Your children can do chores

This is a post draft from 2012.  All that it had was the heading– your children can do chores.

I’m not sure if this was a result of mommy bloggers complaining about waiting on their kids, or if it was just a reminder to myself that kids are often more competent than one realizes.  They start out so little and then grow so quickly.  So you forget to let to let them try things like putting on their own shirts.

Now, in 2022, we’re all at the age (#teen/#preteen) where they want to help less and it would be less effort to put their dirty dishes/socks away or to take their laundry out of the dryer rather than nagging them to do it themselves.  But also DC1 is going to college next year and needs to not be a horrible roommate/dorm person.

I worry especially for boy children– some of them seem to be able to skate through life with mommy waiting on them and then replace mommy with girlfriends and eventual wives.  Some of them never learn to take care of their crap and that’s unfair to future women who love them, or at least live with them.  Boys need to get used to doing chores as a service to their future partners.

Did you help out around the house as a kid or was taking care of chores a shock when you were on your own for the first time?

Natural consequences laundry experiment failed

DC1 is going to be off to college in a year or two, so we’ve been trying to give some additional responsibility so zie isn’t helpless when zie moves away.

One of the things we want hir to be able to do is laundry on a regular enough basis that zie doesn’t smell bad.

Up to this point, laundry had involved a lot of us nagging and DC1 ignoring and putting off and it being a huge hassle for everyone.

So I announced we were going to try natural consequences.  DH and I would stop nagging about laundry or reminding about it and when the kids ran out of clothing or towels, they would run out.

They ran out of towels first.  DC2 stole some of ours which was annoying.  I’m not sure what DC1 did.  Then DC1 ran out of pants.  Piles of dirty clothing became mountains in DC1’s room around the laundry basket area.  Eventually zie did one load and left 2 additional loads to molder.  DH and I said that was not acceptable and zie had to do it all.  This cycle repeated a couple of times over the course of a couple months, including one time where there was something wet put into the laundry basket.

Eventually it got to be too much and I declared that natural consequences wasn’t working and the new experiment was going to be habit formation in which DC1 does laundry every Saturday morning.  Zie still needs to be reminded, but so far it has been going better.  Especially since we have a rule that if only one person is sorting the dry laundry, they can sort all of the towels to the missing person, and DC2 has math circle on Saturday afternoons.

We’re just going to have to trust that DC1 will do hir laundry when there’s nobody there to remind hir.

Do natural consequences work for you?  How about habit formation?  How does your laundry get done?  What is the secret to other people doing their chores without being asked?