Today, after my kids left for school, I looked around the house.

I looked at the table, covered with plates and milk and cornflakes, both in and out of the box.

I looked into the bedrooms. I saw the beds. I saw the books. I saw the stuff.

But I didn't get mad. Instead, I went to my computer and wrote two copies of the following letter.

I hope it does some good...

From now on, in order to earn your pocket money, there are some thing you will need to do each day and each week. If you don’t know how to do some of these jobs, I will be happy to show you.

 Every day, before the television is switched on you must:

  • Make your bed. This means you need to pull back the doona and other covers, smooth your top sheet out straight, fold it over so it sits under the pillow and tuck the edge under the mattress. Then you need to spread the doona and blankets up over the sheet and put the pillow nicely at the top.
  • Give your room a quick tidy.  Look around your floor and see what is there that should not be. Put books in the bookshelves, toys on the shelves and clothes either on hangers or in the laundry.
  • Put your pyjamas under your pillow. Because you are about to have a wash, you need to take off your pyjamas and slip them under your pillow, ready for the next night.
  • Have a shower.  If you have a shower you will need to remember to take your towel to the bathroom with you. When you have finished your shower and have dried yourself, remember to hang your towel up on the rail in your room. If you had a shower or a bath he night before, you will not need to have a shower, but you will still need to wash your face and your hands, and maybe your bottom with a face washer and soapy water. If you are washing your bottom, be sure to wash it last, and to put the face washer in the laundry as soon as you have finished.
  • Get into your uniform.  This means clean undies, a clean, ironed dress and a pair of socks which are white, or white with a coloured band.
  • Get yourself some breakfast.  A bowl of cereal with milk, two slices of toast, a muffin or crumpet or a serving of yoghurt are good breakfasts. It’s nice to have a glass of milk, juice or water with breakfast, too.

Once you have done these tasks and your breakfast is ready for you, you may turn on the TV, unless there is a reason not to. I will tell you if there is such a reason. While you watch the TV you must:

  • Eat your breakfast.  I have noticed you quite often forget to eat your breakfast while the TV is on. One of the special reasons for not turning on the TV will be that I have noticed you are forgetting to eat your breakfast.

 As soon as your programmes are over the TV must be switched off. You may wait until the music of the programme you were watching has finished, but as soon as it ends, the TV must be switched off and you must:

  • Clear the table.  Take your plate or bowl, cutlery, and glass or cup to the kitchen. If the dishwasher is empty or has dirty dishes in it, please put your things in too. If the dishwasher has clean things in it, please put your dishes neatly on the drainer of the sink.
  • Wipe your place at the table. It is very difficult to eat a meal without spilling some. You will need to remove any dry cereal that has spilt and put it in the compost. Then you will need to take a warm, soapy sponge and thoroughly clean the place where you were sitting. Then take a dry rag and dry it.
  • Clean your teeth. You will need to protect your uniform while you clean your teeth. Tuck a white nappy-rag into your collar and clean your teeth for three minutes.
  • Collect your lunch. Get your lunch from the bench and put it into your bag.
  • Leave for school. At no later than 8.45am (a quarter to nine in the morning) you must leave for school. It is very important to always arrive at school before the bag bell so you learn everything your teacher teaches your class that day, and to make sure you do not stop other people learning by interrupting the class once it has begun.

After school, even if you have a friend with you, you must:

  • Come home promptly.  You must come home as soon as possible after the bell goes. It should only take ten minutes to get home. If you take more than fifteen minutes, I get very worried about you. If you want to visit a friend or have a chat, come home first to let me know you are safe.
  • Unpack your bag. Check the inside of your bag for uneaten food, notices, homework, and any other things which do not belong there. Put your notices on the fridge with a magnet, and tell a grownup you have done so.
  • Get changed. Your uniforms are really only for school. They are quite expensive to buy, and every time they get washed they get a little closer to needing to be replaced. Hang your uniform on a hanger in your room if it is clean enough to wear the next day. If you are not sure if it is clean enough, ask a grownup.

 If you have a friend with you, you do not have to do the next two things until later. Play with your friend instead.

  • Check your room. Spend 3 minutes making sure your room is as clean as a whistle. Check all the things you checked in the morning, and just open your eyes and look around to see that everything looks nice.
  • Do your homework. Do any worksheets you have brought home from school, and ask a grownup to hear you read. If the grownup does not have time to hear you read right away, ask them politely what time they will be able to hear you read. Homework is very important.
  • Play.  Playing is also very important . You should play outside for at least half an hour a day, unless it is raining. Playing outside should be mostly running, climbing or something else where your body gets exercise.

In the evening you will be called to help get ready for dinner. You may be asked to clear or set the table, to get glasses and drinks out, or to do other tasks which help all of us be able to sit down to a nice meal together. Please do whatever you are asked cheerfully and politely. Remember also to kiss the cook.

After dinner you will need to:

  • Clear your place at the table. Take your dinner plate, cutlery and glass to the kitchen. If the dishwasher is empty or has dirty things in it, please put your dishes into it. If there is food left on your plate, ask a grownup what to do with it. You may need to

o        Give it to Ebony

o        Cover it and put it in the fridge

o        Scrape it into the compost.

  • Wipe your place at the table. It is very difficult to eat a meal without spilling some. You will need to remove any food that has spilt and put it in the compost. Then you will need to take a warm, soapy sponge and thoroughly clean the place where you were sitting. Then take a dry rag and dry it.
  • Find your equipment for school the next day. Think of what specialist classes you will have the next day. Find whatever equipment you will need for these classes and put it into your school bag. Find your shoes and put them in your shoe place in your bedroom. Think hard about anything else you may need to take to school. If necessary, ask a grownup for help.
  • Have a shower. Ask a grownup to help you decide if you need to have a shower at night, or in the morning. If you are having a shower, please remember to take your towel to the bathroom, and to put your clothes either onto a hanger or into the laundry. If you do not know whether clothes are clean enough to be worn again, ask a grown up. Underpants and socks are put into the laundry every day, no matter how clean they look.

o        PLEASE NOTE:

In the laundry there are two buckets and one large general dirty washing container. One bucket is for school dresses, white or pale socks, white or pale undies and polo-tops.

When you put something into this bucket you need to push it down under the soaking liquid with the white laundry stick. If there is no soaking liquid in either bucket, tell a grownup. The second bucket is for dark things that are especially filthy, muddy or wet.

Normal dirty washing does not go into either bucket. It goes into the large washing container next to the back door.

  • Get into your pyjamas. Get your pyjamas out from under your pillow where you put them in the morning.
  • Clean your teeth. You will need to protect your pyjamas while you clean your teeth. Tuck a white nappy-rag into your collar and clean your teeth for three minutes.

After these tasks are completed, you may be able to watch television, play on your computer or gameboy, or read until bedtime. This is the time of day to ask grownups to play games – but they will not always be able to.

 At bedtime you must:

  • Get into bed with a minimum of fuss.  Remember, grownups are people too. If you need to get a drink or go to the loo, do so quickly and quietly. If you need a question answered, ask yourself whether it can wait until the next day. Remember, you can turn your own big light off if you try.
  • Go to sleep. This is a very important thing.  People who do not get enough sleep feel unhappy the next day. Sometimes they are grumpy toward the people they love. They find it hard to understand what their teacher tells them in class. People who have not had enough sleep tend to get into a lot more trouble than well rested people.
  • Have nice dreams. Just because they are nice, and I love you.

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