My 3 yr old daughter took this pic of me

Monday, February 11, 2013

Should my kids do chores? Part 1

I am the kind of mom that likes everything done correctly and well. It is much more satisfying to do all the chores myself and not worry about them being poorly done, but I was burning myself out cleaning while my kids watched too much tv and we weren't spending much time together. I have never been very good at keeping a routine or schedule and have tried several different chore routines, but none of them worked.

Why they didn't work:

I only tried them for a week.

I wasn't consistent.

I wanted more time with my kids and less time stressing about my house, but I still wanted a clean house. I came across 2 books called Managers of Their Homes and Managers of Their Chores and sat down and read them both. They are written by Steve and Teri Maxwell parents of a large homeschooled family (they have 8 kids) and they are well put together. The system they use is amazing and makes excellent use of your time, but it was a little overwhelming for me. It was super fun making up the schedules and meshing them all together and planning everything out and making lists of every possible chore we'd ever need to do, but when it came to actually doing it, it only lasted a few weeks.

Although I wasn't very consistent with it, what I loved about Managers of Their Chores was that the kids could, at any time of day, look at their chart and know what they were supposed to be doing. They really enjoyed it and it eliminated the "Mom, what can I do??? I'm bored!". They were eager and excited about it and they were much more relaxed as they knew what was next at any given moment.

I am using their system again, but I have tweaked it a bit to fit our family and I really like how it's working. It looks a little overwhelming, but is actually quite simple and functional and flexible - which I love!

What I did:

1. I made a list of all the chores that would ever need to be done in each room or area of the house. (including things that are seasonal and not done very often) This is my Master Chore List and I keep it in a binder.

2. I started with the youngest child and wrote out under their name all the chores that I thought they were capable of and next to it I wrote the frequency of the chore. I even included things like - washing hands, brushing teeth, etc.

3. I tried to make each child's list "even" or equal-ish number of chores per kid, although the older kids got a few extra chores than the little ones.

4. Whatever was left was for me to do and went under my name.

5. I then made a chart for each person which includes BEFORE BREAKFAST, MORNING, AFTERNOON, AFTER SUPPER, and BEFORE BED categories. I listed the chores under the name according to what time of day it would be done, with a check box next to it.

6. The less frequent chores were assigned specific days, for example: Mopping and dusting on Monday, wiping the cupboard fronts and cleaning the tub on Tuesday, wiping the dining room chairs and watering plants on Wednesday, etc.

7. I also had a few chores that needed to be done once a month or every other month or every six months, so I would assign these to the first Saturday of the month, or the second Saturday of April and October, etc.

So each day, I would start at the top of my list before breakfast and check things off as I went and if it was a Monday I would skip all the chores that were not daily and were not assigned to that day, and just do the ones listed under "daily" or "Monday". You can also add the length of time you anticipate each chore to take, but is totally unnecessary. I also added a column where I could list the initial of the child that would do a certain chore with me (I help them with some of their chores or let them help me in order to teach them how to do it). I print off the list once a week and stick it to the corkboard in an area that we will see it regularly. If you don't want to print it off, you could laminate it and use a dry erase marker on it.

A routine works much better for us than a rigid schedule, which is why I went with general times of day instead of specific times. If the list doesn't get done, it's not a big deal. We skip whatever's left undone and go on to the next day because we are still getting tons done anyway and things are running a lot smoother than if we were just winging it. The beautiful thing is that it takes the daily thought out of it and I don't have to worry about my house not being cleaned, because as long as we're sort of "on track" everything will get done sooner or later and with much less stress!

At the end of this post is a sample of what my chore list looks like (it's much longer than the ones I have for the kids, but actually not overwhelming considering that more than half of what is listed will not be assigned on a given day.) Tomorrow I will go into what chores are appropriate for what age children.

Mom Chore Est.Time When With M T W TH F S
Daily Make beds 5 min B4 brkfst JD

Tidy bedroom 10 min B4 brkfst

Make Dad's lunch 10 min B4 brkfst D

Get dressed 15 min B4 brkfst JDK

Brush hair 20 min B4 brkfst JD

Inspections 10 min All chore times

Brush teeth 5 min B4 brkfst JDK

Wash hands 5 min B4 brkfst JD

Tidy bathroom 5 min Morning

Tidy back entrance 5 min Morning L

Vacuum back entrance 5 min Morning

Teach chores

Morning JD

Wash/dry 2 lds laundry

Morning D

Sweep kitchen/dining room 5 min Morning

Fold/put away laundry 20 min Afternoon JD

Organize 1 hour Afternoon

Music practice 30 min Afternoon J

Tidy dining room/kitchen 10 min Afternoon

Make dinner 30 min Afternoon LJ

Supper dishes & counters 20 min Evening

Put dishes away 5 min Evening

Clean kitchen sink 2 min Evening

Pack diaper bags 10 min Evening

School Marking 20 min Evening

Journal 20 min Evening

Floss & teeth 10 min Evening JDK

Weekly Clean & organize top fridge 20 min Monday

Clean microwave 10 min Monday

Make bread 30 min Monday LJ

Wipe washer/dryer 5 min Tuesday J

Iron clothing 30 min Tuesday

Straighten school/craft 20 min Tuesday

Wash windows 20 min Wednesday

Wash bathmat


Straighten bathroom shelves 5 min Wednesday

Menu planning 1 hour Wednesday

Take out garbage/recycling 10 min Thursday

Bake 30 min Thursday

Wipe shelves in fridge 10 min Friday

Throw out leftovers 5 min Friday

School planning 30 min Friday

Buy groceries 3 hours Friday

Run errands 3 hours Friday

Groom kids nails & ears


Clean inside Suburban 10 min Saturday

Tidy suburban 5 min Saturday

Clean tub & shower 10 min Saturday

Clean bedroom 5 min Saturday

Dust bedroom 2 min Saturday

Sweep bedroom 5 min Saturday

Empty bedroom garbage 2 min Saturday

Change sheets 10 min Saturday JDK

Straighten drawers 10 min Saturday

Write letters & thank yous 20 min Sunday

Weekly x2 Mop kitchen & dining room 20 min Mon/Thurs

Weed gardens* 20 min Wed/Sat LJ

Bath kids 30 min Tues/Sat JDK



Clean toilet 5 min Mon/Sat

Weekly x3 Water gardens*


Every other week Clean crib doors & bars 15 min Monday

Wipe kitchen chairs 30 min Tuesday L

Household repairs 30 min Wednesday L

Wash shower curtain 10 min Friday

Pay bills


Monthly Clean carseats & diaper bags 15 min Monday L

1st week Vacuum suburban 10 min Saturday

Wash inside suburban windows 10 min Saturday L

Mending 1 hour Tuesday

Check smoke detectors


Boil toothbrushes


Straighten/organize closets 30 min Friday L

Every 6 months Make Dentist/Doc appts.


Mar/Oct Flip mattresses 10 min Saturday L

Clean playpen 10 min Saturday

Dust ceilings in basement 20 min Saturday

Dust ducts & furnace 20 min Saturday L

Yearly Take family pic


Mail pic & newsletter


No comments:

Post a Comment