Friday, March 2, 2012

Happy Children

As a lot of you may already know. I have 4 kids and I work part time, and yes I do have my crazy moments! I have a lot of good times and then simple things like when my son accidentally dropped the cereal box the other day, I went off!! Not that he did anything wrong, it was just the tip of my ice berg! I did smooth that over and I am lucky that my kids are still at a good age where they forgive me within reasonable time;)  I have to work hard though, to keep my household in order so that not only do my kids stay happy, but I need to be happy to. Most mums know, I am sure, that if you aren't happy or feel good about things, that that has a rippling affect throughout the rest of the family.

This year I decided that one way that I know that will make me happy is if  my kids helped me with chores every single day. They haven't been the best helpers in the past, and that is partly my fault. When I was a kid, I was making my own school lunch when I was in year 3 onwards and I was doing chores when I was at least 10. I remember clearly that I was doing the vacuuming because I chose it. I saw something absolutely fascination with vacuuming, maybe it was because it was a machine and it seemed like the job could be done so quickly. But I think I got bored by the end of the week and the fun that I thought would last for ever was over. Then it became a 'chore'!! I then went to dusting which again, I didn't like but did it for a couple of years. I then asked my mum for a change and after all the 'baggsing' carrying on with my brothers and sisters (I had 2 brothers and 2 sisters), kinda like playing Billionaire sometimes! I was left with hanging out clothes, taking them off, and folding them.In addition to this I would have to wash dishes one day a week and also cook one day a week. By the time this last chore came about, my mum was going to school, so we really needed to help her out. I do believe I was hanging out clothes, taking them off, and folding them until the day before I got married!!! The cooking part was fun for me and I think I cooked more than one day a week, because it wasn't a chore for me and it gave me many opportunities to make things that I had seen on TV or in cook books. Washing the dishes, kept going because we never go a dishwasher! Can you believe, 7 people in a busy household with no dishwasher?!!

The point I am making, is that I grew up doing chores and so I was fairly disappointed with myself, that I was not getting my kids to do chores too. The conditions were the same; reasonably big family, both parents working, and mum going crazy trying to work out how she was going to keep up with it all. So my kids though they weren't happy that I had keyed into this revelation, did come on board and have been doing their jobs each day and helping me out. It makes such a difference to me, knowing that I don't have to do as many jobs when I get home and the house can be kept in a reasonably respectable fashion. I am also proud of my children for stepping up and taking on the chores with a reasonably good attitude and I think they get an idea of why I get grumpy. I have also noticed them saying things like, " Can you take your dishes to the sink please"!

In return for my kids helping me out,I felt I wanted to reward them in some way. I didn't want to give them pocket money, as I have been down that road before and in our family, it got ugly! I thought about other ways to reward but then I thought I would just ask them and see what kind of things that would like. Surprisingly, they really just wanted me to read them more stories! I used to do this quite a lot when they were younger but for some reason, I can't really pin point, did it less and less. I am an enthusiastic reader. I love to read aloud, because I love to put expression in the words and different voices to the characters and really bring the book to life for my children. So now, I read to them and I am so surprised at how this makes a difference to them and to the way we interact as a family. It really means a lot to them that I sit with them and spend that time with them.Last night, I read to my daughter, who is 10.5years old until she fell asleep, it was such a lovely feeling.

I highly recommend parents read to their children, of any age. If you don't want to or can't read to them in the way that I do, it doesn't matter at all. I think kids just love that closeness of sitting with you and listening to you read to 'them'. Its an easy exercise, that costs nothing and its something the your children will cherish forever and it will keep them HAPPY, at least for a little while!! If your children enjoy this time with you, you can also use this as your leverage when they aren't behaving well or threatening that they won't do their jobs. For now, it works. I am sure there will come a time that I will need to be more creative, but I will be happy with what I have for now!!!


make it perfect said...

Hello - just answering your question about my Salt Water sandals here...sorry! In Australia they are $85 - I bought mine from the US, but couldn't find anywhere that would ship to Australia so had to have them shipped to a friend in the US first and then she posted to me. They were only $35 in the US!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I came across your blog while researching thermal cooking machines (and have been quite entertained by the comments!!)
Reading this post made me laugh a bit bc I too, am one of 5 kids who had to do chores as a child (I chose dusting initially then moved on to bathrooms and as I got older, around 14yo I was cooking also a few times a week). Both my parents worked long hours and I was making my own lunches by grade 4. I too have tried chores for my 4 kids but it never lasts, and they always refer to pocket money (but seriously who carries cash these days?!)
Just last week my 10.5yo son asked if I could start reading out loud to them again bc I too have stopped reading to them. Not sure how or when this happened. I am wanting to return to study next year and this post (as are a lot of others) has been great to read. Thank you

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