When my kids were super young we had a chore chart up on the fridge, I created it and it worked awesome. At some point it was magnetic and at other points it was simply a tally mark system. Each child had set chores, for the boys brushing teeth was even one of those chores to encourage good teeth brushing habits. The tally mark would represent a penny or nickle, whatever it was back then. Each child could lose a tally mark though, if they misbehaved or didn’t follow rules at some point. It was a wonderful system that worked well when the kids were not in school. Now that my three children are in school and with the sharing of parenting between two households, it’s not so easy to utilize the same methods. Here is why my kids really only have tasks during the Summer break season.
I believe that the school year is a time to focus all your efforts on school work, each of my children get A and B grades, this past year my oldest actually got straight A’s all year. They are good students. They also have to live between my home and their Dad’s home, each having different visitation schedules. To me, having to keep up with chores while going between households and keeping up good grades isn’t worth adding a daily chore list to. While I still will ask my children to help around the house, as I believe a strong family bond is created when we all work together to ensure our household is up kept, they don’t have a real chore list during the school season. This has worked for us very well.
My kids are never over scheduled nor over worked during the school year because I allow them the time to focus on school versus a huge list of chores. I believe this is a worthy thing, their school is their job. Being part of the family is their job too, when you have a huge list of school work plus chores plus fun time, it creates this hectic environment and can put kids backwards; they will fall behind in some part of that huge list of to-do’s. I wish to encourage my kids to excel and find a balance, reality is a chore list during the school year will not help them balance because it’s near impossible for them to get all of that done while getting school work done. It doesn’t work.
When summer break hits, the kids are asked to do more around the home. My oldest is asked to handle the dog in the morning while I do my morning shift on Moms.com. The younger two are expected to pick up after their own self; such as dishes in sink after eating, trash thrown away and toys picked up if moving onto another toy. I am not consistent with this at all times, because I am still working on this balance of having all three gone all school year in school, but overall if I ask they do whatever it is that is asked upon them. Summer break to me, is a time to spend with family outings, bonding time and also keeping up with household chores and yard work. We all do our part to keep the family running smoothly and efficiently.
With my oldest, she has an iPhone and part of her Summer list this year is to do tasks for me so that my blog stuff doesn’t fall too much behind between my juggling my job at Moms.com and my freelance work. I don’t get any flack, after all my daughter is already a tween blogger with her own two blogs so helping me pays for her $40 a month cell bill while she also learns the “trade of blogging”. It’s a win/win for us both and she feels accomplished knowing she is working for me at some level. I am working on creating her Summer task list now, it will be no more than half hour a day when she is here to complete and I think that’s fair.
I believe that chores, in a blended household, where the children tend to go off to their Dad’s frequently must be balanced well. I want the children to enjoy being here with Mom and enjoy being away with Dad while also maintaining a good family bond and good character. At the age my children are at, the chores during school year are more a means to just upkeep around here, but during the Summer months, they are certainly expected to help more. I think with blended households and co-parenting most families do it all different while other families still try to maintain this normal level of a regular family where the children have a boat load of chores at both households, I don’t see that as fair. I want my children to grow up enjoying their childhood while still teaching them life lessons; they know when Summer time comes they will be expected to help more around the home, but their reward is a lot of fun family time.
Having a balance is important in every area of my life and my kids have become the same way; I believe that is why we are well rounded, well adjusted and adaptable, outgoing people.