Monday, May 21, 2007

Question of the Week: Chores for Preschoolers

First of all, thanks to everyone who sent get-well wishes our way! Today has been much, much better for both the kids and me. I'm still pretty stuffed up, but I had a lot more energy, and was able to tackle "Mt. Washmore" (the laundry pile) and also bake bread, make a respectable supper, and wash dishes, plus do a little other housework through the day. Adding to my energy was the fact that we had sunshine for most of the day (hooray!!). It was so nice to see some blue skies again after so much rain. :)

I haven't done a question of the week for I don't know how long, but I have one for you now! For a while I have been thinking about giving Sam some specific chores to do daily and weekly, and I was wondering if you all had any input about age-appropriate chores for a 3 year old. There are a few things that he already helps with, or does himself, but not as a regular routine. Some of them include: emptying the small trash cans, helping with laundry, helping to empty the dishwasher, etc. I was wondering if it is possible/advisable to try to teach a child his age to make his bed? (Keep in mind that he is on the bottom half of a bunk bed, which is a little difficult for even me to make neatly!) I also thought I would put some daily habits on the chore list, such as tooth brushing, bath, etc. Picking up toys before nap and bed is also a good one to add.

What got me thinking more about this, was that Sam accidentally broke his piggy bank a couple weeks ago. Thankfully, I was able to find an identical one to replace it, for a great price on Ebay. But we would like him to earn the money to pay for it, before we give it to him. So I thought if he has a chart of chores to do, then we could give him a little allowance each week (like 25-50 cents) and start teaching him about working to earn something. We would like our kids to learn to handle money wisely from a young age, and I figure it is not too young to start. Hopefully they will grow up to be better money managers than we are!

Anyway, please comment with your chore ideas, and also let me know if your kids get an allowance of any kind, and if you have any brilliant methods of teaching your kids money management, as well! Thanks so much!!


Carrie said...

Biggest concern my husband says is that the motivation becomes to do chores for money instead of help out, obedience, hard work. We never got allowance but would get small money gifts every once in a while for special jobs (major dusting project, scrubbing shower . . ) but not until I was much older. I have a 3 yr old and I do have him clean up his toys, set table, clear his plate and other things - nothing wrong with helping and feeling proud for a job well done!

Anonymous said...

I agree with the other Carrie. I never got an allowance (which was a bummer for me), but my parents wanted us to do our chores because this was our home. My parents weren't "our slaves." (I heard that quite a bit.) I do think it is important to teach your kids about the value of money, so having them do a special project and rewarding them with money sounds good to me. I don't think I will be doing this with George, yet. We are still working on potty training. Now, that is something I would be willing to pay him to do. :-O

Ugh! That cloudy rainy weather was making me feel very blue. I cheered up yesterday, but now I have bad allergies. Can't win.


Rachel said...

Hi Carrie,
I have a 20 month old so I have no advice in terms of chores for 3 year olds. In fact, I am taking mental notes of what you are doing with Sam to do with Michael someday. Sounds like you are doing a great job!

Carrie said...

Thanks, Carrie and Zan, for your input! It definitely has given me more food for thought, and Jim and I had a good discussion on this topic last night. :) I'm still not sure exactly what we will do . . . we're still thinking about it. I do think it is important, as you both said, to have kids help out around the house out of obedience, and doing their share in the family. I just also want to figure out a way to teach them to earn and save money, as well. We may try some different things and see what works best for our kids. (BTW, neither of us got an allowance when we were kids, either. I think my parents tried it a few times, but it wasn't a regular occurance.)

Zan, you made me LOL with your potty training comment. :D George isn't quite 3 yet, is he? If it's any encouragement, it didn't "click" for Sam until right about the time he turned 3 . . . and I've heard some boys take even longer . . . he will get it eventually, though. :) Sorry about your allergies! But it sure is nice to have some sunshine for a change!

Keep the comments coming, everyone!

Carrie said...

