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Homemaking School for Children
by Monica Resinger

With it being summer vacation for the kids, a lot of us may be experiencing a 
messier house than usual. A solution to this would be to give the kids daily 
chores or, what I like to call it, homemaking school. Homemaking school will 
not only help the house stay tidier, but will also give your kids valuable 
lessons in housecleaning and responsibility that they need now and later in 

As I was growing up, I didn't have many chores. All that was expected of me 
was to do the dishes after dinner and keep my room clean (which I barely did). 
Later when I got my own place, I discovered a few problems as a result of not 
learning how to do certain household tasks.

One of these problems was lack of organization. In my parent’s home as I was 
growing up, most everything was kept for later use or for sentimental value. 
Since I grew up this way, this is how I ran my household; I didn't know any 
other way. I found out after a period of time that this was not going to work 
me. My tiny apartment wasn't as big as mom and dad's house and it wasn't long 
until my place was bulging with too much stuff. It has taken me years to 
train myself to be more organized and the job is even more challenging with 
children and husband. I'm still ‘in training' and still not that organized, but 
there has been a lot of improvement. The point is that if we can begin training 
our children early, they can have an easier time when they get out on their own.

Organizing was only part of my housekeeping problems. There were many other 
things I didn't know how to do correctly that I had to teach myself. Home 
magazines were my partner through this and they helped me tremendously. 

I don't blame my mom and dad because they were doing their best at that time, 
and besides, I've learned a valuable lesson from it and that is to be sure to 
teach my kids how to do this stuff.

The most effective way for me to get my chores completed is to schedule or 
list them. This is probably the best way for the kids to get their chores done 
also. There are a couple of ways you can do this, but the first step is to 
figure out what you want each child to do.

To do this, think of age-appropriate jobs. You don't want to give a job 
that's too difficult to your child because this will end up in disagreements 
and won
‘t be worth it in the long run. You may even feel your child is too young for 
chores yet and that's perfectly fine, it's up to you when they start. If you 
feel they are ready, start thinking of what type of jobs around the house they 
could manage. The way I do this is to look at my own chore schedule and try 
to imagine my kids doing each chore. If I can't imagine it, they probably 
aren't ready for it yet.

Younger children are perfect candidates for dusting and wiping. They can wipe 
lower kitchen cabinets or dust low bookshelves. They can pick up stray items 
from rooms if shown where to put the items away; after a while, they will 
learn where everything goes. If they don't do it perfectly at first, let it go, 
they will get better as time goes on. The important thing is that they are 
learning to keep house and help mom keep it clean.

Older children can do dishes after dinner and pick up the dinner mess. They 
can dust the higher stuff. Mopping floors, disinfecting the toilet, sweeping 
porches, vacuuming, cooking they can do most everything you can if shown how.

Once you have decided what you want your children to do as chores, you can 
make up a chore schedule or list either by hand or on the computer. You can 
it as a table with days of the week going across the top and the chores 
listed down the page. It could be just a simple list hanging on your 
by a magnet. Or, you could make a fancy, colorful list from a computer program 
that can be hung in a frame. The list can be laminated so it can be used over 
and over. One final idea is to get a dry erase board or chalkboard and write 
chores on these. The important thing is to get it written down. This will serve 
as a reminder to you and the kids.  

Once you have established which chores each child will be doing, it's 
important to show them the correct way to do each task. It may take a few times 
showing them, but they will get it right eventually, so don't give up.

If you'd like you can pay them. Some people feel children shouldn't be paid 
for chores because children should learn they are part of the household and it‘
s their responsibility to help out. Some people feel it's fine to pay children 
for the work they do. One important note here is if you decide to pay them, 
be sure they know they won't get paid for EVERYTHING you ask them to do. They 
do need to know that they are part of the household and they need to do their 
part. Paying children for chores is up to the family and based on their 
particular values, don't let someone else decide this for you. How much you pay 
is also up to you.

Remember, chores are really life lessons for our children. Think of it as 
homemaking school.

Check out Monica's Chore Schedules that have the following 4 printable 
schedules made up in a table format (like a calendar) so once a chore is 
it can be checked off for that time: Daily, Weekly, Monthly and 1, 2 or 3 
times a year.  Includes a way to have a fun family chore race so your family 
have fun quality time together and get the house cleaned at the same time and 
more!  Click here for details:
Get Monica's FREE weekly e-zine for homemakers!  Each issue includes a home & 
garden article, delicious recipes and more! To subscribe, just send a blank 
e-mail to:  [EMAIL PROTECTED]

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