Today I’m happy to introduce guest blogger Cindy Ward. Cindy is the mother of three boys, ages 6, 4 and 2 — so we know she could use all the help with chores she can get! I thought her suggestion regarding giving her kids new “responsibilities” with each birthday was so smart. Thanks, Cindy, for sharing this!
We give our kids a new chore (although, we call them “responsibilities”) on their birthday. The logic goes that as you get older you’re capable of doing more things and should be able to help out more around the house. They’re pretty eager to prove to us that they can do these bigger things, and we get the chance to prepare them for real life.
So far, I’ve tried to come up with things they can do for themselves. This way each kid has the same expectations for the same age (always trying to keep things fair…). Here’s what we’ve done so far:
3 years: Put your dirty clothes in the hamper. (I safety pinned ribbon pieces to the hamper sides so they know how to sort properly.)
4 years: Carry your dishes over from the table after every meal.
5 years: Brush your teeth, comb your hair and get dressed independently. (Even though they could do these things earlier, it became their job so I don’t need to nag before school. Kindergarten seemed like a good time to start these good habits.)
6 years: Make your own bed in the morning.
Our family also has a special “boy of the day.” This kid gets privileges and additional responsibilities. He gets to have his story read first, gets to pick the fruit for lunch, etc. – but is also responsible for feeding the dogs, setting the table, running upstairs when I forgot the baby’s diaper, etc. (If I gave one kid the job of feeding the dogs – something they love to do, or the job of getting his teeth brushed first – something they fight us on, I’d never hear the end of it.)
This lets them take turns with the “fun” and “not-so-fun” jobs, and has ended lots of squabbling around our house. It also keeps me from relying on my oldest when I need help. (He’s the fastest, needs the least direction and it’s easy to go to him for an extra hand. But he was starting to resent being asked all the time, and the other two didn’t have the same serving heart.) It lets everyone help out mom and get the praise.
P.S. Kathy here again. Just wanted to let you know that Cindy is also the creator of Milkshake Nursing Covers. Check ‘em out! These adorable cover-ups are perfect for nursing when you’re out and about, and they’re affordable and come in lots of cute patterns.