In an article in the press this week, TV present Kirsty Allsopp admits she gets her nanny to wrap the presents and sees nothing wrong in delegating as much of the Christmas prep as possible.
Lots of us mums and dads would feel too guilty to abdicate the overseeing of what is probably the most important event in the year.
But how many of us actually get our kids to help?
No, I’m not talking about letting our kids in on the present wrapping or in any way suggesting that the man in the red suit is anything less than 100% real.
There’s still plenty to do around the house and as chaos ensues, it’s all too easy to let them play on their gadgets rather than add the stress of getting them to do extra chores by risking yet another argument.
The problem is, unless we train our children to help out – and to enjoy how good that can make you feel (not all the time but in general), we are making a rod for our own backs.
There are things that kids can do to lighten your load a little. It’s particularly important too, I think when they have brothers and sisters. Helping each other out may, just may damp down any ongoing sibling spats and foster a temporary truce in hormonal hostilities.
Here are some suggestions that kids can do to help.
- When something runs out, add it to a shopping list for the next shopping trip
- Help find things in the supermarket and cross things off the grocery list as you shop
- Carry in groceries from the car and help to put them away.
With supervision and depending on their age, most kids can do these:-
- Help prep vegetables, wash, peel and chop
- Whisk eggs, sift flour, weigh ingredients
- Help ice cakes and buns
Serving & clearing
- Lay the table
- Polish glasses or tumblers
- Fill jugs with water or squash
- Take plates out and pop them in the sink or dishwasher
Around the house
- Tidy their bedrooms and make their beds
- Restock the loo with loo roll
- Empty bins
- Sort items for recycling
- Hang out washing on line, radiator or airer
- Put laundry away
- Hang up their clothes
- Water plants
- Vacuum or sweep up
Helping siblings and others
- Offer to get a snack or drink for others when they get theirs
- Get something from another room when someone needs it
- Clean up spills no matter who caused them
- Feed a pet or refill their water bowl
- Read to a younger sibling
- Help younger siblings with their coats and shoes when going out
and of course, kids can help wrap others’ presents, write and deliver cards, decorate the tree and help make mince pies.
None of this is rocket science but my point is that we don’t always have to do it on our own when there are probably two or three other ‘helpers’.
Yes, you may have to incentivise (bribe) them somehow but better that than work yourself into a complete state of festering resentment.
You’ll be teaching them useful life skills that they can take with them when they leave home – although Caitlin and Ieuan say they have no intention of going anywhere until they are at least 30.
By that time I’ll have trained them to polish my zimmer frame, pimp my wheelchair and recharge my mobility scooter as well as cook a four course meal.
Do you get your kids to help around the house at Christmas?