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Put the kids to work!

Brent Rickenbacker


Joined: Jun 13, 2011
Posts: 23
Its no secret... Taking kids anywhere costs money. When our kids start bouncing off the walls I find chores for them to do. Toting firewood has become their specialty. Seriously... Kids get off way too easy these days with video games, computers, TV... It does them good to get away from TV and computers. Putting them to work teaches them valuable lessons and might even help you to bond with them.

Cheers!
Alison Thomas
volunteer

Joined: Jul 22, 2009
Posts: 933
Location: France
    
    8
I agree. It hope that it helps them to realise that it takes work to run a house/garden/homestead/farm and that if the Team (that's what we call our family) all do a little bit then not much gets to be too overwhelming. That's my hope. Whether they're getting it or not is debatable. Mine are all boys aged 8, 6 and 2. They have their own special jobs - the oldest feeds the ducks and geese, the 6 year old does the hens, and the 2 year old (helped by the 6 year old) collects the eggs and they happily whizz off at the 'right' time of day to do their job. Yesterday they all spent 2 hours (!!! I was amazed) bringing in firewood. They'd set up a chain with the oldest unloading from the pile, passing to the youngest, and the middle one loading the wheelbarrow. Then Daddy brought it to the house when called and they formed their chain again for unloading. Admittedly they were doing this for half a euro each but I thought that would buy us one wheelbarrow's worth - it was actually money well spent. They don't get pocket-money so any cash they get they have to work for - are we mean
Fred Morgan
steward

Joined: Sep 29, 2009
Posts: 973
Location: Northern Zone, Costa Rica - 200 to 300 meters Tropical Humid Rainforest
    
  12
Something that worked very well that I have seen is give them chores, and then give them the ability to earn something by their own project. sepp holzer started by his father giving him some ground to do with as he wished. This will keep them interested and teach some very valuable skills.


Sustainable Plantations and Agroforestry in Costa Rica
Susanna de Villareal-Quintela


Joined: May 01, 2010
Posts: 143
    
    1
Alison Freeth-Thomas wrote:They don't get pocket-money so any cash they get they have to work for - are we mean


NO! You are not mean. You are being a responsible parent, Alison. Your children will understand the concept of reward through industry not reward through sloth. Be proud.

We raised our boys in a similar manner to you. While they do have a lot of "stuff" (my husband's uncle loves to shower the kids with gifts) they have equal amounts of responsibility. When my boys would get frustrated, angry and outright grumpy they were given a pitchfork, a muck cart, a pair of gloves and then I would send them to the pastures to remove all the manure from one of the fields. Seems nutty but my boys seemed to get their emotions resolved while their body was engrossed in something physical. Worked like a charm, too. They would come in tired but balanced.

Now, my oldest is in college. He has scholarships and is working to pay for his school while he is attending. He is focused and understands the gift he is giving himself by graduating without debt. Sadly, many of his friends are partying their way through college on student loans.

No... you are not mean. You are responsible and your children will be happier and more successful for it.
Brent Rickenbacker


Joined: Jun 13, 2011
Posts: 23
It is definitely not mean to teach a kid that they will have to work for things. They need to know that they are on a team and that the entire family, not just the parents, play the game of survival each and every day.

Think about this... Years ago kids used to operate farm equipment, work in factories, tend to farm work, take care of their siblings, cook dinner, etc. Kids aren't stupid or incapable. Parents have gotten soft. Parents have been sold a mindset that it is easier to treat kids like babies than it is to teach them discipline and respect. Kids grow up without discipline now. They can't focus. They run wild and the parents wonder why. It is very easy to reverse this... Put them to work. Make them spend time outdoors. Give them sunshine and make them sweat.
Marcella Rose


Joined: Nov 09, 2011
Posts: 95
Location: Central Texas, it is dry here.
I love kids that work! Seriously...we live in town and I cannot stand the kids who have no requirements outside of school and activities. They have "entitlement" written all over them.

This year we got a huge plot at our Community Garden...not as big as my Grandmothers acre garden, but it will still be work to maintain that beast. Other moms there do not make their kids help with the garden, then they get frustrated and let it go to weed. I have been telling my kids for years that the most important thing they can learn right now is to be "part of the family." So...they weed, plant and everything else right alongside mom and dad. At home, they are in charge of the yard work (we have a push mower...they LOVE it), and have to help with some of the house work as well. We are slowly working into our Urban Homestead and they are required to pitch in. The best motivator ever that has been used for generations of my family..."You don't work, you don't eat."

We do not have a budget for an allowance, but we have plenty of skills to pass on to our kids and whomever else if they want to learn and then do something with that knowledge.


No land yet, but growing what I can with what I have!
Walter Jeffries


Joined: Nov 21, 2010
Posts: 907
    
  18
Brent Rickenbacker wrote:Its no secret... Taking kids anywhere costs money. When our kids start bouncing off the walls I find chores for them to do. Toting firewood has become their specialty. Seriously... Kids get off way too easy these days with video games, computers, TV... It does them good to get away from TV and computers. Putting them to work teaches them valuable lessons and might even help you to bond with them.


