"A chore is something that we do to help the whole family."
-- L. Elizabeth Krueger, author of Raising Godly Tomatoes
It wasn't that long ago that I finally realized two very important things. The first is that the girls are actually old enough (and have been for quite some time now, actually) to have some responsibilities around the house, and the second is that I am not Super-woman and I don't need to be, either. Shortly after this realization, the word "chore" became a part of our daily vocabulary!
We started simply. Every morning before breakfast, the girls are all three required to get dressed and brush their hair, and make their beds. Then Macey takes the bathroom garbage downstairs and replaces the liner, and Jaela takes the dirty laundry basket from their room to the laundry room (Anya's job is to help her if it is overflowing.)
Whenever the dishwasher is clean, I call all three girls to help empty it. Lately, Isaak has taken over the assignment of putting away the silverware and utensils, and he actually has developed a pretty good grasp of which drawers things go in! The hard part is then filling the dishwasher with one hand and trying to prevent him from putting the dirty silverware and utensils away with the other! :) His desire to help combined with how well he completes his self-appointed task have made me begin to question WHEN. If he does this task so well and eagerly at 17 months, when do I begin to give him ACTUAL responsibilities...chores of his own? Not TOO soon, but then again, does he need to know that it's not necessarily supposed to be fun? :)
All three girls take care of their own laundry. I wash and dry it, then sort it into their baskets for them to fold, hang up and put away. It sometimes takes them a while to get their basket emptied, but the system has worked well so far! I'm thinking that they might be ready for some new challenges. As capable as my children have proven themselves to be so far, the possibilities are endless! :)