"You did not do as I asked. You have never treated Harry as a son. He has known nothing but neglect and often cruelty at your hands. The best that can be said is that he has at least escaped the appalling damage you have inflicted upon the unfortunate boy sitting between you." Albus Dumbledore speaking to Vernon and Petunia Dursley in Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince
As a mom who parents as I do, one of the questions I am asked the most by friends and acquaintances is this: "How do you get your kids to do chores?" It is also the question, as a mom, that most leaves me scratching my head. But for those who really want to know, here is how we did/do it.
1. Train them while they are young.
Both of our children began picking up toys as soon as they were old enough to get them out. We helped. We trained. We taught. We were the example. And yes, we picked up 5 to their 1 and that's okay. If you begin at a young age, you can do this. And no,it's not easy. We have one child who will do what we ask (with or without some grumbling) and one who will do what we ask (with or without an hour-long tantrum).
What if you didn't train them when they are young? Read on! It's never too late to start (that is one of the secrets to life, btw).
2. Give them age-appropriate chores.
Our son began helping to empty the dishwasher when he was 4 and his specific job was the silverware - yes, including the sharp knives. Before that he may have helped put away dish towels or other things, but this is the chore that stands out in my mind as part of his daily duties. He now does the entire dishwasher minus the silverware which his sister does (less than joyfully, I might add). He is now 14 and his chore list looks different. Our daughter is 10 and she has the same number of chores but they are not as difficult. (I'll post our chore list tomorrow!)
3. Just say no.
You know what I see as the biggest obstacle to your children helping in the home? YOU! I know. It's judgmental. I'm okay with that. Let me give you an example what saying no looks like at my house. My kids: "Mom, can I watch TV?" Me: "Did you finish your chore list?" My kids: "I'm tired." Me: "Me too. Too tired to cook your dinner, take you to the football game, schedule your playdate." My kids: Silence, then "okay". My children are 14 and 10. They are healthy, have all they need (not all they want), they attend two of the best schools money can buy and my husband and I bust our tails daily and sacrifice to make that happen. So, there is no laying around the house, watching TV, playing Barbies.....until the work is done. Period. This. Is. Not. Negotiable.
Our children are loved. They have been nursed and rocked and cuddled. They have been read to every night (our 10 year old still starts the night with a book in our bed and is then carried asleep into her room by my husband). They are doted on by grandparents and aunts and uncles. They are also polite and responsible and the children that other parents want to come over in hopes they will set a good example. And, I believe they will continue to grow and thrive and be fantastic and successful adults who will care for others and serve their communities due to the way we have raised them.
A few weeks ago I trimmed several bushes around the house and the Sun and the Moon (mainly the Sun), carried the branches down to the road for pick-up. This is how we roll. If you do one thing for your child to see him or her on their way to a successful future, I truly believe this is it. Give them chores, stick to the list, and just say no.
A few days ago I posted this on FB: "Great Spirit, please support me in these last days of school. Please help me to not only get through them, but ENJOY them as these moments in my children's lives are fleeting. We are joyful and sad and grateful all at once. Please give them the support they need as they journey into the next stages of their lives. With thanks, Amen and Aho."
Here I sit. 4 days later. On Monday, Thursday seemed so far away. I have spent the week laughing and crying and talking to my fellow parents. That is, when I am not cooking, cleaning, running errands for the kids. supporting the Moon's field day, taking her for an end of the year lunch with friends and oh - not to mention - trying to run a business and prepare for a house full of people for graduation.
Did I mention that The Sun, my oldest, is graduating from 8th grade tonight? I know. 8th grade. Big deal. It is a big deal. It signifies his move to high school. His moving away from us and becoming more independent. And, it means he is leaving the next of the small Waldorf school where he has mostly been since his days in the sweet Parent-Child circle with me beginning at the tender age of three.
It is bittersweet this day. I know tonight will be hard. For me, for him (he is so excited and so sad all at the same time). Last night I had a nightmare that seemed to go on forever. I rarely remember my dreams these days but when I do I know to pay attention as it is important. Noah and many children were locked in a school. It was a big public school. Not his school. The "authorities" came and locked them in...then they locked us in. Most of the dream was spent attempting to escape. I'll be thinking about this throughout the day. The meaning. The take-away.
