Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Features

February 13, 2014

Dirty work

Should busy, stressed-out kids have to do chores?

(Continued)

Not first lady Michelle Obama, who has talked about her daughters having to make their own White House beds.

And not Andrea Cherry of Kingwood, Texas, who has passed on her childhood practice of doing chores to her own children. As toddlers, they began with the game of sock sorting, and now, at ages 8 and 6, have graduated to “extensive” daily chores. Lily makes her bed and prepares breakfast for herself and her little brother. She cleans bathroom sinks with cleaning wipes, tidies the floors with a Swiffer and is learning to vacuum. Aiden feeds the dog and delivers toilet paper to the bathrooms. Both help with laundry and the dishes.

For Cherry, 38, who works full time, having the kids help makes it possible for her and her husband to have enough time to take the kids to soccer practices and games. Equally important, it fills them with the same idea of family responsibility that Cherry was raised with.

“They make a substantial contribution to the family, and it’s important because it teaches them about taking care of the family, family is first, and they are responsible members of the family,” said Cherry. “I’m proud of them.”

While Cherry feels that she requires more of her kids than most parents in her area, Andrea Cameron, a San Diego mother of girls ages 2 and 8 who works occasionally, believes that she asks less than most. Her third-grader, Siobhan, has been dancing since age 2, aspires to be a ballerina or own a dance studio, and dances every day after school — weekends too, during performance season. The family is always pressed for time, driving back and forth to school and dance class.

“We try to throw in a few (chores) here and there, mainly her room, whatever we can squeeze in,” says Cameron, 33. “I’d rather let her do what she loves and what she looks at as her future career than take it away from her and make her stay home and clean the house.”

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