I've come up with our summer "routine," and am re-instituting last year's summer chore method.
We're putting on our hats!
This child (I still need to find a cheap kids’ chef hat…maybe Ikea?) gets to help choose the week’s meals, shop with me, and prepare dinners (which coincidentally relieves them of setting or clearing the table because if you cook you get out of those). She keeps the kitchen clean (and the nearby living and dining rooms since they’re all together). If she does a particularly excellent job, she gets to go out for a treat with mom or dad.
I didn’t want to give such power by calling this the Third Parent, but this child does things similar to what only Mom and Dad can do (thus he dons an Ironbirds ballcap). He feeds and waters the dog, cleans the bathroom, and sorts the laundry. Sounds like a terrible role, right? Only this one gets to help walk the dog and stay up late one night during the week. Doesn’t matter how scummy the toilets are, they’re worth staying up late.
The Social Planner
Oh yeah, get out the plastic fruit covered hat! This child keeps the family room (where we take guests) and play room (where we keep the boxed fun) neat and tidy. She also plans family night, organizes dinner games, chooses our playdate for the week, and sets the dinner table. For a job well-done, she is invited to play a game ALONE (you know what a treat that is if you have four children) with mom or dad. This is, inevitably, the coveted position. Sometimes the kids have to beg for their hat back from me.
This child, after donning the official gardening hat (okay, I don’t make the boys wear it), gets to help with all the “green” chores. He empties the compost bin, puts the recycling in plastic bags, takes out the trash, and water the gardens. (He also sets the dinner table–how that fits in, I’m not sure, but we needed someone to do it.) In celebration for a job well done, he gets a walk with mom or dad (which leaves zero carbon footprint).