My older son is eight, and I really believe that he is at the age where he can contribute to the family with his "skills." So, what can an eight-year-old do? Plenty!
He is supposed to make his bed in the morning, clean out his lunch bag after school, put away his clothes after they are washed and folded (I am working on getting him to fold his clothes, too), help unpack and put away the groceries from the supermarket, and tidy his room. I think these are reasonable—they are simple tasks that just take a few minutes for him to do, and frees my time up to do other things.
Of course, the corners on the bed he makes aren't square, and the sheet is rarely pulled tightly, but you know what, I've let that go. It's his bed anyway, so I 'm not going to be too picky about the quality of the work. I believe it's the responsibility of having to do chores that is more important than how perfect it turns out. Of course, I am not talking about accepting a slapdash job, but if the effort is honest, I am fine with that—and we can work on improving the result.
Does my son want to do his chores? Definitely not!
I have to remind him EVERY DAY to empty the lunch bag, to make up the bed, etc. Surely he tries to get out of it, but if he doesn't do it, it's not done, because I am not going to do it. I have waited several mornings for him to clean out the lunch bag so I can pack the lunch. I think that is key. If you always pick up the slack, then why would they bother? They have to know that you are sticking to your guns.
Even if you have help at home, I feel that it's important for children to help around the house. Apart from learning to help themselves and learning some basic life skills, doing chores builds a level of responsibility and also helps them feel valued for their contribution to the family. Oh, and I don't pay money for chores. We explain that for our family, each person has an important contribution to make, and helping around the house is just one way to contribute.
I figure if Sasha and Malia Obama have to make their beds, then my kids can certainly do the same!
What do you think? Do your children have household responsibilities? Do you pay them? I would love to get your thoughts! Leave your comments below.