Before my husband and I had children, I worked in a private fine arts preschool. The school used several different methods from a variety of early childhood education philosophies, one of which was the Montessori method. The children were taught from the day they started at our preschool how to take care of several self-care and classroom needs, like tidying up after their own messes and helping with classroom chores. Even though the children did not always do a very good job of sweeping up crumbs or wiping up spills, they were learning and being trained in these important habits. They knew that at school, at least, everything has a place, and it was everyone’s job to help keep our school looking neat and tidy.
Years later when we had a child of our own, it became important to me and my husband to train him to learn to help do the same here at home. We are both naturally pretty organized people and do not like clutter. From the time my son was old enough to put his own toys away, we began teaching him to help clean up his playthings at the end of the day before getting ready for bed. As he grew older, we added more responsibilities to his daily self-care and family job routine.
Last year, on his 6th birthday, we started paying our son weekly for helping with things around the house. This was in part because we felt it was time for him to start learning first hand about managing money, and partly as an incentive to be more a more helpful contributor to the family. I will admit we have not been as consistent or as proactive in teaching new skills as a lot of families may be. But I am not a Type A mom, and this is what works for our family right now. A lot of moms say they start teaching new chores over the summer when they don’t have a busy school schedule, and if we were not getting ready to move, we would probably do that now, too. But I am not starting any new routines until we get settled into a new house!
We have done the same with our 2 year old daughter, teaching her to do as many things for herself as she can. Unlike her big brother, however, she is highly motivated and independent, so she actually wants to do more than she is able to at this point! I guess that is a good problem to have, though, most of the time!
I have a few specific examples of what we do around here for kids’ chores, but I will share those in another post. I will also share how we do payment and divide up my son’s earnings each week. I hope you will come back for the next post in the series soon!
So, talk to to me about chore training in your house. Do your kids help with housework? If so, what are their responsibilites? If not, do you wish they did?