Lately I've been noticing a trend when it comes to my kids, their chores and other people's reactions to them. First off you have to know that my twin 8 year old boys, Yip and Yap, have chores that they do everyday; put away their laundry, walk the dog, feed the dog, take out the trash. Every morning after breakfast, unless the weather is just horrendous, they each walk the dog for about 15 minutes before they head to school. A few people in the community have commented to me, smiling, that they've seen my boys walking the dog. But it kind of hit me a little differently this week when I was talking to the boys school principal and he mentioned how he sees the boys every morning walking the dog, or the dog walking them, every morning on his way to get coffee and how it was nice to see that they had chores. And it kind of hit me right then, all these folks in town who comment on my boys walking their dog, I think they see my boys (with their chores) as an exception rather than the rule.
Could it be true that most kids these days don't have to do chores? DR and I were talking about our chores growing up. We both had farm animals to feed and water everyday along with gardens and fields to work in in the summer. In the winter my sisters and I could be found every weekend cutting wood for our wood burning stove. We always had chores. It never occurred to me to argue about doing chores. I made of grumbled wile doing them but I never just didn't do them; they had to get done one way or the other. I think for farm kids chores are so integral to their lifestyle there's no way to grow up without doing chores. That was DR and my childhoods.
I've always thought having kids do some sort of chores is important. I believe it teaches accountability, responsibility, time management skills, and a work ethic. I've struggled in the past finding age appropriate chores for my kids to do. Right now, I'm trying to come up with some chores 4 year old Yahoo could do on a daily basis as part of her routine but I can't think of anything. Maybe she should share the chores with Yip and Yap? I can imagine a lot fighting if I institute that. But it's not as though she doesn't do anything. She does help me out with various things through the day and she's kind of learning to pick up after herself. Still though, I'm not going to let any of my kids grow up without doing some sort of work around the house.
But is the idea of kids' doing chores an exception? Do most kids these days getting away with not doing anything around the house? I haven't asked around to any parent friends of mine about what they make their kids do...that might be kind of annoying to them. How on Earth can a parent justify not teaching work skills to their kids at a young age? You sure can't start teaching those skills once they hit the teen years. I do remember a former 8th grade student of mine who didn't have to do ANY chores...which kind of explained his report card with straight F's.
So what do you think? Are chores for kids a thing of the past? Do you make your kids do chores? Are you the exception where you live? Do you think chores for kids are important?