Rebecca Reid, author and mum-of-four from Bangor has started giving out chores…

Do you remember during childhood when your mum would open your bedroom door, stare into your room with horror and then simply close it again without a word? Well I do. She had a very simple approach with her children – do not force them to tidy their room, but do give them responsibilities outside of it. And now I am doing the same.

I have always had the ‘tidy-up time’ rule in our house, from they were as old as from they could walk, and they are generally very good at tidying away after themselves – which is fantastic. Now, don’t get me wrong. They still need the odd word of encouragement (especially if they have friends over) but overall they are great. The thing is, there are times when as a mummy you wonder why you are slogging over the stove, cleaning the house, emptying the bins, doing the washing, setting the table… need I go on? The list is endless. But you do sometimes wonder why you are doing it when most of the time it seems no one notices. They don’t notice all the clean laundry in their wardrobe. They don’t wonder who set the table, or how the dishes got clean enough to use again. Well, I began to think it was the right time to break the tough news that there is in fact no magic house fairy (although I do so wish there was and if you have one, please share her with me). Nope, the only house fairy around here, is me. Just Mummy, doing her survival thing… and the time of change had come.

I soon realised that when little people get small jobs to do, they can then appreciate that being part of a family, really means taking part IN the family – and they love it. How did I manage it I hear you ask? This is how. We all sat down and wrote a big list of the things that get done every day around the house. Then, I asked each of them to pick something they would like to do. Now this bit was funny. No, my six-year-old could probably not empty the kitchen bin and no, the eight-year-old most definitely couldn’t light the fire. But there were little things that they could do. And after a few squabbles about who got what task, they all settled very nicely into having two or three morning jobs each. From setting the table, to bringing in the fire lighters and sticks. They share curtain opening and take turns with the blue bin run. And the biggest surprise? They are actually asking for more! Well, not all of them but as they say two out of three isn’t bad.

It’s wonderful to see them taking such pride in helping. Watching them do their jobs with pride, overjoyed with being part of the life of the house, and it means making the school lunches and breakfast is now much less of a rushed affair. Give it a go in your home, I would highly recommend it!

Come on over to Rebecca’s Facebook Food Blog @freshfoodliving
for lots of easy, healthy recipes for you and your family.

Heather Black

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