Your grade-schooler's off on his own, gaining responsibility and independence during the school day. So don't be afraid to let him go solo on certain small-ish chores. Debating whether to reward for these tasks?
- Load up the dishwasher. Now's the time to break his toss-everything-in-the-kitchen-sink habit. Have him rinse off his plate and place it (and accompanying silverware, etc.) in the dishwasher.
- Accessorize the table. Give kids table-setting duties. Bonus: You can casually gab about your day while you cook and they set.
- Feed the pooch. Keeping Frank fed turns your kids into careful caretakers (training for future babysitter gigs) and also teaches them to follow a regimented schedule.
- Tee off. Your child should now be able to put away folded shirts and other dryer-fresh duds.
- Pack it in. Cut down on morning craziness by having your child restock her own backpack at night, packing homework, permission slips, and whatnot.
- Make a clean sweep. Demo a quick spin with a broom or vacuum. You may need to supervise this task now, but in a few years, your kids will definitely be able to do it alone.
- Be a bookworm. As your older kid becomes a reading pro, ask her to take charge of story time for younger sibs -- a great alternative to TV.
- Stock up the fridge. Let your child return condiments (salad dressing, ketchup) after meals or help you unload grocery bags after you get home from the supermarket.