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Getting a Jump on Summer Chores

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Having the Kids Pitch In Will Make Summer More Fun for Every Member of the Family

School’s out and it’s time for fun! Sounds great, doesn’t it? The problem is that “fun” isn’t really possible without some work. Sheets and towels still need to be washed. Meals need to be made. The refrigerator needs to have food in it… and no one wants to live in a permanent pigsty.

Summer is a lot more “fun” FOR everyone IF everyone pitches in and helps with the necessary work that needs to happen to help an average household function. Lay down some ground rules now (before the chores pile up) to make summer a time that all members of the household can enjoy. Think about the tasks that get particularly onerous in the summer. In our household, it is the huge number of glasses that can get used in a day. There have been occasions when our family of four has used over twenty glasses in a single day! Perhaps family members could be talked to about using the same glass more than once for water, for example. Another surprising summer chore that I have discovered is the number of dirty towels that accumulate. I understand that someone may want to go swimming more than once a day, but is it really necessary to grab a fresh towel every time? You get the picture. Pausing for a moment to think about how we use, dirty and treat everyday household items can be a lifesaver. It’s not only considerate to the person tasked with the cleaning of all these household items, but it is less wasteful and better for the environment.

Also important is the delegation of household duties. Every household is different and it is worth taking a moment to think about what will work best for your family. I tend to use the “camp model” in which from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. we all do our chores and then go off together to do something fun, as an example. In your household, it may work better to give household members more flexibility and ask that something get finished by the end of the day, once a week, etc. I have found that it helps to have lists and something tangible to use as a measure. Otherwise, it is often Mom or Dad asking for the same thing to be done over and over. We all know how much fun that is. Having kids learn do their part in the house is essential for many reasons- empathy, consideration, conscientiousness, learning basic life skills, etc.

Last but not least, there is allowance. I am a believer that chores not only need to be done, but done well, and that allowance is a reward for work well done. Other families do not make allowance contingent upon work. It is a personal decision and, again, is worth thinking through thoroughly to discover what will work best for your family.

With any luck, you can get a jump on summer drudgery and chores and come up with a plan that will make summer a fun, rewarding, educational, memorable time for the whole family.

[AUTHOR: Hilary Doubleday]

May 11, 2016

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