Put Kids to Work

carpet dogMy parents were huge proponents of the idiom:  “Idle hands are the devil’s playthings.”

In other words, my mom and dad hated seeing their offspring sit around when there was work to be done.  And when you’re living in a home occupied by six people, there’s never a shortage of tasks to be completed.

For me, summer meant tennis camp, swimming lessons and plenty of chores.  In my dad’s eyes, no job was too dirty for his little girl.  Looking back, I don’t begrudge my father for keeping me and my brothers busy during the dog days of summer.  In fact, 20 years later, I’m now the parent creating slave labor lists for my own daughter.

In between trips to the pool, beach and park, consider having your children lend a hand around the house during their summer break from school.  There are dozens of age appropriate jobs kids can complete without compromising their vacation.

Like it or not, homes are hot spots for germs.  Have your kids tackle some of these areas, including:

Entryways:  Studies show that 85% of dirt and germs found in a home come in the front door.  Keep them out by having your kids sweep your entryway on a regular basis.  Also, shake or pound any rugs or doormats outside making sure any traces of dirt, grass, and rocks are removed.

Living Room:  Ceiling fans get a workout during the summer months, but in winter they typically sit idle and collect dust.  Put your teen’s height to good use by having him rid your ceiling fan’s blades of dust, dirt and grime.  If you have little ones, hand them a cloth and have them wipe picture frames, blinds, lamp shades and corners of rooms.

Bedrooms:  Last summer, I taught my then 7-year-old how to strip her bed.  This is a job that should be done on a weekly basis, according to health experts; however, we generally do it every other week.  To rid your sheets and mattress pad of the millions of microorganisms that live and thrive there, it’s important to wash them in very hot water.  Bedroom curtains are also a haven for dust mites and dirt.  Your kids can help clean them with a vacuum or a lint brush.  Simply remove the curtains, place them on the floor and let your kids gently vacuum them with a brush attachment.

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.