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Chores - what is reasonable to expect?

(15 Posts)
Lorenz Mon 27-Jun-11 12:49:43

So far, my kids do nothing other than begrudgingly pick up rubbish off their bedroom floor when I notice it and have a moan at them. They do NO chores whatsoever.

Soon I'll be starting Uni full time, I'm a single parent so they're going to have to pull their weight.

So what is reasonable to expect of an 11 and 13 year old?

I'm thinking of having a rota - something like

Monday - DS1 - wash up and dry
- DS2 - hoover downstairs and put recyling out.

Tuesday - DS2 - wash up and dry
- DS1 hoover downstairs and put recyling out.

and so on - I'm hoping they can cover the washing up and hoovering as well occasionally putting washing out/bringing washing in and god forbid, actually put a cycle of washing ON.

Am I expecting too much? I don't want to slave drive them but I want them to pull their weight and learn about responsibility.

nickelbabe Mon 27-Jun-11 12:52:50

I'm hoping that by the time my children are that age that I won't have to do any housework at all wink

seriously, though, keeping their own rooms clean and tidy should go without reward, because that's a given.

but they should be washing pots, changing the bin, hoovering, sorting out washing, taking it out and hanging it to dry, recycling etc.
I don't know if the hoovering needs to be done every day, though, does it?

I think at 11 and 13, they're perfectly capable of doing most household chores, so maybe you can get them involved when you do a proper clean, like the floors and the bthroom? (all do it together, I mean)

but a rota is definitely a good idea, because then they can't say "i didn't know i was supposed to"

LaurieFairyCake Mon 27-Jun-11 12:54:07

Depends how attached you are to your plates or having everything done well. grin

Dd (13) irons her own clothes, waters the plants, tidies her room, makes sure all her washing is in the basket, vacs her bedroom.

If she doesn't have homework then she helps me with what I'm doing - preparing dinner or doing the allotment.

I don't have her doing things I need doing well, like hoovering the house - dh does that.

clam Mon 27-Jun-11 13:11:42

Mine are a bit gung-ho with loading the dishwasher - few chipped plates and glasses here and there but that's the glory of IKEA. Cheap replacements.

I had to grit my teeth in the early days, like when I saw DD stacking the mugs the right way up (or the wrong way, depending on your view point) and I knew I could get twice as much in, but we've improved and it's such a luxury to call home on my way back and say "can one of you sort the dishwasher and the other clear the hall before I get back." And they do.

Very good at making tea and pouring wine too. Almost glad I had 'em!

BusyBodd Mon 27-Jun-11 13:24:52

Ours have always helped out and by the time DS was about 12 or 13 he was learning to tidy the kitchen and stack the dishwasher after I had cooked a meal. DD is 4 years younger and at the same time her job was to clear the table and wipe it. The other 'rule' is that the one who cooks doesn't clear up so they both cook meals as well. We used to have a session on Sunday night with a planner working out who was where and what lifts were needed, and who would cook which nights, this meant that I sometimes only cook once a week because DH takes a turn too.

I work so we have a cleaner but if extras need doing I ask and they get done. We have never paid for this nor is it connected with pocket money. We say that you do jobs because you're part of the family team and the jobs need to be done, and you get pocket money because you're part of the family too. I've seen too many other parents having to negotiate a price for jobs that need to be done and children having an expectation that they can demand money for everything and I think it gives them a sense of entitlement that isn't healthy. We do pay for jobs that we regard as extras, e.g. washing the car, doing my ironing (I only iron my and DH's clothes, the offspring do their own...or not!) or mowing the lawn. We see this as a way of letting them have a bit of extra cash but understanding that money comes from work and doesn't just appear from nowhere. DS hasn't learned this one too well, but DD is happy to do a pile of ironing for a fiver.

Maryz Mon 27-Jun-11 13:26:20

Why not sit down with them and make a written list of chores that have to be done. See what they come up with. So obviously cooking, washing up, bins, maybe even cleaning loos will be essential in their book, whereas hoovering and dusting may not.

When you have a full list, then begin (again with them) to allocate duties to them and to you. That way they see that you are all doing things for all of you, not them doing things for you, iyswim.

You can volunteer for the nasties (like loo cleaning), in return for them doing some nasties (like bins).

You can volunteer to cook, if they clear up.

Any objections, you can ask them which of your jobs they would like to do instead.

I think by doing this they realise that you are effectively dividing up chores, rather than allocating them, and for teenagers that makes a lot more sense.

Having sorted out who does what, make a list, laminate it, and tick off when it is done/not done. Have another meeting in a month to see how it is going.

You have to remember though, that daily cleaning of bedrooms for example, will not be seen as essential. Having allocated jobs, you then have to back off and let non-allocated things go.

I would also recommend giving them one day a week (maybe Sunday) off, just for goodwill grin.

