Chores Sharing?

Often I have seen parents NOT letting their children do any work at all at home..or grandparents telling the parents NOT to make the little kids work etc etc

I have often been accused of child labour..yes, in my previous company, a friend actually told me that I could go to jail for child labour because I asked my then 2 year old to pick up her glass and keep it in the kitchen sink..

Poor Baby she went.

Well, honestly, when I was a kid, I would be very enthused about helping Amma, and then when I got to my early teens, I would crib every time she asked me to help her but by the time I was in college, I realised that Amma was pretty much a super human managing kids, school, house, with Appa away on tours, all by herself, and the urge to help her came to me automatically.

I think its good to let kids do somethings for you at home.

1. IT makes life easier for you (most times, unless there is a spill or breakage)
2. They learn to understand that the house is theirs as well
3. They learn to do things on their own!

While Amma tells me that R’s enthusiasm to help will fade away soon as she grows older, I am trying to make the most of it.

For example, yesterday, when RD was hanging the clothes out, and I was washing the patrams in the sink, I called out to R to clean the table after dinner. She didnt respond immediately saying ‘Amma maine busy hoon’

What are you busy with?

I am colouring

Please da, just get the spoon for me to wash and clean up the table please

Okay amma and she promptly came with the used spoon for me to wash, took the washcloth from me and cleaned the table, and even did a decent job with it.

I went to the dinning table after my work and praised her efforts and she sure seemed very happy with it.

Similarly, today morning, while I was applying a band aid to my cut foot, I had kept the milk patram and curd patram on the shelf and asked her (she was wearing her shoes then) if she could set the curd. She said ‘Wait Amma, I will do, you put band aid’

and she went to the kitchen alone, hopefully put some curd into the milk (I hope she knows that after so many months of practice) and then came to me to the bedroom to ask me which of the plates covered the milk and which one covered the curd. She even kept the curd back into the fridge without spilling.

All the while, I was in the bedroom getting ready to work!

While RD does tell me that may be R is a bit too independent, most times, I think the way I let her manage some of her stuff, as well as mine, does work.

I am not saying R is ready to do it all the time.

Aap karo na Amma, sab time maine kyun karu!

Main edkum tired hoon!

Mereko bore thai che!

These lines are pretty common, but most times, if I insist and request politely, she does make an effort and help me out.

As long as the work you give is age appropriate, I think we should let our kids help us out.

Things that I let R do include

1. Set the curd
2. Take stuff to the dinner table as long as its not hot or filled to the brim
3. Take her own food from the patrams
4. Clean up the table after dinner
5. Pour groceries into the dabbas once we come back after grocery shopping..for example, rice, dals, etc she can put into the dabbas…I put a big plate underneath, so that the spills are taken care of
6. Pod peas, tuver etc when she is in mood
7. Fold her clothes if she in mood
8. Hang the clothes inside the house if she in mood
9. Separate veggies and keep the potatoes and onions in the stand
10. Open the fridge and take out something that is non spillable like butter, cheese etc
11. Mix the idli dosa batter, though it gets a bit messy
12. Make small rotis when she is in mood, though it has happened only 7-8 times
Ensure we eat those rotis as well πŸ™‚
13. Take food to guests, etc if its non spillable
14. Wash the vegetables in tap water, when I am supervising
etc etc

You get the drift right?

Its not that she is always keen to help out, but I do insist on some chores like taking her dabba/water bottle out of the bag, uniform out of the bag once she comes back from day care..

Little things, but she enjoys doing them most times. I think its important of course, to praise their efforts..for R at least, it works wonders and she is ready to do more πŸ™‚
I have heard arguments on how once kids grow up they have to manage by themselves, so why spoil their childhood by making them do household chores..but honestly, I dont buy that argument. I feel its better to let kids know right from the start, that they do need to work in a house and there are some enjoyable chores and some boring ones too…I think its important that in a household, everyone strives to keep it clean, and it should not just be the work of the lady of the house.

The earlier the kids learn to help, better it is for the entire house πŸ™‚

Do you agree?