Hmm... Our kids work. They get up early, help in the house and on the farm, then do school, then work more, then some fun stuff and reading together in the evening. I completely agree that having responsibilities is important but the chores should not come intermittently as a result of bouncing off the walls or doing something negative. Helping is a part of being. One of the early things we teach our children is to say, and mean, "What can I do to help?" Then have meaningful work for them that is at their level or just barely pushing them. Over the years it teaches a strong work ethic and a lot of skills. Our teen age kids are building a USDA inspected slaughterhouse and butcher shop. Before that they built a greenhouse and our home. This is on top of helping to raise the 300 or so pigs plus other livestock, gardens, etc on our farm.

Teach the first three "R"s early: Respect, Responsibility and appReciation.

We love working with them. Together we accomplish great things and have a lot of fun doing it.
Dale Hodgins
pollinator

Joined: Jul 28, 2011
Posts: 4327
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
    
  65
I have hired hundreds of people for casual work. Young people who were raised on a farm or whose parents were fishermen or involved in some other business that included the kids, are on average far more capable and self confident.


Dale's picks - These are some of my favorite threads. Greed - http://www.permies.com/t/10736/md/unbridled-greed-ambition-compatible-permaculture My garden - http://www.permies.com/t/27910/projects/Dale-Day-Garden ethics - http://www.permies.com/t/11534/permaculture/frustration-ethics Good wood bad wood http://www.permies.com/t/12206/hugelkultur/Hugelkultur-Good-wood-Bad-wood Alder - http://www.permies.com/t/10609/plants/Alder-nitrogen-fixation-native-tree Bees - http://www.permies.com/t/10917/bees/time-replace-European-honey-bee Pulling nails - http://www.permies.com/t/10249/natural-building/Removing-nails-recycled-wood-techniques
Melba Corbett


Joined: Apr 23, 2011
Posts: 161
Location: North Carolina
Alison Freeth-Thomas wrote:I agree. They don't get pocket-money so any cash they get they have to work for - are we mean


I think its wonderful that you are training them to be productive and earn their own money. I did that with my daughter when she was small and she learned well. Not only can she provide for herself, by herself when necessary, but can do most anything. She is a tiny, petite, little thing and remodeled her own house using power tools and hand tools. She grows her own garden too. She did not get an allowance either and had to earn any funds she got while small, and had chores to do routinely just for the privilege of her room and board. I don't think it is mean at all, it teaches them to be responsible.


Wild Edible & Medicinal Plant classes, & DVDs
Live in peace, walk in beauty, love one another.
Theresa Whited


Joined: Jan 26, 2012
Posts: 41
I have started building a cob house and how do you "put the kids to work"? My teens are very city-fied and now they think I am crazy. I am trying to get them to understand the value of land and shelter with no mortgage, its not working well. Now I am threatening that if they don't get on the boat with my crazy idea then they will be sleeping in hammocks and washing in the creek..ha that's not working well either. I did see a spark in my daughters eye when I let her build a lean-to. Oh well they are good kids and they do help me but most important is I get good quality time like never before when I drag them to the building sight.
Craig Dobbelyu
pollinator

Joined: Dec 22, 2011
Posts: 1012
Location: Maine (zone 5)
    
  37
Theresa Whited wrote:I have started building a cob house and how do you "put the kids to work"? My teens are very city-fied and now they think I am crazy. I am trying to get them to understand the value of land and shelter with no mortgage, its not working well. Now I am threatening that if they don't get on the boat with my crazy idea then they will be sleeping in hammocks and washing in the creek..ha that's not working well either. I did see a spark in my daughters eye when I let her build a lean-to. Oh well they are good kids and they do help me but most important is I get good quality time like never before when I drag them to the building sight.


I think that kids do their best work when it's work they can enjoy to some degree. You might have some luck getting them to help out if you give them some control over some aspect of the construction. Teenage kids are all about control. They need to have it. Some place or project that they have say over without parents butting in. Don't force the issue and they'll come around. Maybe. Best of luck.


"You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result”

-Gandhi
Deborah Harr


Joined: Mar 10, 2012
Posts: 16
Poker Chips for the win. I started out like my parents did, paying an "allowance"...then discovered the kids either didn't think allowance was enough so they wouldn't bother with chores or that they would do nothing but the bare minimum to earn said allowance. So we went to poker chips. You want to watch television, that will cost you a chip for 30 minutes. Want to play on the computer or game station, that will cost you poker chips. To keep the kids from stealing each others chips, I applied finger nail polish (each kid assigned their own color). At the end of the week you could exchange chips for a predetermined cash value or hang onto them for future use.

It was really sad when my son burned all his chips and wanted to purchase a new game, but had used up all his chips playing his old games........he was always asking for more chores, difficult ones for a higher value poker chip. This way they set their spending and earning limits based on how they felt any given day or week.
 
 
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