Thursday, January 19, 2017

Children Doing Chores vs. Child Being Self Sufficient

This is just my opinion, I am in no way a expert on raising children. I read a few books, use some common sense, and talk with other parents just trying to do the best I can. Should a child have chores to do, be as self sufficient as possible for their age, or maybe a balance of both.

Self Sufficient

Simply put is doing as much as possible for yourself as you possible can. In the case of a child what is appropriate for their age. I don't expect a 3 yr old to cook meatloaf for his dinner, but then a know kids that graduate from high school and can't make a grill cheese or know how to turn on a oven. Do you want to get these kids involved with doing for themselves as soon as possible or do you want to be the helicopter parent cutting up meat for a sixteen yr. old?

But you got to have a balance with it as well, you can't just let a 4 yr old make his own breakfast every morning or all he will be eating is cereal. It's OK to cook them some bacon and eggs and when they are able too let them help. Get them involved in doing for themselves as much as possible.


There are a few basics chores that I make every kid do. I refer to them as the required chores for being alive. They have no extra reward for doing them and no excuses for not.

  • making the bed
  • cleaning their room
  • cleaning up their own mess
  • washing the dishes 
  • taking out the trash 
Now there are selective chores that my kids have the option to do if they want to. These will have some kind of reward or payoff if the kids choose to do so. It's not always money sometimes it's going to movies or out for ice cream. And sometimes it is just the reward of being productive. 
  • mowing the yard
  • cleaning the gutters
  • picking up sticks
  • bottle feeding calf
  • fence stapling 
  • moving hay
I know the last few on the list are limited to those of us with farm chores for kids to do. I'm pretty lucky to have my kids have the chance to help out around the farm. Not so much so I can get more things done, it is an option for them. I like it because it provides a real learning opportunity for the kids. Here is my best example. 

Bottle feeding a calf    

I arrange an agreement with my kids: they help feed and take care of the calves then they receive a percentage of the selling price of the calf. Usually about 15% of the total price the calf brings once sold. I don't do more because I have the expense of feed and purchase price of the calf plus veterinary care. It takes about 9 to 11 months of care for the calf, so the kids put in a lot of time and effort before getting paid. The calf's price is also subject to changes in market value as cattle prices go up and down. Sometimes the calf gets sick and doesn't make it leaving no profit. 

The dynamic of raising a bottle calf, provides my kids the opportunity to learn some real life lessons. They take a interest in it because they see the value in the process as well. Now I know a few people that mimic the same lesson with farmer markets. 

They don't have farm land just enough room in the back yard for a garden. They will help the kids grow vegetables and then sell them at a farmers market. Funny thing is I know kids that grow stuff they won't even eat but  will raise it to be sold like cantaloupe. It gives them wide range of growing skills and people skills from dealing with the public in farmers market.

I titled this post comparing the value added to a child's life by doing chores compared to a child being self sufficient and gave some nice examples for the positive of both. I think there must be a balance and along as the kid stays active doing some activity they don't have to do extra chores. They can be in the chess club, gymnastics, or play an instrument. Just as long as they get involved with in something and has fun doing it.  

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-There are some good advice on caring for a calf in this web site, but always refer to your veterinarian for proper treatment of sick animals. Some home remedies work, but veterinarians know best, and can save you money and heartache with exact treatment For this sites Terms and Conditions click here.