About R's Mom

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58 Responses to Chores Sharing?

  1. Aditya says:

    Typical clash between the Western and Indian culture! Did your colleague also tell you to let your child find his own way once she turns 18?

  2. I STRONGLY agree! R is a super kid, and you sure are a rockstar mom to teach her all of this. Most mothers I know do not have the patience to deal with the messes their kids make when they do household chores. This results in grumbling and scolding, and the child is reluctant to do any more chores ever again. 😦

    Another parent I know is struggling with anger issues her child is indicating, because she wants him to learn a bit of the household chores, and he doesn’t want to. She is actually torn between whether she should force him to do it or leave him alone and let him grow into an irresponsible adult. The child in question is about 11 years old, and is quite a dreamer. A good human being, but a little dreamy and irresponsible. What do you suggest?

    I hope I am able to do a good job with my kid in this regard, when it is time to do so. It is something I believe in with all my heart. You can’t put all the load of managing the house, from top to bottom, on one person. Come on! It is NOT child labour, as long as the chores are delegated with love and are age-appropriate. It is part of teaching a child responsibility and how to deal with life.

    • R's Mom says:

      I dont know if I am a rockstar mom, I am trying to be a mom..that itself is a struggle da 😦

      For your friend and 11 year old, honestly I dont have experience, but I would definitely suggest being downright honest with the kiddo, telling him that its getting physically tough for the mom to do everything by herself..and then request and then if he still doesnt agree..just let things be..let his plate be on the table, dont do anything with his books, tell him that he needs to be independent…I am not sure if that works!

  3. Santulan says:

    totally depends on the parents, kid and type of work.

    As long as the kid is just helping out in the house, and that doesn’t come in the way of play time/ study time/ rest time.. It is all ok. Because that is not child labor.

    I remember as a kid, I used to run to mom when she used to come back from grocery shopping because I enjoyed taking the bags from her at the door, and sift through to see what she had brought, and then empty it out on the table. I would help her out with peas (and eat half of the peas I would have de-podded, which made her have to get extra peas everytime she shopped) Helping out in making mithai and all.. This way the kid understand things that are done in the house and it is fun as well as learning for them …

    Child labor would be you sitting aaram se and have her clean the floor and wash clothes etc.

  4. I think it’s very important to inculcate a healthy attitude towards household work in kids. It’s not something demeaning that they are doing – it’s just something everyone has to do if they want a decent life! And if the child grows up watching both parents participating in housework s/he isn’t going to assume it’s gendered labour either.

    • R's Mom says:

      Exactly, today my brother does not think twice before doing house work only because he saw my parents sharing work and my Amma gave him the same jobs as I did, like cleaning the wash basin or keeping the patrams in the definitely makes a lot of difference..and of course, the next generation thanks you for raising a gender equality believing child eh?

  5. Smita says:

    You are telling me?? πŸ˜€ I am training my brat already!! He
    – takes the food laden plate to his grand parents.
    – Gets me Tulsi leaves from the plant for tree
    – Helps my dry the clothes
    – Puts the veggies that I cut into the dabba

    Small things but he feels proud after doing them and asks, “Mumma maoin aapki help kar raha hoon?” πŸ˜€

    Though there are many more things that he wud love to help me with but well he needs to grow for it πŸ˜€

    So I am in total agreement with you when u say that we need to make them work just to make them realise that they are also responsible. It is better to be self dependent / independent than to be pampered!!!

    You are raising ur child well dear πŸ™‚ not that u need an endorsement from me!!

  6. Pingback: Chores Sharing? |

  7. First how did you manage to cut yourself?
    R is a sweetheart..hugs to her.

  8. meenamenon says:

    I so agree! My parents were of school of thot tht the childhood was not meant for chores but growing up today I realize tht maybe thts what contributed to th laziness am so famed for πŸ˜›

  9. I totally agree, there is nothing wrong in taking help from the kids, or from any member sharing the same household. Rather i feel it is important for the kids to be independent at an early age, not only it helps to manage the household better but also helps them when they grow up and move out for studies, work or stay with frns/ relatives on need basis. Because I feel few habits have to be inculcated from an early age, otherwise simple tasks like folding cloths, filling water bottles become big chores as one grow up.