Hi Rachel! The main thing I have found is that it's important to keep rhe work fun for them! Sam really gets a kick out of helping out with stuff (most of the time :)). One thing that was so nice for me when I was pregnant with Julia is that he would help me do the laundry. (We have a front loader washer, so it was easy for him to reach.) He would put all the clothes in the washer and dryer for me, which saved me a lot of uncomfortable bending over in those last couple months . . . and he was only around 2! It was great. :)

Joanna said...

Here is one idea that some friends of ours use with their children to help them learn responsibility with money--we haven't used the idea ourselves since our little guy is only 7-1/2 months, but it is some food for thought! At the beginning of each week, on Sundays or Mondays, the parents give each child $1.00 in nickels in a glass jar sitting on their kitchen counter (each child has their own jar). From that $1, the child it taught first to give 10% to God each week, then the remaining nickels stay in the jar throughout the week. If there is a circumstance where the child doesn't obey immediately or is whining or picking at his brother or sister, etc. (at the parent's discretion), then part of the discipline is for the child to take one of the nickels out of his jar and return it to his parents. (This is done in addition to any other disciplinary measures the parents feel suit the situation.) At the end of each week the children can then keep the remaining nickels and either save them or spend them. By having the child take out the nickels and return them to his parents if he disobeys, etc. then the children are made to take more responsibility for their own choices to obey or disobey.

Carrie said...

Jo, that is a really cool idea! I will share it with Jim and see what he thinks. :) Do you happen to know how young the kids are when the parents start doing this?

And . . . I almost fainted when I saw I had a comment from you! Just kidding :), but I think this is the FIRST time you have ever commented on my blog! Hooray!!

Thanks for sharing!

Joey said...

We don't give the kids allowances, we could not afford to feed them if we did! Just kidding! 11,9,8,6,3,1 all work around the house. The littlest can pick up his toys(some times he needs encouragement), unload the dryer, put the clothes into the dryer, hands me laundry to fold, and picks up trash. 3 makes bed, sets table, (we no longer use them, but a great idea to teach this is buy cheap white placemats and draw a place setting on them, I read it somewhere and it worked wonderful) sorts laundry (light/dark) sweeps, unloads dishwasher, etc.. Most kids love to do whaterver Mom & Dad do. Whenever they get money for their b-days, they tithe, save, & the older ones keep a little for later. My two oldest have specific things they also want to save for so I started accounts that I keep as whatever goes into the bank stays there. A few years ago the older two boys would go to work with Dad and pick up trash from the job site & other jobs, for a good days work they earn $5. They have ways to make money, but it is never connected to responsability at home.
Thanks for the e-mail, I have been out in the yard so much I have not had much time for the computer, but will e-mail back soon.

Carrie said...

Joey, thanks so much for sharing about your kids' chores, and also the ways they are learning about handling money! That is a great idea about the placemats. I am scared to let Sam set the table with my breakable plates because they are VERY hard to find (not being made anymore) but I could teach him using paper or plastic plates and graduate to the nice ones when he is older. :)

Rachel said...

Hi Carrie,
You have officially been "tagged". Check out my blog for details.

mindee said...

We do not give our children allowances yet, but similarly to Joey, we have taught them to tithe and save part of their gift money. They help around the house in many ways, though none of them have specific weekly chores that are theirs. They clean their rooms daily, as they are still learning the concept of putting things away when they are finished with them. Our oldest did some work with Daddy last summer and earned money from that. I'm not against having an allowance paid for certain extra chores as they get older (I'm thinking mowing the lawn, etc). After all, out in the world, one does get paid for doing a job. However, I think I'd want it to be balanced with the fact that there are certain chores that they do as part of our family where the rewards are instrinsic.

I think all the things Sam has been doing around the house are great. Sure, he can make his bed! One thing I had to get over with Hannah folding laundry is, it's not perfect and it may not be exactly how I'd do it. But who cares if she doesn't fold the towels in thirds? ;) At this age, they do the best they can.

Carrie said...

Rachel, thanks for tagging me! I just posted my 8 things--it was fun.

Mindee, thanks for your input! That's one thing I need to work with the kids on--putting toys away when they are finished with them. :) Something I need to work on myself, actually! (Not toys, but "stuff." :))

You also made a very good point about just letting the kids do the best they can at their age--not expecting perfection. Very important! :)