COVER: First Daughters' White House Rules
02/25/2009 AT 03:00 PM EST
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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