How to make dcs responsible for more without making it feel like a bad thing for them?

(74 Posts)
YoureBeingASillyBilly Mon 30-Dec-13 16:46:46

Its long overdue and i hold my hands up and know i am entiry to blame for not dojng it all from the start but i decided that with the new year, as part of an entire life overhaul for me, this is one issue i want to finally deal with. This thread has been prompted by ds(8) whining that he is unable to put cereal and milk in a bowl for himself hmm (he can, he does it without thinking if he gets up before me).

So these are the things i would like my dcs to do. They are 8 and 4.

Make own beds, open curtains and window
Fold pjs an put under pillow
Bring dirty laundry down to wash basket
Get own breakfast things out in morning
Make 1 evening meal each per week (with 100% supervison from me and assistance where necessary)
Be involved in the weekly meal plan without everything having to be sausage and chips!
Put washing in machine and load powder/softener and turn on
Put clean laundry away
Check uniforms for dirty marks needing spotwashed
Spotwash dirty marks
Wash dishes after evening meals
Dust and hoover rooms once a week
Other random chores like emptying bins, changing loo roll holders, topping up dogs water as and when required.

It looks a lot but i dont think any of it is beyond their capabilities. Is it? Happy to be told i'm dreaming here grin

If all that is ok, how do i get them doing these things without them whingeing about it or feeling like theyre having to do something thats not their responsibility. If that makes sense?

IDoBelieveInFairiesIDoIDo Mon 30-Dec-13 16:51:40

I, personally, think that is way too much. Particularly for the 4 year old. I was on board til you said make an evening meal each once a week!

Why so prescriptive? Make beds, out their own shoes away, put dirty washing away - yes, yes, yes and it just becomes part of life rather than a job but make a meal? At 8 and 4?
I'd be more inclined to ask them to set the table while they tell me about their day or dry the dishes while I wash up.

Weelady77 Mon 30-Dec-13 16:59:07

Wow that's an awful lot for small kids to do!! Especially if they haven't done anything before, think you need to do baby steps like put toys away, make there beds,put dirty clothes in basket etc,
My oldest 2 are 15 and 18 and it's only been in the last 6 months that I have got them doing there own ironing changing there own beds (I strip them so they need to do it) put dirty clothes in basket,occasionally wash and dry dishes!
My 8 year old fold pjs and put toys away my aim this year is to get her to shower herself by herself!

YoureBeingASillyBilly Mon 30-Dec-13 16:59:40

Well lets be honest it will be me making the meal using their hands to put the things together. I wont be having them study delia's cook book for ideas and expecting 3 course meals. I'm thinking simpe things like pasta.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Mon 30-Dec-13 17:01:56

Weelady what you deacribe is exactly what i am trying to avoid. Teens who dont even put their own washing in the basket. I see thread after thread on here about teens, adult dc or partners who do naff all and leave it to the mothe of the house.

Weelady77 Mon 30-Dec-13 17:04:24

It's easier if I do it lol

YoureBeingASillyBilly Mon 30-Dec-13 17:08:22

Exactly- and it will always be easier if you (or I- as currently i am the same) do it and then you realise you are the only one doing anything for a house full of perfectly capable adults or almost adults.

minipie Mon 30-Dec-13 17:09:23

That sounds like way too much to me as well OP. Of your list, here's what I think they could do:

Make own beds, open curtains and window - yes 8 yr old. 4 yr old could do bed, but curtains and window may be difficult unless very tall 4 yr old. I assume make beds means pull the covers straight rather than changing sheets.
Fold pjs an put under pillow - yes 8 and 4 yr old
Bring dirty laundry down to wash basket - yes 8 and 4 yr old
Get own breakfast things out in morning - yes 8 yr old, maybe 4 yr old
Make 1 evening meal each per week (with 100% supervison from me and assistance where necessary) - no, unless they enjoy it
Be involved in the weekly meal plan without everything having to be sausage and chips! - maybe the 8 yr old but you'll just get his favourites suggested I'm sure.
Put washing in machine and load powder/softener and turn on - no way would I expect or allow 8 or 4 yr old to do this. disaster waiting to happen
Put clean laundry away - yes 8 yr old, no 4 yr old
Check uniforms for dirty marks needing spotwashed - no, I wouldn't trust 8 or 4 yr old to check properly
Spotwash dirty marks - definitely no way!
Wash dishes after evening meals - 8 yr old can help but not do it all by himself
Dust and hoover rooms once a week - no
Other random chores like emptying bins, changing loo roll holders, topping up dogs water as and when required. - yes (assume you mean waste paper baskets not main kitchen bin)

YoureBeingASillyBilly Mon 30-Dec-13 17:13:12

Yes kitchen bin.

