons or that food has to be prepared to a certain standard, it is just that they enjoy cooking, and I consider it to be a very valuable life skill, in fact, my oldest is planning on making a living out of it (she is applying to culinary academies for next year, as this is her last year of high school)

It started when they were toddlers, and as Frackel has said, they do what they can for their age, at 2 years old, we would open up the vegetable crisper and I would say, "Can you find me a carrot? Which one is a carrot?" then open up the cupboard "Which one is a chopping board? No, that's called a bowl, lets have another guess, which one could be the chopping board?" to being 4 years old and being able to mash potatoes with the masher, to being 6 and peeling the vegetables, and so on.

I see it as just developing life skills. Adults need to know how to clean up after themselves, they need to be able to feed themselves, and so on, and I see no harm into getting them into the habit as they grow.
I agree. All three of mine can prepare a meal for everyone, if they so desire. In fact they usually help me make dinner, each of us making a different dish or part of the meal. The 8 and 11 yr olds don't usually use the stove or oven, but they could if they wanted to. As in, they know how. Anytime they do want to, I still supervise, just in case. Mostly, because of how little(size wise) they both are. Little bit difficult to see over a pot or something on the stove when you have to stand on tippy toes or a chair, lol. My oldest makes dinner, or lunch, all the time, and needs no supervision when doing so(she's 13). They don't do it because I ask, they do it because they want to. Even if I have meal plans, they'll just make whatever I planned.

The cooking aspects have always been an interest for them, but it's part of our home ec. too. Teaching them basic cooking skills, how to sew, minor household repairs, etc... are all obviously not chores, but still part of what they learn and very valuable skills. They were long before we started homeschooling. But we have added in some more actual lessons on various things. I think a lot of parents these days give their kids the shaft when it comes to teaching them basic living skills-much less anything beyond basic. I'd rather not send them out into the world with little to no knowledge and force them to figure it out on their own later. The earlier they learn the better for everyone, including others they may end up living with down the road someday.
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June 25th, 2012, 11:12 AM
plan4fate's Avatar I may bend, but not break
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Originally Posted by Frackel View Post
Ds can't reach our cupboards either, but that doesn't mean he can't load the dishwasher and put the clean ones on the counter for someone else to put away. Which is exactly what he does when he loads the dishwasher. When we put groceries away, he usually sticks with the things he can reach. Or he climbs up on something to put stuff away.

Same with laundry. He can't turn it on very easily, but he can measure the liquid and he can put the clothes in.
If I waited until he was tall enough to reach everything, he'd never do anything, lol. I don't think he'd appreciate not being able to help. Same with dd2. She's short as all get out. She still can't empty the washing machine without standing on something and will likely have to do so for some years to come. She may always have to step on tippy toes to reach in. She has to stand on things or climb on the counter to get into the cupboards too, all of them(we don't have lower cupboards). Doesn't stop her from doing stuff. (she's 11 btw) That's part of the reason why she likes doing the trash, she doesn't have to stand on things to do it lol.

I've never understood the whole "they're too little" excuse people use for everything. Yeah some things, sure they can't do at a younger age, at least not by themselves. That doesn't mean you can't teach them, or let them help, or find a perhaps different way to achieve the same goal using whatever skills they might possess. Especially once they're out of the toddler stage. I know some parents just have a set way in their minds and if it can't be done that way, then the kid(s) can't do it. Also not really a stance I always agree with. I happen to be someone who thinks that it's a-ok for plenty of things to not necessarily be done perfectly every single time, including adapting how it's done to a child's abilities. Especially when you're teaching your own child how to help maintain their own home-extremely important skills. But I also believe the longer you take to teach them, the harder it likely will be. There's always an exception to the rule of course, but I think most kids benefit more from learning those skills at a younger age, than an older one.

I'm sure most of my opinions come from the fact that I really believe we all are responsible for our own home-and honestly don't understand people who think otherwise(not saying they are wrong, just that I don't understand their pov). Chores are things that don't fall under the "daily upkeep" of a home. Those, and only those, are reserved for age/skill appropriate times. Everything else can at least be taught from a very early age, infancy even, long before the child actually has the skills to complete the task on their own. My babies sat along side me from birth while doing most things, or rode along when I was wearing them, anyway.
I think to believe otherwise is sort of selling your own kid short. Almost as if you believe they can't possibly learn. But I could be completely off base there too, I did say I didn't understand the pov. It's just how I was raised, and how I raise my kids. To be quite honest, I do hope it's something they continue to pass along with their own kids someday.

