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January 11, 2013
Creative Living
Healthy Comfort Foods that are Delicious and Nutritious
by Dian Thomas

With the New Year comes the opportunity to delegate household responsibilities. I remember as a high school student this happened in our home. My mother decided that she would go back to teaching and so she did not have as much time to do the housework.

My parents decided that it was time for each one of us to step up and help more at home. We had four kids at home so the first thing they did was to assign us a night to prepare a meal. We were to turn in to our mother on Saturday morning a list of the foods that we needed and then my mother would buy the groceries that day. As I remember, one brother always fixed pizza on his night; the other brother fixed hamburgers. You could tell which day it was by the food that was served that evening for dinner.

My mother also had a very clever way to have dinner prepared on Sundays. She had a plan for the meal and early Sunday morning she would write the menu on the chalkboard. If there were six people that would be there for dinner, she would plan to have six assignments. She did not make the assignment for the meal. It was each family member’s responsibility to sign up for what they wanted to do. The first person to the board always signed up for the easiest item. There was an incentive to get there early so you were not stuck with the most difficult assignment.

Delegating tasks to be done by children will probably take more time in the beginning as you set up the plan and make the assignment. Children need to first learn how to do the tasks. Parents need to help children learn to do a task thoroughly by working with them the first few times they do it. It is good to work side by side with the child until they get all the steps down for the job that is assigned. It is helpful to write out each step of the job and then post the card on an inside door where the task will be done. For example, if cleaning the sinks is the assignment, you might write the following on a card:

  1. Take all items off the counters.

  2. Get out clean cloths and cleanser.

  3. Wet one of the cloths with warm water.

  4. Wipe the counters.

  5. Put cleanser in sink and clean with wet cloth.

  6. With another dry cloth wipe down sink, taps, and counter.

  7. Put item that were on the counter back in place.

Task charts can also be made so that the children have a place to check off their assignment when they are finished. Place the names of the children down the left side of a sheet of paper and have a square for each day of the week across the top. Then assignments can go in the appropriate square. Tasks are checked off as they are done.

The end benefit of the project is that everyone is trained to do the different jobs and, when they get old enough and leave home, they are ready to keep an efficient and well-managed home.

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