|Miss E's favourite kind of cleaning up!|
I do think it is really important to get your children helping you with the household chores from an early age. I'm not talking Dickensian style or anything - no 6 year old chimney sweeps but my 6 year old twins do set and clear the table, make their beds, tidy their playroom and much more. Not all in one day but practically every day there is something so they can feel they are contributing to the family.
In fact all my children have been helping me from an early age, Miss M has a particular love of hoovering, although our hoover as a tad big for her and with her arm cast at the moment it is not practical but she can still be involved. JJ is up for cooking and he has done full meals before, roll back to my Grandmothers time and children would have prepared the family dinner at age 10, so why not now?
We use chores as a way for the children to understand that all tasks a family have to undertake are valued and things like cleaning and cooking are not just Mummy's jobs. The house and clothes do not just miraculously clean themselves. I'd like to be able to tell you this means that the children keep things tidy as they know they are making work for us all by being messy but that would be a step too far - they are kids after all. I just have to be glad they help me sort it afterwards.
Some tasks you would assume should be off limits to a child but actually with supervision they can do most things. You need to be careful of what cleaning products you use but water and elbow grease do a great job of many things.
A couple of years back Miss M was going through quite a testing stage and she drew all over her bedroom door, I made her use some Cif and scrub it all off and when she finished about 30 minutes later she did not show any sign of remorse so off we went and she cleaned the toilet bowl too! That one did have an effect and she remembers it to this day and swears she will never want to do that again!
Of course Miss M did not have any bleach or cleaning product in the loo as she cleaned it and something like de-scaler I'd never let any of them touch but all the kids know the warning signs on the bottles and understand the implications of touching cleaning products and why they should leave them alone unless directed by a responsible adult.
I'm sure I've posted before that I actually enjoy cleaning and this does seem to be wearing off on the kids, not so much on JJ but definitely on the girls. Miss E even gets out the broom or duster and asks me if she can clean up, 'why not?' I say enthusiastically, it is one way to earn their pocket money.
How about you, do you get your kids involved in the household chored and cleaning?