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Katy England Katy England
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Doing my bidding

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Ever since it became generally known that I was having triplets, people have made reference to the fact that I will have minions to do my bidding. Unfortunately, that hasn't happened yet.

Because I'm not a wicked witch, I can't just wave my broom and watch the kiddos do chores. I have to show them. That inevitably means I have helpers. But 'helpers' isn't the right word for what's going on there.

When I was the dishes, everyone wants to wash the dishes and there isn't enough room for four people to get elbow deep in water at the sink. When I cook, everyone wants to cook and having one toddler trying to stir the sauce is enough to give me an early heart attack.

But I want them to help, and I want them to be involved so I'm turning to divide and conquer. I need to find two 'safe' jobs for every fun and dangerous job in the house. Then I have to convince three that the 'safe' jobs are, in fact, fun and awesome (and maybe even a little deadly, because that's what makes them fun).

I'm hoping to get them to be better cleaners. They've proven they can tear the house apart, but we're going to one up the king's horses and men and see if my kids can put it back together again. Not the whole thing, mind you, but internet searches have indicated that kids like having chores. And I've even gotten that feedback from my own children.

We've been giving them responsibilities. Carry your bowl out into the dining room. Throw your scraps into the trash. Help wipe up the milk you spilled. Little things. And they like doing them - so much so that all three of them will start clamoring for their responsibilities.

So I aim to give them more. And hopefully some of them will stick.

When you first start giving your kids work, you are in reality giving yourself more work. They aren't washing the dishes they are throwing soapy water over the clean ones. They aren't sweeping so much as taking the pile of dirt you made with the broom and redistributing it throughout the kitchen. They aren't cooking, but seeing what happens when you add a fine patina of flour to the entire house.

But you have to look at the long game on this one. Building a hut is all well and good, but if you lay a good foundation, you can have a house with internal plumbing. It's more work, but it's so worth it. At least, that's what I've been told.

And the internet has also indicated that it's never too early to start. One of the most helpful articles I found was from Keeper of the Home (keeperofthehome.org). One of the key points that I walked away with was the jobs you give your kids don't have to be real jobs meaning you can invent a chore (an example was having the kids wipe off the cabinets). I can't wait to invent more fake chores.

So far the mini dustpans and brooms have been a hit. Nothing is cleaner, but they really like the idea of having responsibilities. And I enjoy the dream of them possibly cleaning something someday.

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