When mother goes back to work, the household must reorganize. This means that children, not only mom and dad, should be helping with daily chores. The jobs children can do, determined by the needs of the family, will be happily done if the child understands who, how, what, when, whym, and how muchm.
If you, Mother, have been doing most of the housework, you are in the best position to know what needs to be done each day. Imagine that you are the plant manager and that you are training new employees. It's only fair to accord children the same respect, explanations, practice, and rewards you would give anyone you were hiring. Write down every repetitive task that must be done, from morning wake-up until bedtime. When the compilation is finished, list jobs vertically with the times they must be done at the left and a complete job description at the right.
Example: ''Make your bed.''
Materials needed: sheets, blankets, pillow, spread. Tell who provides clean bedding, where to put the dirty linen, how often to change sheets, and so forth. The clearer your instructions, the better your child will be able to succeed.
Time: This could be a certain hour of the day. So you could write: ''Bed must be made by 7:30 a.m.'' Or, ''Bed must be made before eating breakfast.''
Standards: Can the covers just be pulled up, or do you want visitors to be able to drop in and bounce a dime off the taut, crisp surface?
Writing such an exacting list makes you think through just what it is you are asking your child to do. Sit cozily and explain to the children (list in hand) just what the job is. If the child can read, type, and post a neat ''job guide, '' keep referring to it as you practicem.
Practice withm your child for a couple of weeks before you actually leave the house for your employment. If you have carefully written the job description and now see the details the chore requires when done alone by a youngster, you will have a better understanding of what frustrates the beginner and how you can help.
When helping kids learn their jobs, showm them what, where, and how, but just watch as theym do the work. Children learn better by touching and doing than by just observing.
Offer lots of praise. You would pay anyone who works for you. The child's reward is the satisfaction of knowing that his or her help is of recognizable value.
Teach only one or two jobs a day. Add more until everything you expect to be done has been learned and practiced thoroughly. This does require starting many days in advance of your return to the work force, and it is certainly worth the investment of loving attention to the children as they are taught the significance and methods of their daily contributions to the family.
Even the best ''child worker'' cannot cope with a job that looks overwhelming. Every month or two weeks, parents should thoroughly clean the children's areas, organizing every toy container, cleaning drawers and closets, and so forth. In this way the kids get a new start and see the tasks as fair and possible. Even though the job is assigned to junior, the parents are still responsible for keeping supplies and working conditions fresh, fair, and agreeable!
Making beds, putting dirty clothes in the hamper, folding laundry, putting away clean clothes, setting the table, picking up toys, emptying wastebaskets, showering, brushing teeth and hair - these are all jobs our second- and fourth-grade children do every day.
In our family this is the key: explain, practice, and praisem.