Sometimes it’s good to break out of the regular chore routine, to erase “sweep the kitchen” from the white board and write in something like “tidy up the back porch.” It’s good to assign certain tasks to certain children, who have talents that might come in handy for the job.
And when you do, you will be rewarded with a job well done by a child who will moan, groan, sigh and roll her eyes when she’s asked to take out the recycle bucket or sweep the kitchen–chores which take well under five minutes each. But if you ask her to tidy up the porch, she will ask if that means she can rearrange the furniture too, and spend an hour out there moving chairs, arranging Tonka trucks around the perimeter, and coming back inside to ask you where the cleaner is so she can wash the table. She will thoughtfully place your favorite chair under your favorite tree (OK, the only tree) in the backyard “so you can read your book when we are all in school.” She will ask you to come out to the porch 7 times to admire her progress.
Sometimes it’s nice to do those jobs that, even though they take longer to complete, give you a real feeling of satisfaction when they’re done–jobs that, when done well, offer something for the whole family to enjoy. Eleven-year-olds can feel that satisfaction too.
Great job, Middle Sister!