The Chore of Chores

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Chores. Do you ever feel like giving chores is more of a chore for you than for your kid? My boys never got over the need to be nagged to do their chores. We had a checklist*, which helped immensely, but the boys themselves never morphed into creatures that walked in from school and immediately started to empty the trash.

Chores, however, are very important – for several reasons.

ADHD children are, by nature, self-centered. They often lack the ability to feel what someone else is feeling, or think like someone else. So they reckon that if they aren’t upset by the dirty pair of underwear dropped in the living room (don’t ask), then nobody else is upset either. Chores remind a child that they are revolving with the world – not in the center of it.

Chores are a fact of life, and part of parenting is preparing a child for life. Everyone eventually needs to how to make a bed, iron a shirt, mop a floor, and wash the dishes. Two of our boys no longer live at home, and each of them have expressed that they are glad they know how to do such tasks. I quote, “Man. Those guys are so stupid. They don’t even know how to work a washing machine.”

Chores also teach a child to do something he or she hates. Adults do dreaded tasks every day. Giving your child chores prepares them for this grim reality. For example, it requires a lot of self discipline for me to mop the kitchen floor. I don’t mind folding laundry, vacuuming or dusting, and I love to clean out closets. But mopping? I’d rather take the proverbial beating. Nonetheless, mopping has to be done. So, to prepare them for the rigors of adulthood, my boys have to mop quite a lot.

Theoretically, chores give a child a sense of pride in their work, and a feeling of ownership in your home. Quite frankly, my boys disproved this theory. It really does sound good on paper, and probably holds true in your house. Or maybe not.

Finally, chores are great for you because you need the help. Running a house is a cooperative effort, and you are doing yourself and everyone else a disservice if you try to go it alone. Delegate. Divide and conquer. Share the joy. And maybe you’ll never have to mop the kitchen floor again!

I read this post out loud to our youngest, and when I finished he informed me that if he followed my example and taught his children to mop, that he wouldn’t have to learn how now.

Despite his wrangling for the contrary, my boys have chores. I developed some simple charts to use with my guys. They aren’t sophisticated, but they sure helped.

Take a look at My Magnetic Responsibility Chart for 2008 from Melissa and Doug. This very attractive chart was recommended by a reader. Designed for younger children, it’s flexible and easy for non-readers to use. Kids get the pleasure of moving a magnetic piece when a task is accomplished.


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About Kayla

Kayla Fay is a freelance writer and the mother of four boys, three of whom have been formally diagnosed with the inattentive type of ADHD. When she started “Who Put the Ketchup in the Medicine Cabinet?” in 2002, her sons were ages 8 through 14, when her life was a “progression of dirty laundry, lost homework, misunderstood Algebra, and a whole lot of love and fun”.

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