I'm 28.5 years old and I still have to go on tiptoe to get to the bottom of the washer. Emptying one while pregnant should prove to be interesting one day. I'm thinking I'm going to need me a grabber tool

Reme is NOT ready for the dishwasher. His motor skills and control are not on par with his age. He will need another 2 years before something such as handling glass dishes in a manner to get it safely into the dishwasher is possible. He will be 7 next month and still has not chosen a dominant hand which doesn't help. I lose enough dishes to the "take your plate to the counter" as it is.
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June 25th, 2012, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Linzie View Post
The post you quoted didn't say anything about actually DOING the washing and drying. She said

"pick up all her dirty clothes on Friday, put away all her clean clothes on Sunday"

To me.. that just sounds like exactly what it says, picking up dirty clothes, then putting away the clean ones. If my two year old can sort out his toys into the correct bins if I show him where each type of toy goes (and remind him every so often), I'm sure a 4 yr old can pick up dirty laundry, and put clean clothes into respective drawers.

And it does depend on how early you start teaching a child. Out here in a country, 7 yr olds know how to operate tractors, while in the city i'm willing to bed most 7 yr old don't.

Kids actually are smart and capable if you give em half a chance. Who knew?
Apparently you missed this part: "We're going to teach her how to sort and do her own laundry soon and eventually she'll have to keep her bathroom (yeah she's 4 with her own bathroom!) clean and clean it once a week. But she's too small for that still."
I'm guessing since she mentioned sorting and putting away separately, that when she talks about teaching her to do laundry, she's talking about washing and drying.

Originally Posted by over.the.moon View Post
If she doesn't put away her laundry she still has the clothes, they're just in laundry baskets in her room. Everything in her room is on her level, we modified her closet so she has one rack up high (out of her reach) where we keep out of season clothes, then one rack lower for her in season clothing, she can reach it and knows how to hang things up, so she does. If she doesn't she has to go through her baskets, which she hates. She hates her clothes not being put away neatly (dear god let this last through her teen years), so she'll do it. DP and I really don't care if they're in baskets or on hangers.

She has so many clothes (my fault, entirely) it'd take three weeks of not doing laundry before she was forced into dirty clothes (though this fall she'll start wearing a uniform so that'll change some). I don't see that happening since we do remind her what to do. Most of the time she takes off her clothes and put them right in the hamper. On Fridays we remind her "We're doing laundry this weekend, make sure all of your dirty clothes are in your hamper", so later in the week if she goes "My purple shirt isn't clean!" we can say "Did you put in the hamper? No? Well then how would we know to wash it?". That isn't to say if she says "I forgot to my purple shirt in my hamper can we wash it", we'd say no. We'd most likely say yes so long as we can make a full load. But neither of us are going to go around her room picking up dirty clothes strewn about when she's perfectly capable of tossing it into a hamper.

The schedule is to help her know when things are going to be done. For instance, we do our laundry over the weekend so we're ready for the week ahead. So by Friday, she needs to get her dirty clothes together so we can wash them. And we do our best to have them done by sunday to be put away. She strips her bed on Tuesday because our cleaning lady comes on tuesdays and always washes our bedding on that day (stripping our beds before hand saves her time, we strip ours on tuesdays too).

A lot of her chores teach her about up-keep. For instance, if puts her toys away each day and keeps her room picked up, on Saturday it only takes her maybe 15-30 minutes to clean it and then she's a free bird. If she picks up her clothes all week long, she can do a quick hunt for missing socks on Friday and be done with it. If she saves everything until the last minute, it'll take her longer to complete her tasks.

As for teaching her to use the washer and dryer, well, we were both around 5 when our parents started teaching us and having us help them with the laundry. I can clearly remember sitting on top of the dryer waiting to pour in the soap for my mom. And cleaning on the lint trap after we got the clothes out of the dryer was my favorite job. I was an odd child. We aren't going to say "Here's the washer and dryer, best of luck" and leave her. That's an accident waiting to happen (I'm thinking of the Brady Bunch episdoe where Bobby overflows the washing machine). But we'll have her help us, have her sort out clothing, show her how to measure laundry soap, which buttons we push, ect. It's a process, and eventually she'll be able to handle doing her own laundry.

Every kid is different. Ours is capable of handling what we ask of her. If she wasn't, we wouldn't ask. For instance, she can't work the vaccum cleaner, as it weighs more then she does. So we dont' ask her to do it.

People always thought it was odd in high school that my brother and I cooked dinner for my mom or dad (whichever parent we were with that week). We were home, they worked, we wanted to eat. I'm not say we were fantastic cooks, but we could read a recipie and put together a basic dinner. In junior high before my parents split up, we used to rotate who would cook throughout the week, with Fridays off for pizza. The non-cooks for the night would clean up afterwards. It worked out nicely, my brother and I used to compete for who could come up with the better dinner.

DD loves helping in the kitchen. She helped me grate cheese this weekend, which is much more exicting at 4. And we had a cookout on Friday night, she went around telling everyone she helped make the steak "juice", which can be translated to helping make the marinaed and bringing the steaks out to the grill. And she made the salad all by herself! After we chopped all the veggies she washed. She was very proud.
This clarifies everything much better for me. I don't disagree with anything you stated, I just got a different impression from the first post. Thanks for clarifying.

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