My daughter is finishing up her first year of school. She seems to enjoy it and is keeping up in class as far as I can tell. It is often stressed that it is a good idea to read to your children. Miraculously over the course of the year, my daughter is reading. This means 3 nights a week, I am helping her read a book. Usually this took around 10 minutes. This week they are reading a grade 2, Level N book that is close to 800 words. The first night we read it took 30 minutes. Last night it took 20 minutes. I don’t mind spending this amount of time with my kids, but I wonder where the bar is.
The unfortunate effect is that I feel like I am neglecting to nurture my preschooler. While kids never get the exact same amount of time, money, food, toys, etc, I like to think over a long enough timeline it balances out. I am not even concerned about keeping things fair. My real goal is to not undermine my family’s interests.
These interests will continue to diversify and become more time consuming down the road. School and extracurricular activities will expand and the home will not be easier to maintain.
When the girls were first born, we depended on outsourcing housekeeping and lawn maintenance in order to preserve our sanity. We even catered food on a regular basis. Now I believe it is time to tap a resource that has at times boundless energy. I am going to start giving the girls chores. They already help around the house, but it is time to formalize it. I want them to be self motivated and self sufficient as kids, teenagers and adults.
I need to set a good example. I set out on household chores ad hoc when the level of cleanliness and organization is below what I feel comfortable with. For me that is about a monthly cycle. For others it may be weekly or even more frequently. My go forward plan is to have them clear the table and load the dishwasher on days we eat at home. I will clean the rest of the kitchen. They can get clothes into the hampers and I will wash them. They can get toys picked up and I will vacuum. I hate making beds so I really can’t push this on my kids yet.
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