I believe in Child Labor

After The Flash tragically broke my $40 necklace, I was irate. I stomped so hard on the ground that I hurt my hip for 2 days. If I had super powers, I probably would have broken through our wood floor.

When Professor X and I had calmed down, we decided on a consequence that seemed somewhat fitting of the crime.

The Flash had to pay Professor X one hour of manual labor for the hour he spent fixing the necklace.

And he had to play me one hour of manual labor for the grief I experienced.

He was not allowed to do any fun activities (videos, playdates, etc.) until he had completed his work. He hated this idea and was eager to get his two hours out of the way. So here’s what he did:

  • folded three baskets of laundry
  • dusted the house (primarily while lying on his belly????)
  • dusted the house again (to make up for the bad job on his belly)
  • cleaned windows

But these tasks only added up to 90 minutes. What else could he do to complete his sentence?

Weed the garden of course.

At 7 in the morning. In his jammies and snow boots. With a pair of loppers. And recruit his sister to help.

I wish I could say this was a successful task, but since he pulled out exactly zero weeds, I could not count any of this time.

Alas, before the day was done he had served his time and was very happy to have it behind him.

I know that there will be many more consequences in store for him. I just need ideas as to how he can labor for us. Any suggestions?

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  1. A few ideas:
    clean the bathroom (use a spray bottle of vinegar & water so its non-toxic)
    sweep (indoors, outdoors)

  2. I have my oldest clean house too.. when home from school for well not sure I should say but suspension. One day in Grade two, and another day in grade 3 .. we are sailing through grade 4 without a day like that thank god. His day was filled with cleaning, toliets, tubs, sinks, vacuum and oh and he loves to windex. He was actually a little more co-operative for the most part but he knew he was in hot water with mama at the time. I’d usually have him make us (mommy, ashley and himself) lunch too grill cheese his specialty. I found I had to be in the room helping a bit to keep him on task.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Oh dear, I could go on forever. My mom was a slave driver, and raised us on chores, as a parenting strategy.

    He could organize your tupperware cupboard or canned good cupboard, he could have a rag and a bucket with a small amount of water and scrub floors, walls, doors, baseboards and wood work, or cabinet fronts. He could pick up sticks in the yard.

    He can certainly do dishes in some aspect, scrape plates, take out garbages . . . oh, oh . . . wash out garbage cans . . . always a fun one that needs to be done!

    Let me know if you need more. 😉


  4. Anonymous says:

    I had to add – if you organizes cupboards – he needs to take everything out and wipe them out with a rag – this can happen for drawers too – like the silverware drawer – empty – wash trays, wipe out drawer, put everything back. 😉 Very good training for a variety of other tasks in the future – like a 3D puzzle, yet easy enough even a 4 year old can pretty much do it.

  5. Oooooh…I love child labor! I make my kids clear the table, collect the trash, unload their laundry hampers, clean up their toys, vacuum, empty the dishwasher, help in the garden…but I believe boy children are pre-programmed to pretend they’re helpless so that they can evolve into helpless adult males who then stand by looking helpless while the women just sigh heavily and yell, “I’ll just DO IT then!”

  6. Anonymous/Natalie: I LOVE the organize the drawers and clean every bit of them idea! Love it! I will certainly use it in the future!

  7. lol that was so funny AND helpful….we will steal the idea and use it…..

    here are some ideas….
    wiping down the lower cupboards..it’s amazing how yucky they can get over a short amount of time

    sweeping the floors

    damo mopping

    cleaning corners with a dust buster

    cleaning our the car and using the dust buster

    drying dishes/putting them away even if it is not his turn

    sweep porches and walkways

    basically i went through my chore cards and picked out a few things a kid his size could do!

    BTW i still read your blog while my new one is being constructed!

  8. I loved this post and the great ideas from other comments. My kids have to pick weeds all the time. I’ve even had kids scrub grout with a tooth brush.

  9. pull their age in weeds (must have proof)
    clean the bathtub using non-toxic cleanser
    sort socks
    folding towels
    wipe down the baseboards and banisters
    organize and clean drawers and cupboards
    cleaning the car tires
    be responsible for their own stuff
    water potted plants (with spray bottle)

  10. Pick a job you loathe.

    I make them take out the dishes and wipe the shelves of a cupboard.

  11. My mom used to make me do the dishes, fold laundry, and clean and organize my room.

  12. Dust the kitchen cabinet doors– The ones on the bottom. Dust always collects in the corners. My mom had us do that and it is way harder than it sounds.

  13. Wash the walls, wash the cupboard doors, wash the sliding glass door, sort and sharpen pencils (throw away the small ones), clean the inside of the dishwasher (just an idea!), … have fun distributing the chore list! ~Jen

  14. I love that you make your children labor for things. I think it makes a huge difference. It’s not easy to pull weeds or do chores around the house. It is easy to sit in one’s room. 🙂

  15. haha glad to hear we’re not the only ones :).

    A lot of the ones I’d mention are already listed in the comments, so here are a couple more:

    – take out the trash (collect trash from the kitchen and bathrooms to take out)

    – pick up leaves (from the garden, can’t use a rake in there without damaging the plants so they have to do it by hand. takes forever, but has to be done every now and then)

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