Okay, my actual C word is "chores," but that word just depresses me. A chore can be defined as "a hard or unpleasant task." I don't know about you, but calling work around the house a chore doesn't exactly inspire me to want to do it.
For that reason, I decided this summer to change my vocabulary. Robb and I sat the small people down and talked with them about the importance of them helping out around the house. There are so many things that need to be done around the house, and between homeschooling and running the small people to their various activities, it is
One of those responsibilities is laundry. My 5 active small people create a lot of laundry. Soccer and softball practices, ballet rehearsals, and outside play times cause a never-ending need to run the washing machine, usually 3 or 4 loads a day. The 3 oldest children are now responsible for doing the laundry produced by them and their roommate one day each week. (The Boy gets off easy; he doesn't share a room, so he only has to do his own laundry.) The 2 smaller ones are capable of sorting, folding, and putting away their laundry. I'm in the process of teaching Little Red to use the washing machine and dryer, so she'll be picking up a day to do laundry soon.
Vacuuming, sweeping, dusting, cooking, and cleaning bathrooms are other responsibilities that they are able to help with. I look at this as a win-win situation. I get the help I need keeping the house in decent condition, and they learn valuable life skills. I don't have to worry about them bringing all their laundry home for me to do when they're in college because they don't know how to do it themselves. (They may still bring it all home because they don't want to spend the money to use the laundromat, but at least I know I won't be the one doing it when they bring it to my house.)
Don't get me wrong, my children don't throw a party because it's time to clean the bathroom, but I am seeing a change in their attitude toward helping around the house. Being in a family is like being on a team, and every member of the team has to contribute in order to have success.