Chores & jobs for your kids

Some people ask me why I had so many children.  I always say “…to get all the chores done, of course”! Teach children to work hard at home, at school and at play then they will work hard in life.

You can’t do it alone!

To get everything done I needed to rely a lot on the children. Order in the home for me was crucial if I wanted to remain sane. I am a perfectionist by nature and needed to rely on the children if I was to maintain a high standard of dignity in the home. Large families generate a lot of work. Therefore, I needed to be efficient and learn to be smart in delegating chores appropriately. Our children would jokingly tell us that the only reason we had so many kids was to get all the jobs done as we couldn’t always afford domestic help!

“The more kids you have, the more help you get and you start outsourcing your responsibilities”.

1. Outsourcing

One of our sons who is the Treasurer of New South Wales in Australia was interviewed by the Financial Review – an Australian newspaper and quoted as saying he learned his politics around the dinner table and learned how to work hard packing lunches by the dozen and polishing shoes in batches of 24. He goes on to say he learned a key part of his political philosophy – outsourcing – from his mother! “The more kids you have, the more help you get and you start outsourcing your responsibilities”.

2. No Job Swapping

The skill of outsourcing did not always end well. With a large pool of siblings their talent for outsourcing became a little too creative for my liking. After chores were allocated they would sometimes talk a younger more naïve brother or sister into swapping jobs opting for an easier alternative. This sometimes resulted in jobs being poorly done, children projecting blame onto a younger sibling and wasted time. In the end we had a NO job swapping policy.

However, children not being perfect and the excitement of deceit lurking they would sometimes end up swapping their jobs anyway. In smaller families I doubt children get as many opportunities to exercise their talents in deception and manipulation!

Keen to learn…little did he know!

3. Finding their Weakness

I must admit deception and manipulation are far from virtuous and over time we realised we needed to develop virtues as well as vices in our children. For example, our children who tended to be impatient we gave them a job of hearing a sibling’s reading or spelling, someone who was not naturally generous – to spend time teaching a brother/sister to play cricket or teach them to swim, someone who didn’t pay attention to details – to set the table or fold the laundry into the correct baskets and so on. In this way, I became the quality controller not only of the work in the home but also of the children’s characters.