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I am about ready to sell the goats, rabbits, chickens, etc......I thought that children who take care of animals are taught responsibility and are better for it. Mine seem to just learn how to whine, fight and complain more.

My two older boys, ages 12 and 9 take care of the animals (with help with the major stuff, but the morning chores are theirs.) Regularly they take twice as long as they should, fight about it constantly while they are there, or mess something up. And they are not even milking right now!

Today, younger son was crying b/c older son was scaring the rabbits. Older son says he wasn't. Older son sat and watched younger do rabbit work instead of heading to the barn to start goats and younger complained he was wasting time (which he was, and making noise to scare rabbits.) Younger son refused to help with goat water b/c older had wasted time.......and on and on and on. Then they got the golf cart stuck in the mud. They forget to latch gates so the goats get out and eat all the grain, etc. This isn't every day, but often enough to get very old.

Am I expecting too much from a 12 and 9 year old?

Here's what they are supposed to do:

After breakfast go to barn and do goat and rabbit water. Feed goats and rabbits. Check hay, open barn. Take care of cats. During milking season, they milk in the a.m. We have 5 goats, 3 rabbits and 2 cats in the barn. They open up chicken coop on the way back up.

After lunch, they feed and water chickens and water the rabbits again. If we have kids, they bottle feed them.

The nightime chores are handled by Dad, except during milking time, when the boys alternate helping Dad in the evening.

Morning chores should take half an hour. During milking, it's an hour or so. Today they were down there over an hour--with no milking.

This is nothing new for them. For the last six months, they have been doing morning chores alone, without me. Before that, they alternated with me doing them. After our baby was born in July, the boys took over.

I don't know how to improve things. We have talked until we are blue in the face. Today I told them that they need to stop fighting and whining and do chores in a reasonable amount of time. I told them I need to be able to send them down and not worry about what's going on. Until that happens, I said, do not ask me to get on the computer.

How does everyone else handle chores with kids? What ages do you have doing what? How do you handle it when things don't go as you expect.?

Dee
 

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We found that with two boys, it's MUCH easier to have them alternate times for the chores. Then, it becomes about getting it done, not about the amusement of distracting the other or taking out their frustration and testosterone-induced aggression on each other. There's also a clear culprit to nail if things aren't done well, or at all.

I can't say that 12 and 9 is too young -- my boys were doing chores like that then, too. But it might be too young for YOUR boys -- every kid is different. They have different attitudes and abilities at different ages. Only you can judge whether they're ready for this or not.

I'd say a man-to-men conversation between Dad and the boys about expectations is due. In our house, having Dad go from the fun-loving and eager-for-play guy they're used to to the stern and disgruntled disciplinarian does the trick every time.

And for goodness sake, separate them while doing chores. That way, they don't have the fun of making the other mess up.
 

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M need dad to take them to the wood shed, before they go to the goat shed. They are well old enough to do these simple chores correctly and without all to chaos.
 

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i'm not really in position to give much advice, as i was here myself just a few weeks ago! i got some great ideas, and cindy e put me onto the idea of if work isn't done well or in time, they get a load more. that works. in your case, sometimes it's easier to have one kid do all the chores one week, the other kid the next. nobody to fight with or mess around with etc., and they sometimes get moving faster. or maybe only send one outside at a time.

i feel for you tho., as mine are slipping again anyhow. they claim there isn't time to do these chores before school, but their chores only take 10 mins. tops if they dont' mess around. then i see this family from church, with 9 kids, and they have them doing more/better things than i can get my 2 doing. guess its a good thing they've got the 9 and we only have 2! best of luck to you, i know its hard.
 

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Ouch, kids and chores. It's like free advertising for birth control.

My DD who is 8 is currently trying every possible trick for getting out of chores. What has been working is we break it down into the smallest of steps. With your boys, it might help to have a rotating schedule. This week older does rabbit water, then goat water, then cats. Younger does feed and hay, next week switch. But make sure you break it into small enough jobs they don't need each other's help. Encourage them to compete with each other to get done first. They don't need the other one's help if you break it up tiny enough, and since they're already fighting, I think healthy competition is better then sniping at each other.

