Long time devoted reader Sabz ponders: When did you start your kids on helping around the house? For ex, what would be some chores for a 5 yo? Do you give allowances? Have you considered publishing a cookbook aimed at busy families (that's more of a suggestion than question actually) What tips can you give for cleaning/organizing shortcuts? What's your yet-untaken dream vacation?
Lots and lots and lots to ponder in this question. I'll take the easiest one first. I do not pay for chores. This is a bone of contention for my kids - obviously - and also for my husband - on occasion. I don't pay people to do the work that makes our home a happy and functional place to be. No one pays me to scrub the mold out of the dish drainer (all together now, Euuuuuwwwww) or to separate and fold 917,843 loads of wash - especially those clothes that were put BACK into the hamper when they were still clean and folded from before.
I may or may not be on a bit of a tear lately with this one. I'll never tell.
The last one is still a work in progress for me.
My youngest is 8 and the next youngest is 9, so I can't name chores for a five year old because I can't REMEMBER that far back. Maybe someone else can let us know what their 5 year old does. But I sure can tell you what an 8 and 9 year old do.
Right now, they have to make their beds every day, keep their room picked up, help separate the vast mountain of wash (which includes learning the very important life skill that underpants are not funny, yo), put away their own wash CORRECTLY - huge area of contention for me and one that I will harp on to death (simply because I'm NOT hunting through your bureau when you can't find your pants), unload the dishwasher (as a tag team, usually with a third person), and wipe the counters and table top.
They also rotate through vacuuming rooms, wiping the bathroom counter down, sweeping the kitchen and put away towels/wash cloths/kitchen towels. They help with setting the table, putting away the groceries and they pack their own lunches and snacks most days. Everyone has to clear their own place and put it in the dishwasher and if it doesn't fit, they have to wash them.
Incidentally, the other kids have to do these things as well. I'm not running a slave ring for preteen girls over here - but everyone has to do their fair share.
Cookbook? I've actually thought about it, but as the majority of the recipes I use aren't mine, as in I've borrowed them from other people - it'd be a total work of plagarism and I have zero desire to deal with that. I did see a really cool website that I'm thinking about utilizing - apparently you can create your own book and add recipes to it, and then have it printed to have at home. I think that would be better than my usual method of bringing the laptop or iPad into the kitchen to stare at the recipes, lol.
Organization tips? Put things AWAY. Do as much as you can for the next day the night before. Have a place for everything and get into the habit of putting it there. I get very frustrated looking for your keys/shoes/books and they aren't on the hook/on the shoe shelf/on the desk where they belong. (Incidentally, Emma's had her glasses a week and we've had FOUR out and out "the glasses are lost and it took us at least and hour to find them" dramatic evenings.) If you use a lot of something, keep extras available. I find a lot of peace with white boards that I can write notes to myself on, and bulletin boards that I can tack stuff to - and cubbies for pens/pencils/glue/highlighters/white out etc.
Dream vacation? There's actually two.
I'd love to go to Scotland and Ireland one day.
I'd also love to go to a Caribbean resort, completely paid for by someone else, totally by myself - and read and sleep and exercise and drink and read and sleep again and again. For an entire week. And talk to no one and just be able to veg out totally and completely. :)
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