"Chores" is a word that's loaded more than it should be. There's debate about at what age what chore is appropriate, whether allowances should be tied to chores, what chores kids should be doing...
This is not where I'm going to get into that, although trust me, I'm just as clueless as you are.
This is where I talk about our decision on one "chore" in particular. Although maybe chore isn't the right word. We like to talk about our family as people who help each other out. Thatboy and I don't really have assigned chores, although there are things we like doing that have kind of become "our chores" and things we don't like doing that we both avoid as much as we can (like making the bed with clean sheets). But in general, the idea is that we all pitch in.
Now that Thatkid has started kindergarten, we wanted him to pitch in a little more than he does. Which means he has been assigned dinner duty one night a week. This has the added benefit of giving him some good life skills, because everyone should know how to cook.
The deal is this: One night a week he makes dinner. And he is in charge of all of it. He picks what he wants to make, picks out the ingredients at the store, makes dinner, serves dinner, and then cleans up after.
For the past two weeks, (and possibly the foreseeable future) we have been having butter pasta. Since this is becoming his signature dish, I thought I would share it with you.
The ingredients are simple - a bag of pasta, 2 Tbsp of butter, and 2 Tbsp of parmsean cheese.
1. Thatkid fills up the pasta pot with water. Given it's weight, I then transfer it to the stove for him. He turns on the burner and brings the water to a boil.
2. Thatkid dumps the pasta into the pot.
3. I set the timer for the appropriate time for the pasta. When the timer goes off, we go back and he checks the pasta for doneness. Then he stirs in the butter and the cheese.
4. He scoops the pasta into our serving bowls. He always portions Thatbaby and myself first, smaller portions. Saving giant portions for himself and Thatboy.
5. He brings everyone's pasta over to the table. His usual job is to set the table, but since he's doing all the cooking, I've been having Thatbaby get everyone their forks.
6. We eat. Every week Thatkid has expressed his extreme pleasure in getting to make and eat his favorite food.
7. When Thatbaby goes to take a bath, Thatkid brings the pot over to the sink and washes it and his serving utensil. (I dry).
I'm not going to lie. Buttered pasta is not the most exciting, tasty, or nutritious dinner. But it's one night a week. And the confidence he's already getting is pretty much worth it. He loves making dinner for us and feeling like he's contributing. He likes the praise he gets. Last weekend when I told him how much I love having a night off, he asked if there were any other dishes he could wash. The benefits far outweigh the relatively plain dinner he creates. And I'm still hoping that one day he'll branch off to making something else!