As we wait for the water to boil for our whole wheat penne rigate, I planned to sit down and write a post about Aidan helping me in the kitchen and how important I think it is for kids to help out with chores…apparently, I wasn’t the only one with that plan. On Parent Hacks, they just posted a topic pointing readers to a post from Oh My Stinkin’ Heck about the same thing. They posit that kids want to help and if we, as parents, don’t encourage and help them help us, we’re hurting them more than helping them.
Aidan LOVES to help me around the house…she holds the dustpan, throws things in the trash and helps me put books on the shelf, among other things. She especially loves to help me in the kitchen. We’ve made pumpkin bread, banana bread, and today she helped with our lunch. I can give her pretty much any job, like pulling the leaves off the basil, pushing the buttons on the Cuisinart, painting the olive oil on the ciabatta bread, throwing things in the trash and putting salt in the water. She wears the same apron I wore as a child helping my mom (it’s REALLY old so I’d even bet that my mom wore it too).
I am a firm believer in children contributing to the family effort, not financially but with chores, housekeeping and cooking. When parents don’t start their kids early with tasks and chores around the house, its next to impossible to get them to start doing them when they’re teenagers. For example, I know a family that has 3 teenaged children, when the 2 oldest were in middle school the father decided that the 3 needed to start earning their (rather generous) allowance. Getting those 3 kids to do their chores was like pulling teeth. Now, several years later, the kids do basically nothing and the parents do all the work…but the kids still get their allowance. This won’t happen in our house. When I was young, my brother and I alternated nights cleaning off the table and sweeping and loading the dishwasher and wiping off the counters. We knew that we had to do our assigned job after dinner, regardless of how much homework we had or other things to do.