Thursday, August 6, 2009

Chores In-Training

We had househelp 24/7 when I was growing up in Brunei, the Muslim country in South East Asia where I spent the first 12 years of my life. Both my parents worked outside the home so having a housekeeper made life easier for us. Having househelp wasn't exactly a luxury. It was a way of life - very common in Brunei and in the Philippines.

Even with househelp, I was still asked to do some chores. Back then, I may not have truly appreciated the fact that I was still put to work. Today, I look back and I'm glad I did my share when asked. Even with chores, I know I did not miss out on play time.

Some chores I remember doing:

1. Sweeping the floor with a conventional broom, not a Shark cordless sweeper like I use today.
2. Mopping the floor with a conventional mop and bucket filled with cleaning solution, not like the electric Bissell steam mop like I use today.
3. Taking out the trash.
4. Setting the table for dinner.
5. Hanging wet clothes on the outdoor clothesline to dry and taking them in when they were dry. We didn't have a washer and dryer, but our househelp did all the laundry (by hand) and ironing.
6. Washing dishes. We didn't have a dishwasher.
7. Raking fallen leaves into a pile in the backyard. The pile was then burned.
8. Picking up my toys and putting them away when I was done playing.
9. Taking care of my cat.

I want to teach Matthew the value of hard work and responsibility through chores. If I see that he is perfectly capable of folding laundry or loading the dishwasher or making his bed when he's older, then I will teach him how to do it. Having Down syndrome will not excuse him from ability-appropriate chores. He's in-training already.

Garage Door
He used to be scared of our loud garage door. These days, he takes pleasure in pressing the button that opens and closes the garage door. It reinforces the concept of cause and effect and develops pointing skills. Our garage door button is narrow and small so he has to isolate his index finger (for pointing) to press the button. This "3rd hand option" is also very handy when I have him on one arm and grocery bags in my other hand.
closing the garage door

He can push the laundry basket from the laundry room to the living room for me to fold and put away. To him, it's just another push toy. To me, it's a great way to develop muscle strength in his arms, back, and legs. Most times, he won't want to stop pushing the laundry basket around and will be quite annoyed if I make him stop or go the opposite direction of where he wants to go.

He helps close the dishwasher door when I'm done loading or unloading it. He loves to stand by me and watch. I usually let him have his toddler spoons to try to put into the dishwasher too. At times, he just enjoys "making music" with the pots and pans that are in the dishwasher.
doing dishes

Glass Door
He also has a special way to clean the sliding glass door. We didn't need Windex for this chore. Of course, I'm kidding! He was 17 months old in this photo and he just learned to pull up against the sliding glass door. The glass door was cold and probably felt interesting on his tongue.
glass door cleaner

Everyone has their own parenting style and viewpoint on chores. Ideally, I would want Matthew to be responsible for a few house chores when he's older, maybe have a shortlist, but also be able to balance chores with play time. Realistically, my "plan" may change as the rubber hits the road. If I'm still blogging when that time comes, I'm sure you'll be reading all about it.

Do your kids help with house chores? When did they start? Got any tips on getting them started, reward systems, etc?


Unknown said...

I still use a regular old broom! Oh, and most often, get on hands and knees to scrub the floor!

Carly loves to help. She helps with every aspect of laundry. In fact, I think one of her favorite things to do, is fold clothes.

Unknown said...

I love how his cleaning the window. I think all kids enjoy that at one point.

Lori said...

That's awesome, especially the window cleaning chore!! That one cracked me up! Love it!!

My daughter loves to help me around the house and is MUCH better about chores than her brothers ever were! She is not yet 8 so still mostly still "helps" me, but it's a regular part of her routine so she is learning to make chores a part of her day. We start by making beds, and she helps with laundry, dusting, dishes, anything I do, she wants to do to0.

The Hapa Girl said...

Ria, those pictures are great and funny!

Chores are such a battle these days! It's so good you are starting early, because I feel like I started too late with Katie my she thinks everyone but her should pick up! I'm not too hard on them, but maybe I should make them work a little harder.

I hope Matthew helps you! do you like the shark? I still have a broom and mop. Maybe I should upgrade?

Maybe you should blog about that!

RK said...

Household chores were a part of life for me growing up, and I think they are very important. Braska already is learning that she is responsible for some things, like keeping her toys picked up in her room and in the living room. Anything she gets out of drawers or off shelves must be returned by her. We are trying to teach her that she must pick up after herself.

Before bed each night, she has clean-up time and she puts her toys away and returns her shoes to the right place, etc. It takes a while at this point, but she knows what she's supposed to do and she cooperates pretty well. Obviously, we still assist a little, but for the most part, she does it on her own.

I fully expect her to participate in the daily upkeep of the house just like I expect her little sister to do so. They'll have laundry to do and dishes to wash, beds to make and floors to sweep. But I have no doubt they'll still have plenty of time to "socialize" as well. The goal is to have them be able to keep a house completely and take care of themselves by the time they leave this one! :)

McTriplet Mommy said...

h my goodness - I've forgotten everything you said after I saw that picture of Matthew pressed against the glass window. What adoll! :)

The boys have adequate "chores".... when it is "your day" - you get out the silverware for each meal, get the mail, load the dishwasher and whatever else Dad and Mom ask. Each boy, every day cleans their breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes and puts away dirth clothes and shoes. I think it is important to have things they're responsible for - but to let them be kids. :)


Beverly said...

love that last photo, so funny! Noah is a great helper around here.

Brandie said...

Love the pictures1 I don't remember when our kids started doing chores. It was just always expected that they would do their share. My two oldest are 10 & 7. They feed and water the chickens and cat, can empty the dishwasher, put their dirty dishes in the dishwasher, take their dirty laundry to the basement, fold and put away their clean clothes, sweep the kitchen, dust, and vaccuum, wipe down the bathroom sinks, scrub the tub, and clean the toilets! They are not responsible for these all the time. I do what I can and they pick up the slack. When I had bad morning sickness the girls did a lot, but now mostly just feeding the animals and doing their laundry. They've set pretty high standards for Goldie to live up to!

Michelle said...

I love that last picture!

Kayla does help out around the house, but not with rewards or a chore chart or anything like that, yet. I'm not organized for that!

She loves helping to put clothes in the washer, transferring them to the dryer, and then from the dryer to the basket. She likes to have a wipe and goes around 'cleaning' everything. She brings her plate and cup to the sink counter when she's done eating. She gets and puts away her shoes. She cleans up her toys. When I think about it, if she's in the room when I'm putting away clothes I give her clothes to put away and she knows which drawer to put her underwear and socks and pjs. I'm sure there are more things she does, I just can't think of them right now! :)