If you have school-aged kids or remember your own school days, you may think of Field Day as that one day in the year when tons of fun stuff happened, like foot races, dodgeball, outdoor recess practically all day, etc. But in our house it takes a whole other meaning.
Since my husband is a U.S. Marine veteran, he recently talked to our kids about something he had to do during his time in the barracks:
He talked to them about it being one day out of the week when everyone had to clean, clean, clean, and get barracks looking in tip-top condition. Now, the reason for implementing this in our own home had been a long time coming. I will be the first to admit that I was a huge part of the problem. See, up until a couple months ago, I typically did all the things that you can think of when getting a home tidy and clean. This meant, I was the one vacuuming, sweeping, mopping, washing dishes and putting them away, doing laundry, cleaning bathrooms, etc. And although my kids did have their own set of chores (take care of your pet, tidy your room, vacuum your room) they were never really enforced.
With the recent introduction of FIELD DAY at our home, it’s brought about a newfound respect for our home by everyone, including the kids. It’s become something that is expected and will often happen on a Friday night or Saturday morning when sports or other things don’t conflict.
THE LESSONS “FIELD DAY” HAS TAUGHT MY KIDS (AND ME)
1. Mom is not a maid. I was inadvertently showing my kids that housework and tidying up was always up to me, since I needed control over how/when things were done because I mistakenly thought only I could get it right. WRONG! All it really did was teach my kids that no matter what mess was created, mom was there to clean it up- and that was a lesson I just couldn’t let them continue to live with.
2. The importance of staying tidy. After having Field Day for a couple months, now I can honestly say that from the toddler to the tween, everyone tries their best to keep the house tidier than EVER before. It’s amazing how clean your kids can actually be when they know it’s on them come Friday or Saturday and they have to clean it all up.
3. Working together can really be rewarding. Do my kids fight? Yes, of course. But in the two-to-four hours that we all spend getting the house clean from top to bottom, they are actually trying to help each other out because they know as well as I do that it’s going to feel fabulous to kick our feet up at the end of it all and relax in a clean house.
4. The sooner you finish, the sooner you have free time. As soon as my kids are handed a project at school or know of a deadline, I try to get them to get it done and out of the way so they can have free time to play and be at ease. Same thing applies here. When we all work together and everyone in this five-person home does their share, we can finish quickly and have time to read, watch TV, play outside, and play video games.
Simple, Age-Appropriate Chores for Kids
The toddler (3 year old):
- helps put away utensils and some dishes
- puts away all the toys he’s brought from the upstairs play room
- picks up shoes (his, his brothers’, his parents) and takes them to where they need to be
- helps older brother when he can
The 6 year old:
- vacuums main living area as well as gets to tiny spaces with the handheld vacuum
- puts away bigger toys (scooters, tricycle, etc.) that are too heavy for toddler to carry
- puts away dishes
- tidies up his and little brother’s room by
- making sure dirty clothes are in hampers and clean clothes are folded and put away
- making sure all small toys are in their place
- making sure all beds are made
- making sure all extra blankets, pillow, sheets are put away
The 11 year old:
- vacuums rooms and main hallway
- washes dishes and puts them away
- sorts laundry
- dusts big furniture in communal spaces
- cleans bathroom counter, mirrors and glass
- tidies up his room by
- dusting furniture
- organizing desk from the previous week’s homework
- putting away all his laundry
- making sure his bed is made and blankets put away
- taking out his trash (and bathroom trash)
When it’s all said and done, I don’t know why I didn’t start a routine similar to this back when my older children were younger. Live and learn, right?! But, now that this has become a habit in our home, I don’t see us going back to mom doing all the things ever again. The best part is, they do not see it as a negative thing. They just see it as something that we do together that just happens to make the house look fantastic. But I’m sure that if you ask the older two, they will tell you that Field Day at school is way more fun than they one they do at home.
What type of chores do your little ones have? I’d love to know and add it to my running list.