Just to give you a jump start of ideas that you can have your kids help you with around the house, following is a list of the “jobs” my kids do around our house on a daily basis.
Clean up their own Quiet Time area
Sweep the kitchen
Collect the trash from around the house and take it outside
Vacuum the Living Room
Vacuum the stairs
Load the dishwasher
Wipe down the bathroom counters and toilet with Clorox wipes
Take out the recycling
Empty the baskets at the top and bottom of the stairs
Every one of these jobs used to be done by me. Then one day it hit me that if my kids helped out and I gave them something important to do, it would make them feel needed and it would lighten my load. As they say, “Many hands make light work!”
These are the jobs that get done daily, but there are also a few others that get added in and out depending on the day. Every single one of my kids can do these jobs–even when my littlest was younger, he pitched in just as much as everyone else. Some of his jobs I had to modify. For example, since the vacuum was taller than he was, he did a different job. He made sure all of the shoes were straightened in our entry way. It’s all about being creative and finding something for the kids to do that helps out the greater good of the family and makes them feel needed. It’s all in how you present it to your children. Even straightening shoes can be viewed as imperative to the family if you frame it correctly.
Another resource to help you in this area, if you are not feeling particularly creative, is a book that I am re-reading right now called, “What Every Child Should Know Along the Way” by Gail Martin. It gives a very exhaustive list of age appropriate things kids can do. Most of them are realistic but there are a few here and there that I felt were either too old or too young for my kids. For example, the book says that an 8-year-old should be able to iron flat things. Ha ha ha! I can’t even imagine my 8-year-old daughter ironing! Frankly, she’d have to dust it off and someone other than me would have to teach her how to use it because her mother never uses it unless her life depends on it! In all seriousness, I would feel uncomfortable with her using a hot iron at this point so I will wait on that until later. I mainly use the list as a spring board for ideas on what I potentially could expect from my children.
As you go throughout your day today, I encourage you to make mental list of the things that you do that could be transferred to your children. They are not slave labor, but they are a part of a family and in the spirit of teamwork, they all need a part!