Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Purpose of Chores

I often ask myself why I want my child to do chores, especially when it is like pulling teeth to get her to do them. 

Do I need the help?  Do I think it is unfair that the adults in the house do everything?  Am I trying to teach her responsibility?

Yes, yes and yes.

I am not talking about Haley.

We don't expect Haley to do chores.  When she does something it is usually out of "the kindness of her heart" and we appreciate that.  We have tied chores to a reward.  It worked pretty well, but even the reward, although something that she wanted wasn't really the point.

I think Haley is at the age that she wants to help.  It makes her feel important.  It makes her like one of us. 

It makes my day.

Her Big Sis is another story.

One of her jobs is to set the table.  We generally eat dinner at the same time every night.  There are exceptions to that and when there are I usually let her know.  If she has plans to be somewhere at dinner time we let it slide, but if we are all home I expect her to set the table just before dinner.  I have even told her that she can set it as soon as she gets home from school, if she wants to get it out of the way.  I just want her to do it, because she knows it is her job and it needs to be done.  Every night I have to ask her to do it.

I usually have to ask her several times.

The other night Haley came up to me while I was cooking.  She looked in each pot and bowl and pan and wanted to know what I was making.  I explained our meal to her and I told her that it was almost done.  She seemed satisfied and started to walk away. 

I said "Can you ask your sister to set the table?" 

Her sister was sitting on the couch so I knew that she would hear me, I just thought that it would be a good way for Haley to practice asking someone else for something. 

Other than me.

I heard plates rattling in the cupboard and turned around.  She didn't ask her sister to set the table.  She was going to do it herself.

She tried to pick up a stack of plates.  I said "Pick up one at a time, please."  She did.  She took a plate out of the cupboard and put it on the table and then she came back for the next one.   She did that for each plate.  When she had put the last plate on the table her sister said "Put the forks on." 

Such a helpful child.

Haley went to the silverware drawer and started shuffling the forks around.  I said "You only need four forks Haley."  She kept shuffling.  "Count out four forks."  She grabbed  all of the forks and walked over to the table.  She put a fork next to each plate and then put the rest of the forks back in the drawer.

I said "Thank you Haley."

She said "Good job."

"Yes, you did a very good job."

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