Kid Chores Tango Style

27 Feb

Recently, The Monkey’s Fist asked us to contribute to a future article on kids as crew. From a boating perspective, this is an interesting dilemma, especially when considering our youngest who is only seven. We want both the girls to feel independent and capable, and yet there are many tasks that are outside their burgeoning skill sets. Additionally, this must all be balanced with play time, school studies aboard, and personal “down” time. What is too much…too little…too rigid?

Having said that, they do have boat chores. This doesn’t include the standards we had in place before life aboard Tango, like helping haul laundry around, washing dishes, making beds, cooking, cleaning and other general living chores. There are also some things easier on land than sea (at least on Tango). One tougher chore aboard is turning on Tango’s stove. This task requires flipping a few switches to get the propane system opened and flowing, then turning the burner on, and finally lighting it with a lighter. It took about six months, but Madi has this down now so she can continue refining her mad cooking skills (the girl wants to be a chef…and she means it). Lighting the stove is still too much for Peyton (mostly the lighter at this point), but her pancake and scrambled egg skills are coming along.

When we are out sailing we also give them the chance to help plot navigation points, take the helm from time to time, drive the dinghy, lower the main, help tie dock lines and other small tasks like that. Generally we ask, and give them the chance to choose to be involved or not. Sometimes they bite, sometimes they could care less. There are moments though, when it’s nice (or even important) to have a third set of hands to help with something on deck when things aren’t working as nicely as they should. Madi is very game to take on any odd task – and even helps me on deck during rough seas (after I jack-line her in).

Captain in training

Captain in training

As for dreaded boat tasks, Madi’s afraid of heights, and when I got my coupon book for Christmas, the chores coupon gave me the power of unlimited chores (except for being hauled up the mast in the bosuns chair). She actually sketched a sad person hanging from the mast with a circle and a slash through it! They both draw the line at head (toilet) maintenance…but who can really blame them on that one?

Madi busy ripping off the old letters

Madi busy ripping off the old letters

I asked them to blog about how they see their responsibilities and and expectations.

Madi (age 11)

If someone asked me if boat chores were more enjoyable than house chores I would say, yes! Even though I have more chores on a boat than I did in a house, I think they are more fun. Me and Peyton do most of our chores together, but we have some we do alone. I turn on the Spot Tracker after we get to dock so our family knows where we are. We also put the covers on the electronics outside. Sometimes we will shake out the rugs, hang up wet clothes and wash the boat. We also fill the water tanks and take up the trash. Some boat chores aren’t very fun but a lot are very nice!

Peyton (age 7)

It is fun to be on a boat!!!! Here are the chores I do. I put on all of the electronics covers (she means closing up the navigation equipment when we get into a new port so the sensitive screens don’t get sun damaged). I wash the boat. And fill up the water tanks. I take up the recycling bin.

3 Responses to “Kid Chores Tango Style”

  1. The Monkey's Fist February 27, 2013 at 7:27 pm #

    AWESOME! Thanks Madi and Peyton!

    • Jessica, GR & Gia February 28, 2013 at 6:40 pm #

      Great perspective girls! NO ONE like head maintenance so I don’t blame you for that! 😉

      • four2tango March 6, 2013 at 11:13 am #

        Wow…other boat kids on the ICW? As we have discovered, this is a rare thing this time of year!

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