If you are a dream interpreter, let me know as I have a glimmer of the meaning but can always use some help.
I'll leave you with an image of Noah on stilts at the annual Elves' Faire, a Waldorf tradition (by many names). Today, I will tell him that his time at his school is not truly over, his relationships not coming to an end as long as he tends the flame and keeps it alive.
Hmmmm...what flames should I tend today?
Now put on your big girl panties and get to work. You can do it!
Hi guys. Well, we are in our 4th season of soccer. Noah really enjoys playing and is very excited to be on the purple team this season - his lucky color. The kids really do little more than run around trying to kick the ball at this age. There are one or two on each team that are real go getters, but for the most part it's all fun.
Can you believe that my baby lost his first two teeth today? Not the usual way of course. Tooth number one has been loose for a little over two months. Meantime, the new tooth has come up behind it. Then, a second tooth loosened up and lo and behold, did not loosen much and a new tooth had come up behind it. So, today we went to the dentist. I was very nervous that he was going to freak out before we went, but I told him about the Snoopy nose that the dentist would put on him that would make him giggle. That was all he needed to hear. Unfortunately, he did not giggle and that made him sad.
But, the visit went well. Both teeth were pulled, he received a prize and I took him for a Frosty as he needed something that did not require a straw to ingest. All in all it went well. Now, he is sound asleep with two teeth under his pillow dreaming sweet dreams of the glitter and magic of the Tooth Fairy. I know he won't be disappointed.
As for me, I finally broke down and cried at bedtime as he got ready to read The Tooth Fairy book. I cannot believe we have a child losing his milk teeth. He is growing up so fast. It is days like this that I am so thankful that we have made the decision to keep him home with us instead of sending him to school.
That's it for tonight. So, look for the kid with the missing front teeth and be sure to ask him about his Tooth Fairy visit.
I copied this image from www.yahoo.com. It is an image from the AP. A kid in California took a gun to school and the school was locked down. This was at a Baccalaureate School which is sort of like a magnet school but not. The police searched all 1200 students and the school. These police state images of our school systems burn me up. This is what I am talking about. I would be furious if this happened to my kid. Think this sort of thing doesn't happen all of the time? It does. My niece was involved in a small incident a year or so ago. Let me frame it by saying it was really bad and the parents handled it. And, let me say she is at the top of her class academically and a a cheerleader and learned her lesson. With that said......she was interrogated by a policeman and the principle of her magnet school where she was a 7th grader for over two hours. She was NOT ALLOWED to call her parents. After getting a thorough tongue lashing from my sister, she was basically told that they do not have to call her and that she has not rights in this incident. Police state folks. Police state. When your child is in the public school system you basically have no rights to them. They are essentially wards of the school while they are there. You think I am crazy. I know you do. But, it is true. Okay class, all together, say "George Orwell."
Well, here we are looking at taking Noah to Bonnaroo for the third year. I have to tell you, that it rocks taking a kid to this incredible music extravaganza. He totally hung in there both years. We have the good fortune of working in a booth to raise money for the Manchester Art Center and Community Theater (which unfortunately burned to the ground a year ago during the run of Charlotte's Web.). Noah hands out drinks while take the money. We don't let him hand out the beer, but he knows his sodas well.
This year it will be a real challenge trying to decide when to go. The lineup includes Allison Kraus and Robert Plant, Pearl Jam (whom I saw in 1993), Jack Johnson, and my personal faves, The Allman Brothers Band. I'm sure others will be added as the concert nears.
Noah particularly loves getting to walk around all day without a shirt, riding the ferris wheel and the great kids section which featured a magic show last year. Above you'll find a father / son photo during a break in the kids section. See you in Manchester folks!
I’m Dana Croy and I am a modern day mama. Balancing family and work is not always easy (not to mention a little self-care). Though being Mama to two fantastic kiddos is a huge part of my life, that was not always the case. I wear many other hats and invite to sit down and find harmony with me.