Teach Your Children Early On to be a ResponsibleTeamplayer

kids chores 2  My mom was the best organizer/leader/disciplinarian, of any of the parents of my peer groups throughout my childhood. With 8 kids and way too many affiliated chores to list, she had to hit the floor running every day. The memory that sticks with me the most is that she  had us hitting the floor right along with her.

Once we were up and moving each morning, had breakfast under our belts, we then moved on into the kitchen where my mother had laid out options/choices for our lunches.  A normal menu included a sandwich, chips, fruit and maybe a cookie. With this approach, my mother had wisely make us think we were totally in charge of this task, even though she had set up the parameters and laid the options out.  If we were hungry that day, there was no one to blame other than ourselves for not packing enough to eat. This task alone taught us responsibility as well as accountability on a daily basis.

I did not grow up with gender bias in our house. If someone had mentioned that back then, they would have gotten no reaction other than a strange look in their direction. There were 4 girls and 4 boys and we each had daily tasks, inside and outside the house that we were responsible for. A typical afternoon would be to come home from school, have a quick snack then do our homework. We’d have maybe an hour of free time to do what we wanted, then home to do our pre dinner chores, such as, setting the table, preparing a salad, making a vegetable dish or dessert etc.; whatever it was that my mother needed help with.

Dinner was the same time every night, even with 8 people at the table. My mother was firm on this, dad’s job allowed for this and as a consequence, it worked for everyone. After dinner, mom and dad would go into the room we called the TV room, to watch the news as well as to relax and have coffee and dessert. While they were relaxing, we were all in the kitchen raising havoc. We, the siblings/kids, would all be working at out post dinner chores; clearing the table, putting extra food away, washing/drying dishes (too many dishes for dishwasher), dumping the garbage, sweeping and mopping the floors. Once all chores were done, mom would come in and give the final approval or if need-be, ask us to re-do something that wasn’t done well.

The chores were appropriate in that they taught us to follow orders, complete tasks, as well as working together as a team, in order to get things done in a timely manner. We didn’t rely on our mom to direct us (except when we were really young) but on our siblings or one another. The older ones were generally the leaders, calling the shots. We weren’t perfect children but we always tried hard to listen, follow directions, work hard and most of all, please our parents. Not to forget to mention that my mom also had a “no chores/no play” rule??  There were consequences, good and not so good, for everything we did.

We were not paid an allowance as we were taught that we all had to do our part in contributing to the betterment of the family/home. We always had monies for what we needed, such as school events/books/projects etc. Saturday’s always brought a few extra chores for each of us, but once done, we were free to spend time with our peers or go to the show, dance etc. We were provided money for that as well. Anything over and above the basics, we were allowed to ask for extra jobs/chores to earn the money.

My goal isn’t to tell my life history but rather to share experiences I had learned that worked. Besides, I’m all for helping anyone out there struggling in one way or another and looking for ideas in helping raise their own children. As we all know, parenting is a one time around event and you can’t go back and start over if you don’t like the results. I guess ya’ll could say we as parents are being held accountable as well.

 

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