Meal times can be a wonderful family event…but they can also be messy. (Surely I’m not the only one who has messy meal times?) Do you teach your children how to clean up after the family meal. I believe it is an important skill to learn. There is quite a bit involved from hygiene to sequencing and organisation skills. My eldest daughter is able to go into a full blown messy kitchen that has been used to prepare a four course meal for 10 in, and get in ship-shape in less than an hour. She has an organisational system that works for her! Yet, it isn’t the system that I taught her. She developed this system after learning how to do it my way, but after that I left her alone to tackle it for herself…she developed her own system from there. I’m not fussed! She can do the task cheerfully and quickly and thoroughly- I have no problem with that! 😀
We have a duty roster for meal time clean up. There is a pre-meal cleanup, a table and floor clean and a general post meal kitchen duty. One child is alloted a duty although it is now open to a little trading if someone isn’t well or has been at work all day.
I found it wasn’t enough just to show the children how a job is to be done. I had to show them while I explained it. Then I had them do it while I supervised and assisted them. Then, they still need supervision for a few times. Then, I trusted them and let them go with more freedom. However, this freedom only lasts while the child does the chores thoroughly and completely.
I found that having the chores clearly marked and within easy reach for the children to see was beneficial. I created a Duty Sheet that is on our fridge. The children know clearly what is expected of them for each duty. I’ve found that this is very important. You can have a look at it at this link. You may use it if you like although these things are quite individual to family needs so I suspect that you’d want to create your own. 🙂 Our roster system has developed over the years. Our children are now old enough to do all the tasks by themselves whereas they needed more supervision and help when they were younger.