    • R's Mom says:

      I feel few habits have to be inculcated from an early age, otherwise simple tasks like folding cloths, filling water bottles become big chores as one grow up. – I so so agree to this statement!

  10. chaitali says:

    Agree Agree Agree!!!!!

  11. sjscribbles says:

    Absolutely Agree RM ! I’m surprised the list is a little long though ! Hats Off to you RM !
    Now I need to get M’s list longer – he is’nt even doing 1/4 of what R is doing ! He he (Villian sirippu) ..You have more things coming your way – M !

  12. kirti says:

    I do agree completely but this wisdom came to me a bit late. Both the boys have learnt to dodge the jobs. Younger one still does some jobs which interest him , elder one is pucca hiding behind his studies.
    But, them I am only to be blamed who thinks it is easier to DIY then depend and wait indefinitely.
    I am infact not very good giving jobs to my domestic helps either ,so I guess fault squarely lies with me.

    • R's Mom says:

      Well after a certain age, we all want to dodge jobs eh? I was like that as well…I am sure they will start helping out eventually πŸ™‚

      I am like you as far as domestic help is concerned 😦

  13. Totally agree with your point of view RM! It’s best to start early and get kids to be independent and that way, you are not fighting with them during adolescence as they are used to doing things. Makes it easier as well for the entire house to function. Kudos to you for all that you have taught R and continue to teach!! πŸ™‚

  14. Maddie says:

    Oh lovely! I make my son work or help me around household chores all the time and I make a big deal out of it and he actually enjoys doing everything. Putting away the groceries, emptying the dishwasher, helping me hang laundry, setting the table, fetching me stuff around the house. πŸ™‚ His latest favourite is to assist me when am cooking and wants to add cumin seeds to every dish and see them splutter! He even reminds me to add yellow powder and red powder πŸ™‚

  15. I agree totally. When I was of R’s age, I used to go with my dad and shop for veggies. He used to take me and my sister out for the grocery shopping every sunday. We would then come back home, and my mom used to let me separate the vegetables and put them in different boxes in the fridge. I liked it and I still do it. While separating the vegetables I used to play the role of the lady selling the vegetables and dad became the customer. It was fun.
    And the list is really decent actually. Also, if R likes doing it, then why stop her?

  16. Prachi says:

    I fully agree with you RM..!!
    Kids feel happier in helping us…so why not use their energy constructively. They will become responsible adults and we will contribute towards gender equality.. πŸ™‚
    My 3 year old son always wants to accompany anybody who is working (me, MIL…even maid). He knows how to make rotis, fold cloths, clean table, getting vegies from fridge, holding/controling steering wheel of a real car (while parking), raising scooty’s acclerator 😦
    Few days back, he was literally crying because he wanted to help the maid in sweeping and washing clothes…Imagine !!!!

    • R's Mom says:

      oh he is so cute..though I would not personally do the last two with the vehicles…please do be careful! LOL wanting to help the maid hehehe πŸ™‚

  17. chattywren says:

    i like this idea too and am trying the same with my little ones – things they can safely do! works most times!

  18. Gayatri says:

    I agree with you about getting children to do some things at home. We teach them how to read/write and in the same way they should learn these things too. We get to hear from the child about making him do “so much work” when he has to tidy the mess he made with his toys everywhere. His head “spins” looking at all the mess! Have to keep reminding him that its our house and so its not work or even helping, its just doing our bit in maintining a home. He does like helping to put away groceries in the fridge and loves to get his snacks from the fridge! :). As a child who was very lazy (I still am), I am trying to get him into the habit of doing things as a daily routine so that they don’t become a chore later on in life.
    Don’t worry about what people say. You want to make sure your child turns into a responsible person for herself/himself if not for anyone else.

  19. LiFi says:

    Can’t agree more to you RM, I do similar things with Chucky, I was planning to put a post Little Helper Part3 . I am inspired to do that now..