I am so very, incredibly done with discussing this with my DD. I no longer shout, cajole, argue or help. It needs to be done, if it is not done, things go away. No discussion. If there is whining, things go away, no discussion. I no longer say a word. The TV goes off, toy are put on a shelf, if she wants to whine over that, she can do it standing facing a wall in the kitchen and under her breath.

Also, she is facing the natural consequences of her actions. Since she currently wants to convince me that she can not hold the dogs leash, but drops it when he wants to go say hi (in a very friendly way) to the neighbors visiting cat. Well, she can just not come home without him. (I can see them both out the window and we're very far from the road, the leash is because left to himself, he will potty right at the bottom step, gross) As long as you don't think the animals will be hurt, next time a gate is left open, sorry boys, you're not coming back in my house till those goats are where they belong and shut the door. The first time I shut the door in DD's face instead of throwing on shoes and running out to "rescue" the dog was like a revelation. It helped that it was raining. (it helps me to know exactly where the animal is and will go, like I said, I can see him the whole time - I will run out if necessary, then she has to help me even more) But this is just an example. I'm sure you can build in some natural consequences.
For example, another thing for her is dishes. I don't want her to stand over the sink and cry, so now it's up to her. But she is forbidden to get a plate, fork or cup - and I now put them up very high to avoid temptation - unless she pulls it out of the sink and washes it. And, instead of her doing all the plates for one meal a day, she might be doing just plates for herself, but it is for EVERY meal. And she now has a vested interest in doing a good job, instead of trying to get me to stand over her, help and/or supervise by doing a really poor job that just needs them done over.
"Can I get a drink?"
"Your cup's in the sink."
"But.."
"Don't want to hear it."
And if she tries to whine, she can do it in another room, facing the wall. She can come out when she is prepared to wash the cup - her choice.

Also, certain chores are before meals. And if you want to take 3 times as long, then you'll just get hungrier. She won't starve if dinner or breakfast is 20 minutes late because she'd rather spend that time whining then take 5 and just get it done.

So far, this is working very well for us. This all started during the middle of the summer, when she was spending lots of time with local kids who get away with a lot. She'd come home and say that B__ was so bad, you should hear her talk to her mother, and then later she'd do it!! For a couple of months I was at my wits end. I went from having a smiling, helpful child to a whining, temperamental one. It was like practice for adolescence. I understood why animals sometimes eat their young.

But so far, this has been working well. There is still some backsliding, for both of us actually, it's horrible how quickly nagging becomes habit. But she's been doing better and better and is actually becoming more cheerful again.
 

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I'm trying to get 3 year old as active with animal keep as I can. Simple simple things, of course...turn on the lizard's light, scoop food out for the dogs, "help" me feed the cats and hamster, and fish. But she could really care less about the horses and goats. I am trying not to force anything on her as far as they go, I do not want her resenting the animals I want her to love. I know she is pretty young, but I will be reading this with great interest.

I have a neighbor with 7 kids, and they just pitch in and do chores with no problems. Makes me feel like a failure, lol. (not really).
 

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Kids do chores best and easiest when accompanied by an adult. Sending them into the cold to do chores on their own is a recipe for disaster.

P.S. I like Sancraft's idea as well. The idea of having them do it separately is something we try to do here. That way, they have different goals and pretty much HAVE to work to them separately, without all the jawing and shoving.
 

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What do they like to do? Tax it. For my kids it's screen time (TV, computer, gameboy).

They don't have outside chores, because there aren't any here (no animals, landlord does all "yard work"). But they have to earn their screen time. School work done in a timely manner - 1 ticket, 2 hours of outside play (1 hour when it's less then 40 F outside) - 1 ticket, room cleaned and bed made without mom saying anything - 1 ticket, ask for and do an extra chore - 1 ticket, etc.

Each ticket is worth 30 min of screen time. They have to "pay to play".
 

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I agree, separate them! Right now that will work but when milking comes it would be hard for one 9 year old to milk 5 goats by themselves. Just something to think about. Can you do the morning chores with one every other day and the other can stay inside with the baby? When are the doe's due?