BusyBodd Mon 27-Jun-11 13:28:02

Oh, and another thing...if you really want them to learn to help and do jobs properly you have to let them do it badly for a while without nagging. There's no way they will do it to your standard or in the neat efficient way you have developed from doing it for the last 10 years, but if you tell them what the end result should be, and allow some leeway, then leave them to it, they will eventually learn to do it well, and you'll have avoided stress and arguments.

GetOrf Mon 27-Jun-11 13:30:13

DD does as much housework as I do.

She
cleans the bathrooms every day (not the loos, she will not touch them)
Takes turn in doing the dishes with me and DP
Hoovers whole house and mops it twice a week
Cleans 2 cars every weekend
Polishes the firniture in the sitting room once or twice a week.
Cooks once or twice a week.

She lives in a midden in her own room, I get her to gut it every so often.

She is 15. If she does a job badly, or doesn't do it at all, her allowance would be curtailed.

BusyBodd Mon 27-Jun-11 13:30:34

And a P.s. to the OP - this all started because I was going to Uni at the age of 41 and I needed them to pull their weight. I got my degree and then a job and that's how I'm paying the cleaner, and for the ironing smile so best of luck to you. Your children will be so proud of you when you get through it - mine were.

Nell799 Mon 27-Jun-11 13:41:50

DSS 15 and 17 (14 and 16 until a few weeks ago ) clean their bedrooms and bathroom on a Sunday before the computers go on . Throughout the week they will empty and stack dishwasher , and do the dishes when asked . They will always clean up after making a snack . Make beds , fed their pets.

They have been doing this from about 12 and 14 , but we do have to remind them constantly and it can be very trying !

DSS 17 has finished college until next term , and only has two part time shifts of work a week , so to avoid him doing nothing for the next couple of months we are drawing up a daily chore list , empty and fill dishwasher , make sure draining board cleared of pots and wiped down . Plus he will get one or two bigger jobs , such as do windows a week . DSS 15 will also have something like polish and vacuum once a week when school is out . They will be left to lay in , and don't have big tasks every day .

mumblechum1 Mon 27-Jun-11 13:46:10

My ds has previously only been expected tohaul logs and coal in during winter, but as he's just finished GCSEs last week he has a rota:

Every day, clean kitchen.
Every day, do one other thing, eg hoover ground floor, Or clean his bathroom OR sort laundry into ironing /non ironing etc.

I reckon it's about one hour a day if he gets his finger out.

(this is the kid who phoned me today to ask where we keep the washing up liquid).

Lorenz Mon 27-Jun-11 15:43:06

Thanks for the replies - I recognise the frustration in seeing a job done badly and having to bite your tongue! leaving bits of food on plates has me seething but as someone has said, you have to remember they're starting to learn something we have been practising for god knows how many years so only fair to cut them some slack.

I like the idea of including me on the rota. See on my days off I'm happy doing everything, I just don't want to be coming in from a 12 hour shift to mucky pots, manky carpets and a pile of washing grin

Plus - in 20 years time I don't want future Daughter-In-Law complaining on mumsnet that her husband won't lift a finger around the house grin

((must say, I'm very jealous of those of you who's kids have their own bathrooms!! can I come and live with you??))

mumblechum1 Mon 27-Jun-11 18:05:06

I got told off when I got home from work for dropping toast crumbs on his nice clean floor.grin

faintpositive Mon 27-Jun-11 18:11:41

mine is 7.
he puts out the rubbish, sorting the recycling bits & bats.
brings his laundry bag down on a Friday
makes his bed every day
empties the dishwasher every day.

We give him £5 on a Friday as he collects them daft football cards and is saving for spends on our holiday.

Want to ensure he is self sufficient, not a slob and that he makes someone a lovely husband one day grin
He will learn in this house, that every one pulls thier own weight and that no one is here to pick up after any one else.

fact.

We sat dwon and discussed this with him before starting it, let hime decide what he was willing to do for his £5 per week. Because he was included, he was more willing.

Keirasmummy09 Thu 30-Jun-11 01:29:10

i am 18, nearly 19 and was expected to do a lot more chores than you are describing there when i lived at home. I was responsible for keeping my room tidy, cleaning the bathroom and taking my turn at cleaning the kitchen as well as doing my own laundry, all by the time i was 14yo. And as much as i hated it and yes, complained and sulked (because heavens forbid i realised any of this was actually making both my and my mums life easier), i am extreamly grateful now that i had to do that. Not only has it taught me the responsibility of keeping my own house clean and helped me carry on doing that now i have moved out, but now i can see how much it helped my mum to have me do it myself. i guess as teens we dont really realise that a) this has a knock on effect later in life when we move out and b) our parents dont ask us to do these things out of cruelty but because sometimes they genuinely need a hand.. so i dont think you should worry too much about asking them to help a bit more, it wont harm them!! Best of luck smile

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