Hello Folks. Well as you have noticed, it is Friday and that now means it is Stay At Home Dad Friday! from now on, I will have Friday posts just pertaining to Stay At Home Dad Stuff. (If you didn’t catch the stylish acronym, SAHD is Stay at Home Dad. It is also like “sad” which I may have to address later.)
Today, I want to look at how you divide up household duties to your kids based on their ages. This is something that my wife and I are currently working on. As may or may not be known, I have a 9 year old who is almost 10, a 7 year old and a 4 year old. As of this writing, on 6/25 we are 10 days away from #4.
Our dilemma has been how much do we expect or how much should we expect from each kid. Our 9 year old is wanting more and more responsibility and we are giving it to her. She is old enough now to do thing like load the dishwasher or even mow the lawn. The interesting thing, We haven’t had her doing much up until now so how much can we expect before a revolt?
So far it has been ok. She cleans a bit more, and has a few more chores, and she does fine. When the new baby comes I suspect that she will step up on her own and help to clean and take care of the baby. Recently we raised her allowance to compensate for that. I think she is ok.
Now for the 7 year old. For the longest time, we had an inflated idea of what he could handle. At 6, we actually had to scale back his chores slightly. We found out that he could handle putting his clothes away but hanging up his shirts was a bit much. We would try and try and yell and threaten to get him to hang up his clothes but it was just too much for him to handle. We took that part out of his chores and he does very well. Now, he voluntarily hangs up most of his clothes, because he can handle it now.
Likewise, the kids have been required to set and clear the table for dinner for a few years now. One would set while the other would clear after dinner. We are about ready to get the 4 year old involved with that. Anyway, My son (the 7 year old) could clear the table but had a hard time wiping the placemats. We took that out of his chores and he does much better. Now he will wipe some of the table.
As for the 4 year old, her chores are cleaning up her room. Just picking up her papers, shoes and a few toys. She has a hard time some days.
Now, the biggest thing I have noticed with all of the kids is distraction. They all get distracted. They have small attention spans and are distracted by shiny or flashy things. How do you get beyond that? You have to observe your kids. pay attention to what they can do. Pay attention to what they like. My son has always been fascinated with wheels. He was 1year old and would hang over the side of the stroller to watch the wheels go around.
We used that in a bunch of learning games, trucks and wheels would get him to focus. All in all that is what you have to figure out. What works with your kids. The hard part is not expecting all of them to be the same. I have had a very hard time not holding the younger kids to the same benchmarks as the older one. It is a continuous up and down observational period.
I think the biggest thing that you can do is to watch what works for the kids. Watch what they do and what they can do. Give them chores that seem appropriate and then add or subtract as they work. You ultimately want to create a balance in what you assign them and what they can actually complete. There is no simple formula. There is no magic chart. If there were, I would make a million dollars from it. As it is, you just have to take my advice from experience.
Spend time with your kids. Learn about them. Give them opportunites to grow and feed their passions. You may be surprised at what you end up with.
More next week!