02/25/2009 at 07:00 AM EST
Their father may have run on a platform of change, but for First Daughters Malia and Sasha Obama, the rules are the same in the White House as they were in their home in Chicago, PEOPLE reports in its new cover story, on sale Friday.
Start with the girls' chores. They're still making their own beds, cleaning their rooms and clearing their dishes. And even with their grandmother, Marian Robinson, 71, staying in a third-floor guest room to help out, Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, must show responsibility.
Their mother, Michelle Obama, has asked the White House staff not to do too much. "People want to make your life easy, and when you have small kids – I've explained this to the staff – they don't need their lives to be easy. They're kids," she says.
The girls do have roaming privileges all around the historic mansion and can pop into the Oval Office whenever they want. "I've tried to encourage them to feel like this whole place is their home," Mrs. Obama tells PEOPLE. "We actually had this conversation – just let us know where you're going."
For more on White House life, including family games, dinner-table conversations and new bedtime-reading habits, pick up this week's PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday
Plus: Check out Michelle Obama's First 100 Days of Style
gallery at InStyle.com
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