Monday, January 27, 2014

Getting Organized :: Children & Chores

I am a stay at home mother of four children.  I hate housework, but I also hate a messy house.  It's a frustrating way to live.  And with five other people in this house with me, keeping up with the housework is a never ending task.  My husband and I have always thought that our kids should help around the house.  I want to teach them early on how to help in the kitchen to prepare food, how to pick up after themselves (this is a very hard lesson to teach and I'm still working on it with them), and the importance of everyone working together in the home.  My favorite phrase is "I'm not your maid", I feel like it's important for them to grow up not thinking that my role in life is to pick up after them.  
I think that it is important for kids of all ages to have jobs or chores around the house.  Henry was taking recyclable items out to the recycling bin at a very early age.  Sam can clean the kitchen floor with our Bissell Sweeper like nobody's business (If you don't have a Bissell Sweeper you need one!  Here's a post with my review of the sweeper).  Max and Ella are in charge of bringing in the garbage cans/recycling bins each week.  And this is just a sampling.  The kids have many tasks they are responsible for.  That's not to say our house is always clean, in fact, it's often cluttered.  We are still working out the kinks in our chore system.  I find that the biggest struggle to keeping things clean is finding the time.  My kids are great at chores, but often-times school nights are jam packed with extra curricular activities, baths, dinner, homework and such.  To help them keep track of their jobs and get them accomplished, I created Chore Charts for each child, listing their jobs each week.  They have jobs that they HAVE to do (I'm not paying them to put their dirty laundry away or keep their room tidy), and then they have extra chores they can do to earn a little bit of money each week.  And sometimes I add an extra special job in for extra money, for instance I might pay someone an extra dollar to clean all the clutter out from under the couch, or to wash the windows.  

Here's what our Chore Charts look like::

I find that these chore charts work great when I am CONSISTENT with printing them out, doling out allowance, and reminding them to get the work finished.  Right now we are in a cleaning rut, so I'm printing out the chore charts tonight and filling them out so we can get our house in shape!  I made this chore chart using Word, and you could make your own at home, so you can tailor it to your family's needs.  I like giving them allowance because it teaches them how to save money for things that they want, because Santa just doesn't bring everything on their wish lists, and we don't buy them every toy they want. Allowance is a good way for them to learn about money, savings and budgeting.  As I said though, some chores are just "expected", while other jobs can earn allowance.   

Here are some things to consider when making a list of chores for your child:
  • Don't underestimate your children!  They are capable of doing many jobs around the house (see links below for age-appropriate chore ideas)
  • Involve the kids in the planning, talk to them about what jobs need to be accomplished, and see if they have ideas on how to get the work done.
  • Consider each child's interests, abilities and age when creating your chore chart
  • Keep things structured and organized!  I find that when I use the chore charts the kids really do get their chores finished, but when I forget to print them out each week, or slack on passing out allowance then they just aren't as inspired to clean.  They need the structure of having that list in their hands.  It works for them!
Here are some samples of the chores my children do to earn allowance (above and beyond their usual daily jobs): Ella cleans the bathrooms and she vacuums as well, Sam is great with the Bissell Sweeper as I mentioned, in the kitchen and the basement.  Max is in charge of garbage, collecting each can in all the rooms, taking the garbage out, & bringing in the recycling bins each week.  And these are just a few things they can do around the house.  They have also been known to lend a hand in the kitchen...clearing the table, helping to prepare dinner, etc.  I really want them to know their way around the kitchen and be able to help prepare meals.  I think that working on chores around the house and helping in the kitchen will really help them in the long run. 
Here's one of the "extra jobs"...Ella dusting off the light fixture in the dining room:

Here's a few great resources about getting your children involved with chores around the house:
Need to clean the house in a hurry?  Try this Cleaning Game I did with the kids
Age Appropriate Chores for Kids from the Happy Housewife
A Magnetic Chore Chart for Children on Etsy
An article on WebMD about Family Chores

I'm your children do chores around the house?  Do you pay them allowance? 

ps..all ECards were found here and there on the internet, visit for more laughs!


Anna Merlo said...

Our kids do chores daily and "saturday chores". How does your chart work? They check them off? Do you pay by the job or a set amount? What do you do when they don't do their chores? Are you constantly reminding? I feel like the chart is "quiet me". It's their chance to not hear me. I HATE reminding!

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