The other thing I have done with my older girls over the years is try and give them the chores they want to do. Everything needs be done, you know. Plus these animals and gardens are my thing, for the most part. If they get an animal themselves or plant an area of the garden themselves then they are responsible but the regular family chores are divided. My 12 year old would rather, usually, do the dishes then go feed the goats. So that's what I let her do (plus I love doing outside chores and seeing my animals). Basically since my kids were your kids age, in the morning, I look around and see what needs to be done. We talk about the chores and divide them up. For the most part, it's worked for us. None of us do the same chores all the time but all of us get to scrub toilets and muck the barns on occasion.

That's not to say we haven't had *plenty* of days just like yours!!! You are not alone.
 

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12 year old on a farm used to have a full complement of chores that didn't require really heavy lifting, etc. I rode a horse first time when I was barely 4 and drove a tractor as soon as I was tall enough to reach both steering wheel and pedals :) Though obviously I was never just left alone to play with dangerous tools and machinery - it was always with adults around...
 

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We also made it easier by having a complete set of rabbit waterers in a bucket in the house that is filled up the night before and they just change them out. Ours only need to be changed once a day unless it is frozen.

Same goes for the chickens. We have a 5 gallon waterer that is kept in the basement and one up in the barn. They fill up and swap out. Makes it a lot easier for them.
Great point Rose! When things are set up really cobbled together and the chores are twice as hard as they should be, it's a recipe for disaster when you send kiddos out. This is an area that my husband has helped a lot, setting things up in a more efficient manor.
 

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I can relate. somedays my boys drive me nuts. They whine about keeping their rooms clean enought so I can walk through and to pick up a coat is just so hard! My kids are 9 and 6.5. We have just moved so the animals are not up in full swing..no chickens or rabbits just goats so the outside chores are somewhat minimal. They are still old enough to do basic chores ( take laundry to room, sepoerate lights/darks, wipe a table, gather trash bags...and the older one can do more than the younger one.

I can't have them work on a project together or it is a mess. Older brother does it all while little one does nothing( why work big bro will take care of it) or they spend so much time fussing that it is done wrong or not at all.

I make them work at chores by them self and there is a time limit and if they want a snack or treat it must be finished before.

Last but not least.... The more miserable they make my life by griping, moaning, doing a job wrong or being a pill the job list will increase because if "Mom ain't happy then NO ONE will be happy" I promise! I can go on strike and do everyso often.

I am the Mom (read life teacher and guidance councler) NOT the house MAID. I don't wait on slobs. They will respect my time and energy levels. My future DIL will not be able to say they don't know how to keep a house,yard and farm (if they so choose).
 

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We put our three sons names on tags that were placed on the calendar. The placement rotated every Sunday and you knew what chores were yours. Some weeks you didn't have a lot to do and on some weeks you had more to do. There wasn't any fight between the boys since they couldn't argue about what chores were theirs to do. Besides, they would have to argue with their mother and/or me! :mad: :flame:

Watching TV; riding their bikes; leaving the yard; going to some place special are all priviledges. If you didn't do what was "your job" you may have the priviledge of doing some thing extra work such as yard work. :D One son argued about mowing the grass. Finally, I told him he didn't have to mow the grass. He said, "GOOD". Then I said, "But you don't eat until you do"! He mowed the grass. :p

The list of chores was posted on the fridge next to the calendar. End of arguement.
 

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We have used a rotating chore system for many years. I plan it out for the entire year in advance. Kadia messed that up this year by getting married in October!! LOL

Anyways everyone just does whatever is on the calendar. When my kids were younger, that is until they were about 7 or so, Cale or I did the feeding with them showing them exactly what needed to be done to do the job properly. After that they were able to do it on their own although sometimes we will be outside and help out just to be nice. My kids all like animals and don't complain, unless it is really cold outside, then they might complain but they still do it.
 

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I'd have one do his chores before breakfast and the other after breakfast. No one to fight with, blame, or play with and I suspect the work would go faster.
 

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WE started a rotation after we USED to have daily switch ups... and always heard " ITS NOT MY DAY" sooo, we said ok, from now on.. you get this chore for a week and the first time we hear "ITS NOT MY DAY" you get ALL chores for that week! ( HAVENT heard it once!!!)

