My house is a wreck. This is nothing new, and I should be used to it by now. Barbie dolls, rubber ducks, and cloth blocks are scattered from room to room. The kitchen table is covered with mail, cups and empty plastic bags. Puff cereal, stuck to Lil Ma's clothes from her last meal, falls to the floor as she walks.
The neat freak in me will not let it go. Clutter makes me restless. Before I can settle down for the night, I walk through the house, trying to get it into a tolerable state. Sometimes, it takes longer than I'd like.
As I watched Mini Me push a pile of toys to one side of the floor, I had an epiphany. She is old enough for chores!
So, instead of running around like a mad person with a garbage bag tied to her waistband (yes, this is how I clean), I spent five minutes writing up a list of quick chores that my eight-year-old daughter can accomplish.
1. Picking up toys. It only takes my daughter a couple of minutes to pick up the toys from our family room floor and toss them into nearby bins. As soon as Lil Ma understands the phrase "clean up time," I'm going to have her join in.
2. Emptying the trash. It's up to Dad to get the garbage to the curb, but Mini Me can empty the bins in our bedrooms and bathrooms once a week.
3. Loading and unloading the dishwasher. We have a good system of placing a dish in the washer immediately after use, but that system falls apart when the washer is full of clean dishes. Mini Me knows better than Hubby on where things go, so there's no reason she can't lend a hand.
4. Sweeping/vacuuming. She's tall enough now!
5. Putting away laundry. This is one of my least favorite chores, so I'm more than happy to pass this along.
6. Really cleaning her room. For too long, I've let her get away with cramming papers and toys under her bed. She is old enough now to decide what stays and what goes.
Now that we have the list, Hubby and I have to be consistent and patient. I'll admit, I occasionally have to stop myself from fussing or redoing her work. The surprise for me was that my daughter wanted extra responsibility. I think it makes her feel more grown up. And, with the exception of putting away laundry, she seems to like it. I'm not sure how long that part of it will last, but I'll enjoy it while it does.