Monday, June 11, 2007

Indentured Servitude, I Mean, Instilling A Sense of Personal Responsibility

I've been on a mini-campaign to institute some chore assignments around here. I want my kids to be self-sufficient -- to know how to perform basic household tasks, to be able to care for themselves and their household someday. And I want them to participate in the running of this particular household so that they do not become one of THOSE kids; you know, the ones who think their parents exist solely to cater to their every need. I've seen one too many of those, and it isn't pretty.

In some ways, it's simply easier to do everything myself, what with the endless nagging encouragement and the re-doing of assigned tasks that seem to go along with transforming the kids from the titled class to working stiffs.

Still, I think it's worth the effort. Here's the current chore list. Trust me, it's nothing terribly taxing -- it mostly consists of efforts to get them to clean up after themselves: making their beds, putting their clothes in the hamper each night, putting their plates and cups in the sink (I'm gearing up for a dishwasher-loading tutorial), setting the table, helping me put clothes in the washer and dryer, folding washcloths and hand towels, watering the flowers, wiping up spills (mostly Sean, because Allie's a little too uncoordinated to pour her own milk), and cleaning up their toys. Of all these, picking up their toys is met with by far the most resistance. And some days I am extremely disinclined to either supervise and cajole them or to clean them up myself. So we're still stepping gingerly over the toy-strewn floor surfaces every day.

Toys notwithstanding, I think it's working. Just this morning, Sean told me, proudly, that he made his bed without my asking him to.

As they get older, I'm looking forward to introducing them to the fine arts of dusting and vacuuming and laundry and bathroom cleaning and sweeping and mopping.... Heck, it'll be almost like getting a live-in cleaning crew.