    R is indeed very independent and I am glad you and RD is giving her opportunity.

  20. seema3 says:

    Our house is all the time messy with toys and books strewn all around. I was lazily reading my book and my 3 yr old decided to get up and clean the room.
    Out of the blue “Amma, room evlo messy irrkudhe, clean up panalmam”
    After seeing him so intently cleaning up his toys I felt guily and started folding the clothes.

  21. My Era says:

    I completely agree to all you said and am glad you did a post on this important topic πŸ™‚

  22. crunch says:

    I’ve been trying to get my 2.5 yr old to do things for herself. While she’s a little happier doing things for me (so she can get her hands on every dish in the fridge be it dosa maavu, salt or ghee or anything else and run away with it so she can play with it), I’ve been getting her more focused on helping herself. That in itself teaches them responsibility and takes a few things off your hands as well. Besides, given she’s smack in the middle of her terrible twos, it reduces the number of activities we need to negotiate! She can rebel about everything from putting her shoes on to brushing her teeth and encouraging her to help me and be a big girl like her cousins always makes her focus on the ‘help’ and the ‘big girl’ parts which push her into getting them done. She packs her own suitcase and lugs it if we’re traveling, helps clean up her messy rooms (sometimes), mixes her rice/rasam/salt together encouraging her to eat it more .. and for me – she’s always the one pushing her mini shopping cart at the groceries, helping paati peel fruit, the maid sweep and mop the floor! I’ve decided I’m picking anything she seems interested in and getting the chore associated with that object done by her! Nice post.

  23. techie2mom says:

    I agree to this point of view completely πŸ™‚
    Zini too helps with cleaning methi, dhania, peas (though we have to re-do it at times), carry rotis to dining table, water plants, hang cloths, fold cloths (we have to re-do, of course)…Now only if i could make her pick her toys up…But i think genes playing up there (passed on by me) πŸ˜‰

  24. Reema Sahay says:

    I am from the same school of thought. I think 2 things are important in making them learn to help out in chores around the house: setting an example and giving them opportunities. My son is 20 months right now. He is always following the bai, emulating her when she does sweeping or dusting. And I let him do it. What’s the harm? He is anyways going to take bath later. Besides, it is so cute to see him do it. Moreover, we ask him to help out in clearing his toys. We make it a game. We have to show him how to do it and then he starts doing but if you don’t take him away the moment he is done, he would spill them out again πŸ™‚
    What I have seen is kids looove helping you out.

  25. ashreyamom says:

    see u r blessed staying alone, putting good ideas into kids head.. as long as MIL is with me, such things are never going to happen in my house.. though i want to train bunty they way u told.. 😦

  26. Ashwathy says:

    I think you have done a post on this before as well. I remember reading it.

    What I love about your method is that you treat R like an adult, a separate individual. You give respect, hence earn respect…. NOT demand it. πŸ™‚
    A question most parents need to ask is that, whether their child will respect them even if they were not his/her parents. πŸ™‚ The answer to that will make all the difference.

    • R's Mom says:

      I would have…I do feel strongly about this subject!

      I hope R turns out to be a good human being..for me thats more important than anything else!

  27. Amit says:

    I have always set Dinner tables ever since I can remember. It is a healthy habit to let your children participate in household work otherwise they turn into a brat like my sister. πŸ™‚

  28. Ramya says:

    RM..Been visiting and reading your posts for few months now.Beginning to comment from now on πŸ™‚ .I cannot agree more on this topic..Cos, I was not trained to do ,rather didnt get the opportunity to do, or was not asked by mom to do any of the kitchen work, though I used to take care of veggies buying, cleaning the cupboards etc..The fact that I’m not too much of a cooking person or dont have a constant interest in trying our various dishes in the kitchen makes me feel that if I were introduced to being of some kinda help inside the kitchen, things would have been different..Same case with keeping things in place where they should be..These little stuff must be trained or exposed to from the beginning so that they get ingrained and one doesn’t see it as a “chore” to do, rather becomes a routine..

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