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Friday, August 12, 2011

Chores for Kids

A days ago, I commented on how our choices have made life busier for us.  One way that I chose to combat this was by involving the FindingOurWays more.  We had not been very good about allowing the kids to do work when it is so much faster just to do it ourselves most of the time.  So, the realization came that we desperately needed their help.  I made our first ever chore chart.  I talked it up with the FindingOurWays for a week.  By the time the chore chart was revealed, they were actually excited about getting their list of chores!  A week and a half later, the excitement has worn off but they are still doing them and it is making my life a lot easier!

My theories in developing their chore chart:

Different chores on each day of the week.

It was important to change chores daily in our family for many reasons.  The FindingOurWays had been helping, but not consistently so they had favorite chores. However, I felt it was important for them to practice doing a variety of chores correctly and not just the ones they liked.  When one of the FindingOurWays complains that her sister has her favorite chore, I can usually say "Well, that's on your list for tomorrow." 

In other words, when the chores change, the FindingOurWays find them to be more fairly assigned.  The other reason for changing chores was to incorporate some chores that don't necessarily need to be done daily.  Examples of this include cleaning their bathroom, washing their laundry, folding and putting away their laundry, and straightening an entry way.  Daily chores are also on their charts and sometimes, MrLivingOurWay do those chores when they aren't on the chore chart.  For example, most days the FindingOurWays are responsible for letting the chickens out of the coop.  However, on Thursdays and Sundays MrLivingOurWay must do this himself. 

Chores are to be done before meals

I was listening to a teenager once talk about how chores worked in her family. She mentioned that when her family was required to complete all chores before they ate breakfast in the morning, the chores were more likely to get done because they weren't allowed to eat until the chore was completed. This has worked like a charm in our house as well. 

I also feel that it is good to remind younger children of when the chores need to be done. The FindingOurWays are 8, 5, and 2 months (no chores for the two month old).  The FindingOurWays know that when I'm in the kitchen fixing a meal, that is their cue to check their chore chart and get started on their chore.  We've waited as a family a few times over the last week and a half for someone to finish their chores so it's not as if we are chowing down in front of them.

Unfortunately, for now this means that doing the dishes is not a chore that is assignable.  However, I don't mind washing the dishes when they seem to be taking care of other things.

Chores need to be short if possible

Most of the chores on our list take about two minutes.  I figure if it doesn't take much of their time, they are more likely to complete the chore rather than waste time whining about it.  There have been a few times when they have started to whine and immediately stopped when I pointed out that the chore could be done in the time it took them to whine.

What types of chores are you assigning your kids and what makes your system work?


  1. Great points. We also try to get most of the chores done before breakfast, saying "He who does not work, does not eat." :)
    I've got a link-party going on right now about chore charts. I'd love if you would share this post.

  2. Great post. (and by the way, welcome back to blogging - I've missed you!)

    We do keep chore charts for all four kids, although we slacked a bit on the summer. Now that school is back on, we're going full swing.

    It isn't possible for us to do them all before breakfast, as mornings are a bit harried. So we try to get them done before dinner instead. I do assign an "allowance" to the chore chart, but it isn't a set amount or whatnot. Each chore, each day is worth 5 "Mommy" cents. At the end of the week, I add them up and put that amount in their "bank." Then they may "buy" things from a list - things like, extra half hour of television, special bike ride w/daddy, dinner out or things like that. We try to stay away from tangible thins and go with more experience events. The kids can pool their "money" for bigger things like a trip to the zoo or the pool.

    Mostly, our chores consist of making the bed, putting away laundry, picking up bedrooms and such, but each child also has two chores daily that center around the whole house/whole family. One child sets the dinner table, one clears, one sweeps/vacs the floor under the table after dinner and the youngest is responsible for pushing in all the chairs, for example.

    It works well. The first few weeks we used it, I found myself constantly pushing them to do the chores, but as they found they "earned" more by doing them, they do them on their own. Or if they don't, I don't worry about it - they just don't get credit for it.

    (I may have done a blog post at one time, but I'm not sure....)