Homesteading kids

We have always believed in “family-centric parenting”, which amongst other things translates in our house to everyone pitching in and helping out. Therefore the kids have a few daily chores, to which, as they grow older, we will continually add. Currently, Hugo (5), does the chickens every morning and night (opens/closes the door to their yard, feeds them scraps and collects the eggs) and occasionally waters the indoor plants. Henry (6.5) feeds the dog (morning and night), cleans up dog poo off the lawn and sets the dinner table. Of course, these are on top of general daily clean-up of their rooms and the play room. Standard stuff.

But there are so many more seasonal and one-off jobs required that we’ve created a jobs list (as opposed to chores) with financial incentives attached. It’s only very recently that money has become an incentive at all. Twice now they’ve raided their piggybanks to head down to the Mundaring Sunday markets to buy priceless trinkets for $2-3. The latest shopping expedition was thanks to a recent concerted effort on the homesteading front.

We had friends coming over on Saturday for dinner and I thought the last of the broad beans would make a delicious salad (it did.) The boys happily podded more than 1kg of broad beans for $1 each in reward. Following this they took turns juicing a large bucket full of lemons to freeze in ice cube trays for later use and enough Valencia oranges for freshly squeezed juice for lunch. Brilliant! The lemon and Valencia orange trees are still groaning under the weight of fruit so it will likely be an ongoing job for a while yet.

Often it is harder work making them do the jobs than it would be to just do it ourselves but that’s not the point. I was the youngest of five and my family was relatively wealthy when I was young, but my parents made us work every school holidays in the family business (Waldeck Nurseries) to earn pocket money, even when I was very little. I am now teaching my kids the same work ethic my parents taught me and for which I am grateful.

Besides, I sure as hell didn’t want to double-pod a kilo of broad beans!