Thursday, November 6, 2008

Getting it All Done Part 2: Sharing the Load

As part of our ongoing series on how to get "it" all done, I want to take a look at how we share the load. Not the bigger picture, the spiritual guidance, love and support and warm fuzzies that make the world go 'round, but rather the nuts and bolts of our daily lives. The mountain of laundry that grows without daily attendance. The dishes that never seem to jump out of the dishwasher and back to the cabinets. And the toilets, my god, the toilets (said from the woman who lives with four men).

I truly believe that children should participate in the operations of the household in which they live as soon as they are able- and it's often much earlier than we think. My own personal issue with this is that I want the job done quickly and to my standards. Children just don't do that!

Over the years I've come to terms with the fact that unless I spend several hours per day cleaning my house, it's just not going to be that clean. What I can do is teach my children some very good lessons about housekeeping and doing their fair share that will hopefully make them good roommates and husbands one day.

At our house, we're huge fans of the Swivel Sweeper, a 2 lb vacuum that even 3 year olds can use to clean up the detritus that follows any meal in a home with young children. My boys are also given "wipe up" duty with rags and Method cleaner. And from a very young age, they've been required to clear their own dishes and make their own beds.

I got some great ideas from Annys Shin's article in today's Washington Post, The ABCs of CHORES. Annys interviews local childhood development experts on appropriate levels of chores for each age group, as well as the pros and cons of linking chores to allowances. Now I'm inspired to help teach my 16 month old some chores of his own!

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