I’m often asked by harried moms for a list of chores that kids can do. Not surprisingly, these requests spike during summer vacation when so many kids view any unscheduled moment as cause to complain about having nothing to do. Mom, meanwhile, often finds that “vacation” means twice as much cooking and cleaning.
Personally, I have little sympathy for “bored” kids. Quite the opposite, as a matter of fact: I think boredom is important because it gives kids a reason to think for themselves and explore their world. But I think it’s just as important they learn to help around the house, and that there’s no valid reason to be bored if there’s a chore that needs to be done. That’s an essential life-skill, and the earlier a child learns to earn playtime by first being productive, the better.
Besides, giving kids chores to do helps give Mommy a much-needed break.
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So I keep the following list taped to my fridge.
Make (or help make) the bed.
Pick up toys, books and games.
Pick up dirty clothes and put in hamper.
Take dirty towels to hamper.
Feed the cats.
Shake out the Welcome Mat.
Shake out the car’s floor mats.
Straighten sofa pillows.
Stack magazines neatly.
Strip bed linens.
Empty the bathroom trash can.
Wipe smudges off of doors.
Set the table.
Straighten book shelves.
Dust mop the floor.
Wipe cupboard fronts.
Sort the recycling.
Water container plants.
Fold kitchen dish towels.
Wipe down bathroom sinks and faucets.
Clean their room.
Make Mommy’s martini
Okay, that last one I’m not willing to trust my teenager with just yet, but my college graduate daughter should have it down any day now!