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'Start as you mean to go on' is my favourite parenting mantra. This is especially so when referring to expecting the children to do their fair share of the never ending work involved in running a busy household.

Chart a list of the daily chores which you expect the kids to assist you with, and let them chose which one they will be responsible for on a daily basis- the idea being that each member of the family ticks one off every day so that you can check that the work has been done properly. Ask them to set a reminder to top up the food and drink of their pets- as you certainly don't need another job to add to the long list of mother's duties! Give them a wide range of choices- such as keeping the toilet paper and soap dispenser stocked in all of the bathrooms, vacumming the carpets and sofa's, sorting the laundry into whites, brights, darks and lights as well as loading and unloading the dishwasher. Make sure to have clear guidelines as to what each task entails- for example, beds will be inspected to check that the fitted sheet has been laid flat & taut before credit will be given for completion of the chore. Dishes need to be dried with a dishcloth and put in their proper place, while the creases in laundry need to be shaken out before hanging on the clothers horse.

Cooking is almost always greeted with enthusiasm from your budding chefs. Ask them to lend a hand with going to the corner store for the list of ingredients needed for your chosen recipe with the promise of letting them bake a dessert of their choice. Washing the car is a chance to get really messy with soap & suds, which also applies to window cleaning. Let them hose down your outdoor space and cultivate their nurturing side by giving them the responsibility to take care of the household plants.

Explaining to children that running a household requires all hands on deck can be brought home in practical ways such as having more time on the weekends to take them out for a picnic or promising to read them a bedtime story. They may not see the benefits now, but we promise you that once they fly the nest your kids will be grateful for the skills learnt with the dawning of how much time and effort is needed to keep the ship aloat! Money is also a great motivator, as kids are permanently saving up for that special bit of tech or Playmobil that they've had their eye on. Keep costs in check though, as they can escalate and get out of hand if your chidren run away with this idea! Offer 25 cents per pair of socks matched, rolled and put away and a euro for bigger jobs like taking down the various garbage bags and restocking the bins.

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Malta Baby & Kids Directory is created by mums for mums and childcarers.
Lisa Grech is the founder of the Malta Baby & Kids Directory and website. Together with Denise Briffa and Crysta Darmanin we combine work on the publication and website while bringing up lots of children (seven between us!).

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