This would all be happening with me right there in the room. I wouldnt be leaving them to it and washing my hands of those jobs.

IDoBelieveInFairiesIDoIDo Mon 30-Dec-13 17:15:07

I don't think there is anything wrong with your aim. I also don't want teens who can't do anything but I'd start small and work upwards with the 8 year old having more responsibility and perks.

Maybe they dust their rooms while you Hoover? You load the machine and they put powder in etc?

MellowAutumn Mon 30-Dec-13 17:19:38

Dont try and introduce all together- Start with the morning bedroom tasks and make it a routine that you supervise for a while and do for at least a month till its second nature before you introduce anything else. Also make sure you get them up in time so they can do it without being harassed by you to hurry up - also realise that at their ages it will not be done to your standards but that's ok. The random tasks are too much of a stretch as you are asking for adult levels of awareness, much better just to have on job each that they do at a set time each day - ie oldest feeds and waters dog in morning and eve - 4 year old helps you empty bins on a Saturday or something similar.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Mon 30-Dec-13 17:20:48

Yes good idea about the perks of having more responsibility. I was thinking of a tick chart for the make bed, fold pjs stuff, along with brush teeth and check school bag so these things become just another morning habit rather than chores.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Mon 30-Dec-13 17:22:59

The random tasks, i was meaning if i ask them to feed dog or chane loo roll ( and then hope that as time goes on they will feel ownership of these jobs and do when they notice) but good idea about having one set task a day like feeding dog for 8 year old.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Mon 30-Dec-13 17:25:00

I dont have high standards btw grin so there would be no issue if jobs not done perfectly. Quick swish on windowsill and bedside table with microfibre cloth type of thing.

addictedtosugar Mon 30-Dec-13 17:38:43

4 and 2 here.
4 yr old can make a bed after a fashion. 2 yr old thinks in involves making sure all his teddies are in there.
Put things in the bin, yes. Empty a bin, no - they can't unlock the back door, or open the wheelie bin.
Put dirty clothes in washing basket, yes, both.
clear floor before bed, yes both.
Help sort dry washing and put theirs in their own wardrobe, yes. Both.
Feed cat - 4.
put new loo roll in - both
help me cook, yes (peel carrots, mix cake / biscuits etc)
Help choose meals , veg etc yes. meal plan- we don't as a household. Choose and help cook puddings.
Hoover. well, they both enjoy it, but I wouldn't say the floor is clean afterwards!
Take plates to dishwasher after eating, both.

There are one or two things on your list I'm not sure about, but think the sentiment is right. Start small, and see where it goes.
Its likely to take longer than just doing it your self.Saves me doing them after bed time, so is a time saving of sorts and means I don't have to play octonauts snap again

3bunnies Mon 30-Dec-13 17:40:54

We are working towards more independence - our dc are 8, 6 & 4. We started with taking plates out but made it age dependent, so dd1 started when she started school and we realised that if she could clear her plate at school she could do it at home. dd2 was only 2.5 so she was 'too young'. We promised her that she could when she turned 4. She was so happy when she was finally old enough to take her plate out. Ds is now pleased to have graduated to that stage just need to work on dh .

With food we tend to do it as a holiday thing - so they take it in turns to help an adult while we are camping, they choose the meal, go shopping with the adult and then cook together.

Dd1 can now make hot chocolate unsupervised using the microwave and enjoys the power it gives her. Dd2 is now begging to do the same. She has also started baking cakes which they have in lunch bags.

For clothes I have started to get them to look at their uniform each night and decide whether it needs a wash. I might wait a bit longer before letting them loose on the washing machine.

