Thursday, April 15, 2010

When Kids Work Together....

...they sometimes have conversations that go like this...

13-year-old boy: Hey Claire, tonight we had a sweet Mutual* activity.

8-year-old girl: Well, we had a really sweet Achievement Day** activity.


They then proceeded to tell each other about their day. For some reason, I just really love listening to my kids interact with each other, especially if the conversation is between two kids that normally wouldn't share their day because of an age gap.

Kids might not like to help with chores, but besides giving them a strong work ethic, chores can help create a bond that wouldn't exist there otherwise.

What chores do YOU assign your kids that have helped create a bond? I would really like to know.

*Mormon term for a church youth activity
**Mormon term for a bi-weekly activity for girls ages 8 to 11 similar to Girl Scouts


Jessica said...

I LOVE to listen to my children chat with each other too!

Some of the things that we assign to do together: cooking & baking, yardwork and on Saturdays we pair them off and each pair gets assigned a room/area to clean. After much trial and error, we found that pairing them was easier than sending them all into one room at a time (less "disturbances" this way!) :)

kmb said...

I totally agree, family working together for a common goal provides a bond and opportunities rarely found. We go through spurts as ours are still so lil'. We try to encourage their latest cleaning crave: dishes, laundry, sweeping the floor, and lately, it has been prepping seeds for the garden. :) Why have I not noticed before your dual sinks and dishwashers...a must for your sweet lil' army. xoxo, trina

Karin said...

I have very fond memories when I was young of washing the dishes with my brothers when our dishwasher broke. Sometimes I think we get more when we go without. Does that make sense?

Pati @ A Crafty Escape said...

I too love to listen to my children talk... this is a new development since my youngest is just starting to combine words into sentences.

Rachel said...

Our family works together. Period. And I love hearing the interaction (most of the time) when they are working together. We tell them how lucky they are to be able to have many siblings to share their lives with.

Found you through Blog Frog!



16 blessings'mom said...

Our best times have been the after-dinner clean-ups, when the older kids are joking and singing and fooling around. I love those evenings when no one has to go anywhere, and the fun and fellowship go on and on....I also like to pick a child who I think needs some attention, and have them sort laundry or clean a room with me. It is very good bonding time....

Brian + Cheryl B. said...

Hi Jen :-}

First off, I wanted to comment on the picture of your kitchen sink. I like that set up! VERY MUCH SO!!! I have always wished that I had a sprayer at home like we have in the dishroom up at camp! And you have two of them.

I tell you, your set up would have made such an enormous difference back when we had nine living here and averaged fifteen or more for Sunday dinners!!!

I think I might just print off a copy of that picture and file it in my dream kitchen file.

Now about kids 'working'. Some of the fun I find when we are doing the food for this or that occasion, is the inter-action with our children. The stories that come out, the ribbing one another, the laughter, the warmth you can literally feel in the air. "Priceless".

I knew it wasn't something that was only MY perspective, when son #1 drove the three and a half hours to get here alone, due to his wife having to work, bringing their then four month old daughter, so that he wouldn't miss being a part of doing the food for our church's Labor Day retreat. :-D

When I read this posting, I decided that what I wanted to share with you, wasn't what chores I'd had our kids do together, but rather something I had used to make squabbling kids get along. I hope you don't mind.

Boys being boys, siblings being siblings, there were often times when they just couldn't seem to get along one with another. When you add in varying levels of O.D.D., it just intensifies the whole thing.

People would advice that I just seperate them, but my view was no, because then they won. They didn't want to be together, so if you seperated them, they won. Not on my watch!

Some adviced that I should give them jobs to do together. With high ADD levels, they had a hard enough time staying on task. Assign them to do so while working with somebody whom they didn't want to be with and you end up adding to your own frustration level!! Trust me!! No thanks!

My favorite parenting book was/is "Making Your Children Mind Without Losing Yours" by Dr. Kevin Lemon. He NEVER used (or even implied) the phrase "you just". {I best not get started on that subject!!!} He did not try to pigeon hole everybody. I really liked his realism and style.

Taking his advice both to 'make the punishment fit the crime' and 'your the parent, you know your children - be creative', I ended up making the boys hold hands and walk so many laps around the house. We were living in the upstairs of a HUGE (sprawled) old farmhouse when I first started this. By looking out windows, I could see them from any side of the house, and they learned that periodically, I did check up on them. If they weren't holding hands, if they were arguing (let alone punching one another), etc. I added more laps to the original assignment. The day that two particular sons ended up walking eleven laps around the house, they finally caught on to the fact that I was serious!!!

I strove hard to teach them that all through your life there will be people whom you won't like, but you have to be able to get along with, or at the least be civil with them. It might be co-workers, it might be neighbors, it might be people in your church, and it might even be somebody that marries into your family, but due to varying factors, you have to be around them at times, and thus you must find ways to be civil with them. Gatting along with your brothers is God's way of providing you practice for then!

Yes, you are welcome to use this method yourself, if you ever deem it might help o:-)

Christine:) said...

That's really sweet:) My kids are too young to bond with chores, but I'm starting my oldest (she's 3) on chores in the near future- do you have any tips on good ways to start her doing this (or simple things around the house she can do?)? Thanks!

Christibear said...

Just found your blog today. It's wonderful and I'm sure I'll get lots of tips for my growing (growin kid #5 right now) family. We have three girls (12, 10, 7) and one boy (4) who each have chores. The three girls do the dishes which includes wiping counters, stove and dining room table. They also fold laundry and help sort and wash/dry. Our son, while still a little guy, helps set and clear the table and he loves to dust. He also has to feed the algae eater which only requires one tablet a day so he doesn't overfeed. They chat, they laugh, and sometimes they argue and mope. But I just tell them it's my job to make sure they leave my house knowing how to take care of themselves and if they don't like chores, then they have to finish college and get great paying jobs to pay someone else to do them!