On Child-Labor

Zeke is obviously too little for chores. Unless you count picking up his toys. I suppose you could say that Zeke has one job. He does pick up his toys before nap. And he helps out around the house in other ways as well; he likes to help unload the silverware and to set the table, I think the highlight of his day sometimes is turning on the dishwasher, he often takes things out to the recycling bin or the compost pile, he likes to spray and wipe glass cleaner, and he's lately taken it upon himself to feed the cats as well as the turtles (which he has to be lifted to do), he's become a master at sorting laundry. So Zeke pretty much helps out around the house all day long to tell the truth. And its getting to the point where its honestly helpful. Turning on the dishwasher was never that big a deal for me, but not havign to feed the cats is nice. And he's getting pretty decent at window washing/ many times I dont go over what he did. But for the time being its always his own idea. We offer and if he wants to help he does, but if he doesn't, we just do it ourselves.

Someday, though, it wont be quite so voluntary. And he will also be able to do the chores by himself, instead of just helping. Josh and I look forward to that day all the time. I know for a fact Josh does every single time he mows the lawn (a dreaded job).

Im not sure when that blessed day will come. Maybe when he stops helping out around the house so willingly. Zeke will have to be at least 3, and more likely 4 to even really understand the concept I think. But there it is...like a golden horizon...chores.

It may be the secret reason we had kids, I know I always suspected it of my own parents. :) Because, you know, having the livingroom poorly vacuumed every week is sooo worth the effort of rasing children.

We havent figured out what chores will really look like in our house. It honestly depends on so many things. If we homeschool, for example, the load will most likely be heavier, I will be busier and the kids will have more free time after all (I know many homeschooling families and almost none find it necessary to go 9-3). Josh sees it as a free-form "You do what I ask and when" type thing but I'm kind of a chart person, personally. I have chore charts for MYSELF for goodness sake. And since I am the main child-rearer I'm almost sure that's how it will go. I just love a good chart.

We do agree there wont be any money involved, however. So pretty much we are sure our kids will think we are the meanest parents EVARR. Which just might be our goal, in a way, or at least an indicator that we are on the right track. I have a feeling any preteen that always loves their parents has a good possibility of having bad parents.

We just really believe that paying for chores undermines the reality that we are all members of this household and we all need to help it run. Also it makes is easy to say "Well then I wont do the chores and I wont take the money" which I did at 15 when I got my first job. Or my siblings often did right after a birthday and they were flush with cash (like 20 bucks!). We fear paying for chores might foster a sense of entitlement. Housework is a reality, after all. I'm not payed for it, Josh isnt payed for it, why should kids be?

It of course brings up the problem that children do need to learn fiscal responsibility. And the best, and perhaps only, way to learn how to handle money is to have some money to spend. We havent 100% solved this cunundrum as of yet. Do we have "required" chores and then extra jobs that can be done for money? There is always some big non-everyday work that needs to be done; yardwork, or cleaning out a closet, or babysitting a younger sibling. Do we just instill a weekly allowance that doesnt have any connection to chores? When does a kid need money anyways?

The many things to ponder. But thankfully we have some time to ponder it. Josh and I always like to stay a few stages ahead, so we can get our fighting out before the fact :). If we ever have a daughter Im going to have to start breaking him down on the make-up issue as soon as she cuts her teeth.

Any thoughts? How do you handle chores?


Kay said...

My family was the same about chores: we were expected to do them because we were part of the family, part of the household, and that's what the household needed. We got a small weekly allowance that was completely separate to teach us how to handle money, and had credit union accounts that we were expected to put part of it in weekly. Once we turned 15 and could legally get jobs, the allowance stopped but the chores did not. =)

Trippleaaa said...

As far as "allowance"... we never received one either. However, as long as our regular chores were done, we were able to go above and beyond our normal duties to receive money. In high school, I was often found cleaning the downstairs bathroom on a Friday afternoon so I had gas money for my car! This was of course, during those times I wasn't working. Our chores were also expected to be done every Saturday, if we got it done sooner, great. It meant we didn't have to be home from our our friends house at 9 AM on Saturday to get our stuff done. We also had to do the dishes every other night. ALright, enough rambling, I just thought I would share what happened in my household which seemed like a pretty good idea to me!

Bill said...

Well….if I had it to do over again I think I would try and do it a bit differently. I think there should be chores that are required to be done as a member of the household; cleaning your room, doing the dishes and the such. These should not receive allowance. Then there can be additional chores completed for a weekly allowance. Perhaps cleaning the garage, or pulling weeds, etc. Then you get the best of both worlds. Now I really liked my sisters way of what to do with allowance. It is broken up into 3 “accounts”, 1/3rd to spend on what ever you like, 1/3rd in short term savings (new cloths, a new bike, or whatever) then 1/3rd into long term savings (car, college, spring break vacation to Hawaii, etc.) Anyhow…just my 2 cents…

Melissa aka Equidae said...

it is not the norm here as far as i am naware to do chores and get paid and will definitely wont do it with our kids but would give him a few money serperatrly from prob age 8

Domrese Family Blog said...

The boys have things that they must do as a part of the family. These are just everyday activities like putting their clothes away, cleaning up messes, etc. Then they have chores, with the intent of doing some money management. They have three jars. Each chore is worth 5 cents (they have five chores). Each chore is paid in pennies. One penny goes into spending, one penny to church, and three pennies to savings. Joshua is saving up for some Buzz Lightyear toys that we find trivial. Thomas is saving up for Chuck E Cheese. It's awesome.

Sorry this is long..

Church money is given in the children's collection every Sunday. It is the boys' responsibility to get it from the jar, take it to church, and put it in the children's collection. Spending money is saved for those special toys. The saving money is a big deal and put into their bank account (by them) when it becomes necessary.

All money they receive for birthdays, that they find, that people give them, follows the same rules.

Domrese Family Blog said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Adria said...

My parents would have to fall in the meanest parents EVARR category as we were never given money for chores. And as much as I hated it then, I would agree with it now for certain. We were still given like a small monthly allowance but not in connection to the chores. It was never really explained why, but I think it was in the same concept of being members of a house hold and everyone needs to contribute, period. Also to teach basic life skills.