I would say take it slowly - see your list as a goal for yr 6. Introduce things with your oldest first, wait until he is confident before extending to your youngest (except the room tidying and help cooking). Nothing like being told that you aren't old enough to make a younger sibling want to do something!

3bunnies Mon 30-Dec-13 17:55:41

Just asked my lot if anyone wanted to help empty bins & recycling - either I have spontaneously sprouted a second head and antennae or that is a step too far for them! Cross bins off the list for the time being!

YoureBeingASillyBilly Mon 30-Dec-13 17:56:20

Ok so start small with the morning stuff and make it a 'reward' (won by getting older grin) yes i can see why that will work.

Hadnt thought about not being able to reach wheelie bin. 8 year old can but not to lift black bin liner in. Maybe just et him to do bedroom and bathroom baskets weekly.

noblegiraffe Mon 30-Dec-13 17:56:41

I don't have an 8 year old, but I think you should have separate lists of what the 8 year old and 4 year old are expected to do. E.g. The 8 year old might be able to put a wash on, but I think it's too much for a 4 year old. I'd do cooking with the 8 year old. The 4 year old can take care of their room, but I don't think they are big/strong enough to do the kitchen bin.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Mon 30-Dec-13 17:59:37

3bunnies your mistake was asking if they wanted to grin

YoureBeingASillyBilly Mon 30-Dec-13 18:03:11

Noble i had thought of having separate lists but i am having problems with jealousy from ds1 and am trying very hard to be as fair as i can to both. I wouldnt want him to think he has been given more 'work' than ds2 because he is older. I think i'll give them the same jobs but more of my involvement with ds2.

PowderMum Mon 30-Dec-13 18:09:37

As a mother of 2 able teenagers I think your list is a bit over the top.

We have always worked as a team here and as I work full time in the evenings the jobs would be shared and appropriate, so laying table, putting toys away etc. proper chores like your list started when they went to secondary at 11

They each have fixed chores when they get home, one feeds cat and closes curtains or opens windows depending on time if year. Other empties dishwasher and restacks with breakfast things

From your list
Make own beds, open curtains and window - yes from a young age, although I'm not that hung up on beds being made.
Fold pjs an put under pillow - we don't bother
Bring dirty laundry down to wash basket - have always taken off clothes and put in was bin
Get own breakfast things out in morning - started when I felt they could manage the milk, around 6 I think.
Make 1 evening meal each per week (with 100% supervison from me and assistance where necessary) - no I did the cooking they did other jobs and homework, however I have taught them both how to cook, even now they only cook for the family about once a month.
Be involved in the weekly meal plan without everything having to be sausage and chips! - I've always menu planned and included favourites or asked for input, to be fair most of the time they are happy itch what is chosen.
Put washing in machine and load powder/softener and turn on - only once at secondary school
Put clean laundry away - they helped when younger but didn't really do this until they were at secondary school
Check uniforms for dirty marks needing spotwashed - don't do this
Spotwash dirty marks
Wash dishes after evening meals - no they learnt how to scrape plates and put in dishwasher, once tall enough they helped occasionally with the washing up.
Dust and hoover rooms once a week - need to be big enough to use Hoover properly.
Other random chores like emptying bins, changing loo roll holders, topping up dogs water as and when required. Will do all of these if asked, and sometimes spontaneously.

noblegiraffe Mon 30-Dec-13 18:12:51

If you were being fair, the 4 year old wouldn't be doing anything till he was 8! I think you are going to run into trouble if you let the 8 year old insist that the 4 year old is treated the same as him. The 8 year old should have more responsibility.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Mon 30-Dec-13 18:18:24

You have a good point noble, so how do i sell more responsibility to ds1 as if its a good thing and not work that ds2 doesnt 'have' to do.

The hoover is a small cylinder and very easy to use. 4 year old has used it quite a few times.

Bonsoir Mon 30-Dec-13 18:25:43

I think your list is a little ambitious smile.

My feeling, FWIW, is that it is easiest to get DC to take care of themselves in the first instance, rather than ask them to take responsibility for collective household chores. So - yes to opening curtains, windows (providing there isn't a dangerous drop), making beds, tidying own bedroom, dusting and vaccuuming own room etc. No to making meals and doing laundry, which are collective tasks.

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