Are You Choosing the Right Chores?

Tweens

If your kid's old enough to request a cell phone or stay home alone, she's definitely ready for more grown-up gigs -- but prepare yourself. This is when the whining, complaining, or "forgetting" may begin, too. As your kid's responsibilities increase, you may want to consider paying for her help around the house or rewarding an above-and-beyond effort.

Perfect Pitch-Ins

  • Give the pup a workout. Hand off the daily walks to your kid (remember, scooping up messes is a crucial part of the job description).
  • Windshield wipe-downs. Car washing is a fun family bonding activity, so take turns wielding the hose and using the squeegee.
  • Hunt for groceries. When you hit the supermarket, divvy your list and send your kid off to collect some of the easy-to-finds.
  • Counter cleanup. Make sure she wipes up the toothpaste globs from the bathroom counter.
  • Babysit -- in small doses. Older, mature tweens may be ready to look after younger sibs for short periods of time (while you run out for a manicure, not a five-hour dinner and movie date, for example).
  • Serve up snacks. Nip those "Mom, I'm hungry" proclamations by letting your child fix his own after-school snacks, preferably of the fruit and veggie variety.
  • Stock supplies. Running out of TP or napkins? Send your tween to the pantry to reload.

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