There’s a lot of talk these days about Nick Saban and his “process” for developing his team members and ultimately winning games. Well, I have a process of my own that I have found to be effective (if less profitable) in developing kids as participants in the family’s home keeping.
A few years ago I decided that I was not going to make myself a scullery maid for the family. I reached a point where I literally could not keep up and was becoming more resentful of the effort. I just played along with the fantasy that some household magic explained how, mst of the time, the clothes were clean and ready to wear, the silverware could be retrieved from the drawer without looking (salad forks in one slot, dinner forks in another), and fresh sheets were on the bed every Saturday. No one dared ask why mommy had clenched teeth and flew into screaming fits at the slightest provocation.
So it wasn’t out of a grand training plan but of true necessity that I insisted each member of the family have specific duties. It was an epiphany when I heard a wise guidance counselor advise, “Make the children think the home can’t run without them. They need to have a place and they need to know they are needed. There is nothing better for developing their self esteem and sense of responsibility.”
Now the Process has been perfected and proven itself reliable over time. Here it is:
One child does kitchen duty and one does laundry each month. Duties are swapped at the end of each month.
Kitchen duty: This person is in charge of keeping the kitchen maintained so that the family can enjoy meals and snacks in a clean and organized environment. Duties include:
- Loading dishes after meals (each individual will put his or her meal in the diswhasher if there is room)
- Wiping down the dinner table and countertops
- Sweeping the floor
- Putting leftovers in the fridge
- Running the dishwasher, if needed
- Cleaning out the sink
The biggest gauge of success with the kitchen position is keeping the sink clear. If clean dishes aren’t unloaded, there is nowhere for dirty dishes to go but into the sink to soak and wait. This makes for a messy work environment for the next meal and makes clean up harder. The best way to manage this is to unload the dishwasher each morning or before the dinner prep so there is a “clean slate” where the cook can work.