Do you struggle with implementing a chore system for your children? Perhaps it seems like more work than just doing the chores yourself. That may be true, but the long term benefit – for you, your entire family and your individual child – will pay off in years to come.
With Pinterest and many homemaking blogs out there, there are bountiful resources to help you get started. I have seen my friends use fancy systems and plain, old fashioned systems to manage their chores in their homes.
Utilize what works for your family and stick with it.
Perhaps one of the keys to training your children to do chores is consistency.
For example, since September, I have been working with my five year old to train her to make her bed before breakfast (a struggle as she just wants to go downstairs by the cozy fire in the winter months and eat her breakfast) along with her chore of putting away the dishes after breakfast is cleaned up. For nine months now, she has complained and fought back regarding this chore. She did not appreciate her assigned task! She has a very strong will so this was definitely a challenge …
Now, suddenly, her bed is being made properly in the morning before breakfast and she willingly comes to do her morning chore of putting away the dishes without my request. It’s wonderful – but it took a long time to train her. Some other children are quick to learn and that is a blessing – enjoy it. 🙂
With having so many children, I found a simple chore system best. I could not keep up with “fancy bells and whistles” of some of these systems offered online.
Therefore, a simple excel spreadsheet is posted on the side of the fridge with daily chores that rotate through the girls. The older girls have the the following chores on a weekly basis:
cleaning of bathrooms (there are two for which they are responsible)
vacuuming and dusting the living room and dining room
cleaning up after meals (we call this Breakfast duty, Lunch Duty, etc.) – this means the child in charge is responsible for helping clear the table, wash all the dishes, putting the dishes away, wiping the table and benches, and sweeping the floor. I assist on most meals as there are a lot of dishes to wash at every meal. We do not use a dishwasher as we would run out of dishes and constantly be running a dishwasher.
-cleaning the school room/mud room (mostly floor tidying up as this is a main traffic area and is constantly needing a sweep/vacuum)
-sweeping and washing the back stair case (this leads to their room and is often showcasing muddy toe-prints from the spring days outside)
-wiping walls from mud or handprints
-hanging up laundry on the line/taking down the laundry
-putting away their own laundry
-cleaning their own room, including vacuuming, cleaning windows, under bed, tidying closet, etc. This closet is a problem for us as six girls share one closet so if one little one makes a mess, it is often the responsibility of an older girl to ensure the closet is clean for the day.
– washing floors as needed
– sweeping the porches around the house
-watering flowers and garden
-sweeping porches and patio
A sample of other chores that are not daily include (these are not included on a chore chart – they are done as needed):
-cleaning our family vehicle
-cleaning chicken coop and stable
– taking care of the animals outdoors (this is not listed on a chore chart as it is a given)
-helping with garden work (generally, weeding and watering) – again, this is not listed, but they are required to do it upon request
-washing windows as needed
-stacking firewood and bringing in wood as needed in winter
“This is a home, not a hotel.”
-Kevin Lehman, on parenting your children
I would suggest making a simple excel spreadsheet or using one from pinterest, etc. and just write in the chores you want your children to do on a daily basis. Alternate it for the children so they are not doing the same chore every day. You can always add or take away depending on the season and age of the child.
Young children (3-5) are definitely old enough to clean their rooms, make their beds, set the table and help clear it. They should also be expected to tidy up their toys or anything they are playing with when they are finished. Six year olds are capable of helping wash dishes and sweep up. Even if they are not doing the best job (let’s face it – no one cleans like mom, right? 🙂 ) let them learn and encourage them as they go.
For the older children, they are capable of more than you realize. If you give them a chance to do their task, I am positive, even if it takes time, they will learn and begin to be such great helpers to you and your husband in your home. My husband has a hard time with this, as he was not required to do a lot of chores as child (his mom made his bed for her entire life). He automatically just does the task that is needed and I’m usually popping up beside him suggesting a daughter take up that responsibility instead. Dads and husbands are needed for much bigger tasks – such as mending fences, clearing snow, repairing plumbing problems, and such.
Our chores change with the season – and we are adding a lot more outdoor chores to our lists as the weather warms. The older girls help water the gardens in the evening, delivering water in the rain barrel with the golf cart. They use watering cans and water our large vegetable and herb gardens. When the garden begins to grow and the little girls can decipher the rows, they will help with watering, as well.
Now that I some older daughters – ages 10-13- (which is a great blessing!), I am giving them different tasks that will hopefully help her as she grows: tasks such as preparing part of the meals and in between food (such as muffins, cookies, etc.) for dinner, making lunches & laundry care, bigger responsibilities in the garden and animal care, mowing the lawn, etc.. While these are not really “chores”, they are some life skills that, I think, the girls should learn. They have already been doing these tasks but I am attempting to ask them to take over more often so they can be confident with their new skills. I think we would have different tasks lined up for them if they were boys but it will be a long time before we have a boy helping out around here.
I hope this helps some of you as you implement a chore system into your family’s daily schedule. Be encouraged – your rewards will come as your children learn to help out with the family tasks.
And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.