We’ve all been there. The house looks like a disaster, you’re feeling frazzled, the rest of the fam seems oblivious to any mess, you’d really like some help but you’re not even sure where to start or what to tell them to do… Then when you actually do ask someone to (fill in the blank) they start with the whining, groveling, and claims of un-fairness and you wonder why you bothered asking because the process is more exhausting than just doing it yourself. Sound familiar?
- Have your motto or “rah-rah” saying. Our go to is usually “FAMILY IS A TEAM SPORT”.
- Ignore the complainers… or reward their complaining with more jobs. On the flip side, try to avoid complaining about your own chores and jobs, at least in front of the kids!
- Decide on your routine, schedule, or rhythm: Do the kids have daily chores, weekly chores, or just on the weekends? Do certain things need to be done before video games, play dates, or sleepovers? Do kids earn an allowance or privileges? This will work even better if you involve the kids in the process of deciding!
- To the older kids, explain that life is a two way street — if they would like help looking for their missing soccer cleat, doing their math assignment, packing a snack, and getting rides to friends houses, then you expect help taking the garbage out, emptying the dishwasher, and assisting their sibling, when you ask.
- Be consistent! This principle has away of making or breaking all areas of life and while it seems like it should be easy, it isn’t. The good news is, in my experience, it takes about a month of consistency, persistence, and follow through before the fam gets into the swing of things. After that, you might just need a week or two (after holidays, vacations, etc.) to get back on track.
- KEEP IT SIMPLE + easy for everyone to know what is expected.
A list of chore ideas by age
TODDLERS – Cleaning should look more like playing at this age. Look for little activities you can give them and ways to make it fun.
- Give them a toxin free cleaner (that’s why we love thieves!) and let them wipe down surfaces.
- A feather duster is another option.
- Fill the kitchen sink with water and add some plastic dishes and ask them to wash them.
- Just mopped the floor? Have them stand on towels and “ice skate” to dry the floor.
- Have them help pick up their toys, etc.
- Make them the official “CLEANING BUDDY” for an older sibling. They can assist with whatever chores the older kids have.
- Clear their spot at the table.
- Pick up their toys.
PRESCHOOL + KINDERGARTEN: Including items above
- Vacuum or dust bust (the best excuse to spring for a cordless vacuum).
- Clean surfaces: sinks, counters, mirrors, windows, etc.
- Empty dishwasher (with help).
- Set table.
- Water plants.
- Pull weeds.
- Make bed + tidy room.
- Help feed + water pets.
FIRST TO THIRD: Including items above
- Take out garbage + recycling.
- Clear the table.
- Match socks, fold towels, and sort laundry.
- Put own laundry away.
- Sweep (inside and outside).
- Help cook.
FOURTH TO SIXTH: Including items above
- Do the dishes.
- Mow the yard.
- Rake leaves.
- Fold laundry.
- Walk pets.
- Clean the bathroom.
- Make breakfast + lunch.
MIDDLE + HIGH SCHOOL: Including items above
- Wash the car.
- Learn to use washer + dryer.
Did I miss anything?
Here’s the lineup around our house currently (it’s always changing)!
- Working at being better about making beds in the morning.
- I wash, dry, and sort the laundry and each child is responsible for folding, hanging, and putting away their own clothes.
- Kids pack their own lunches. I’m usually able to help but the kids know it’s their responsibility… getting our pantry organized has made everything from grocery shopping to making meals so much easier and that includes packing lunches! (Will share a reveal next week)
- They are expected to take out garbage/recycle, take care of dog or chickens, empty the dishwasher, tidy car, clear table, or help do dishes, as needed – when asked.
- Last but not least, they are each assigned a ZONE for the week. Sometimes their zone is something that needs to get done each day, other times it can be done in one bigger chunk of time. Our zones are currently matching socks, weeding frontward, take care of chickens, and tidy basement. Our zones change depending on the seasons and our family schedule but usually a reflection of whatever my pain-points are. For instance, after a summer of running around barefoot, staying on top of socks was impossible for me so not the kids get to do it, lol. Actually, Johan was sweet enough to do a full overhaul, but now it’s ready for the kids to takeover!
We’re not perfect about any of it, especially during busier weeks. However, it makes such a difference when the kids are contributing!
Now if we can just train them to stop making so many messes! Ha! Kidding. Childhood should be at least a little messy!
Feel free to share any of your own tips, in the comments!
Also curious, do you like chore charts to reference and check things off of, or do you prefer writing things out on a chalkboard? Personally, we tend to go back and forth between the two. Here’s a post with a fun printable!