I have two girls 11 and 9

ONE does the WHOLE kitchen ( dishes/counters/floors)
While the other does:
ALL animals Feed/water all cats/dogs/chickens. Clean up cat litter/dog poo and then let chickens in and out.

Then on our "CLEANING" day (sunday for us)
DD1 does Livingroom(straighten/dust/remove toys), dining room (same)
DD2 does Bathroom ( cleans/disinfects/sweep/mop) (bathroom is tiny!)
WE JUST recently switched that up, cause they were getting complacent in their "cleaning"

IF chores arent done they dont get "friends" over or calls. Home work is 1st chores 2nd.
ALSO the talking back... whining gets you 1/2 hr lost off your bed time ( ex if they go to bed at 8, whining gets ya 7:30 bed time) EACH WHINE!! THEY realize quickly!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I am reading all of this with interest, but wanted to comment on a couple things, since so many mentioned it...........


<<<<Kids do chores best and easiest when accompanied by an adult. Sending them into the cold to do chores on their own is a recipe for disaster.

P.S. I like Sancraft's idea as well. The idea of having them do it separately is something we try to do here. That way, they have different goals and pretty much HAVE to work to them separately, without all the jawing and shoving>>>>


Unfortunately, there isn't any choice right now. The baby is only six months old and I would NOT leave her alone up at the house with the rest of the kids if I had to go with one older boy. There are six kids, ages 12, 9, 7, 4, 2 and 6 months. I wouldn't feel comfortable with that. When the baby is older, maybe. It's what I used to do when the two year old was younger. I sat them all in front of PBS and went with one boy. But not yet, now.

And I can't think of a way to separate them, either. There are some things only the older can do--like haul the water buckets. And during milking time, two people really need to be there. Any ideas on separating the work are welcome, though.....I can't think of a way to do it.

Keep it coming......I'm reading!

Dee
 

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OK, for seperating.
Have one do the MORNING (oldest) and one do the after lunch...that way there is no chance to fight.. AND if need be... have OLDEST go out BEFORE breakfast and do the watering, and then send out the other for the other chores..

NOw when milking comes.. thats a different story.. maybe have them do the "CHORES" and then give them a time limit on the milking... and if not done right. they loose anything they like to do ( tv, ect)


OR for feed/water chickens.. do what we did... Get 2 5 gallon buckets and 2 "horse" bowls... invert the water (with small holes drilled in the lip) so that it fills like a "water bottle" for the rabbits (only needs to be filled 3 x a week or so).. and for the food. SAME thing Invert bucket w/ a "HOLE SAW" size whole drilled out (2 sides) fill it 2x a week here ( for 20 chickens) IF YOU NEED better instructions PM me i will be glad to help there!!!! it works for our girls!!
 

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Well it wont make life easier for you - but here is what we do at home. We have chickens, dogs, and horses all require chores to be done twice per day. They are all 4H projects for our son and horses are mine to enjoy. I go out every day to help with AM chores so we get to school on time. DS is 10 this year. Chores take about 30 minutes to complete and it is more fun with someone else out there. That said we do have days he whines, complains, pitches a fit and has me ready to lock him in the chicken coop for the day! Ok not really but there are times I think it would be easier to just go out myself.

However! We have a rule in my house. If the animals are not fed and watered -- you are not fed or watered. Sounds mean to some I know. But at age 10 he is old enough to know those animals require food, water, and his care. They can not simply walk to the fridge and get something to eat.

Before you ask - no I have not sent him to school hungry. He never spends more than 5-10 minutes complaining that he is hungry and wants something to eat before he realizes mom is not giving in and goes out to complete chores - oh his own at this point since I was ready to go out first thing and he chose to complain.
 

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I like some of the ideas here. So far DS is compliant, but the whining/balking is beginning.
We go by the "priviledge/rights' ideal. He has a right to food etc... but everything else is a priviledge. Everyone here works to make the household and farm work. And he is of the age now that skipping a meal wouldn't kill him. (never had to not feed him, though:))
I like the ticket idea a lot! We may start implementing something similar.
 
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