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Several weeks ago you might have read my column 'The world won't end if you don't cook them dinner'. If you haven't here it is.

There was so many comments, I thought in the name of freeing up more time for families with younger children, I'd offer two pieces of advice from when our six (remember we had one, then twins, then triplets) were young.

The first is when the children are just beginning to help out around the home, please don't make the mistake we (and many families) did by tying allowances to household chores. All you'll get when you ask them to do something additional is, 'How much will I get paid for doing this?', 'It's not my job'.

I suggest to make weekly allowances independent of chores. Have most jobs around the house categorised as family duties (things your family members do to contribute to running the house like setting the table, washing up, etc.). Special, larger jobs could involve a payment or special treat.


Next is that as the children age, give them more responsibility in all aspects of home life!!!!! Two reasons.

First, everything should not be your and your partners responsibility. Full stop. The kids live, eat and relax at home. Write an extensive list of everything that has to be done to run and maintain the house and family: Cleaning, shopping, cooking, gardening, homework help, driving, sports, sickness, etc.

Using this list, separate out the things that only an adult can do. Then as your children age, add more responsibilities onto their shoulders.

Secondly, not only does it give you more balance, it helps them mature, take responsibility and learn. When your child goes out flatting - you do want them to know how to cook. How to do their laundry. How to keep a kitchen sanitary, don't you. Although them knowing and doing it for themselves is another matter, tee hee hee.

A good idea is to write these on a list and post it on the refrigerator. It's good to rotate the jobs between the children as all jobs won't be equally demanding. We've developed a great rotating job chart from when the kids were younger that you're welcome to download at

Extra Tip: Allocate a role called 'extra jobs'. This person will cover the chores of someone who is not home.