Kids are out of school and the weather is warm. For most mom's that means figuring out a summer schedule that balances fun, work, and relaxation and keeps the kids from saying the most irritating words possible. "I'm bored!"
Now don't get me wrong, I'm all for making summer fun lists and having a good time with my kids, but the first list I make every summer is their job chart. Summer gives me a chance to give my kids a little extra responsibility and teach them about the benefits of hard work and the rewards that follow, like a day at the lake or a bike ride to get ice cream.
Not all jobs have to be a chore though. Even though I want my kids to learn how to clean and work together as a family, I also want them to be well rounded individuals, so I add some things to the chore chart each day that are more for teaching opportunities than plain old servitude. These are a few of my favorite ideas, but don't think that we actually do all of them everyday. I'm not super mom!
#1 Practicing. Something. Anything. Plenty of kids practice the piano every day, but what about the kids that don't play an instrument? I think it is so important for kids to have that thing that they are good at. Something that gives them a little boost of self confidence. I send my two non piano playing kids outside everyday to practice shooting baskets, but your kids might like chess or even hula hooping. Find out what they want to learn and make them practice!
#2 Stretching. It's so important for kids to learn how to take care of their bodies and I had always focused on my kids getting enough exercise outside and eating healthy foods, but it wasn't until last summer that started having them stretch in the mornings. I can't remember how it came about, but I realized one day that not only could my son not touch his toes, but he could barely sit down with his legs stretched out in front of him. Now we sit in a circle every morning and each person has a chance to lead the others in a stretch of their choice. I usually end up picking touch the toes since it's everyone's least favorite and they try to avoid it.
#3 Dinner Night. During the school year, dinner time is so hectic because of homework and after school activities that I'm completely frazzled and in no mood for helpers in the kitchen. During the quieter summer months though, it's a perfect time to have the kids help out and learn some basics in the kitchen. That does not mean that I'm up for four helpers in the kitchen at the same time though. Assigning each of the kids a dinner night means less stress and a nice chance for one on one time. That is of course if I can manage to keep the other's out of the kitchen!
#4 Reading. To themselves or to a younger sibling. My oldest daughter likes to pretend she's a teacher reading to her young students.
#5 Play Store. This is a great activity for all kids, but especially those between 1st and 4th grade who are learning about money in school and how to make change. All you have to do is round up some small bills and change and set up a spot where you kids can take turns being the cashier. Have the other kids pick a toy they want to "buy" and watch math practice become fun.
If you have any other great ideas for fun chores, please share!