Maybe I’m the only one, but I just can’t get it all done alone. I can’t keep up with everything all day. Now, before you think I’m lazy, I spend the majority of my day homeschooling 5 children while watching a wonder boy toddler whose favorite activity is to see how many times a day he can give me a heart attack. Sky-diving off of the furniture is his favorite past-time. The only way things were going to get done was to hand out chores. So here is my way on How to Set Up Chore Charts.
Should children have chores?
In a word, YES! Even at a very young age, children need to learn how to take care of their things. Honestly, the younger you start them the easier it will be to keep it up when they are older. All of my children have chores even the 19 month old.
There is always something around the house that every child can do, even my special needs son has chores. They are tailored to what each child can do, but they all have jobs. As I said earlier, I can’t do everything and if I don’t want my house to constantly look like a tornado just left it, chores are a must.
At what age do you start chores?
At 12 months my children learned to pick up their toys. So, they were more like tossed into the bin they belonged in, and it was a game for them, but they did it WITH me. That’s the key. You have to do it with them, but they are learning. Make cleaning fun changes it. Let your inner Mary Poppins out!
Samuel is now 20 months. He still mostly helps put toys away, but he also knows how to put things in the trash. He has also begun to help make meals by handing me things when I ask for him. Not only is he helping, but he is learning words and identifying things, great learning opportunities.
So when can I just hand it over to them and not worry about it?
I’m sorry to tell you this, but I still have to check up on my kids. Even my oldest. There are certain things that I just request they be done a certain way, and that means I have to check up on it.
Right now my oldest boy is responsible for cleaning up the kitchen, which he says he is thankful for the dishwasher and doesn’t know how things got done without them. HA!
When he cleans the kitchen he sometimes forgets 2 things. 1 He doesn’t always clean the sink and the area around it, especially the handle and spigot. Those are the things that are constantly touched and are just gross. I get picky about it and even require it to be scrubbed with an old toothbrush. 2. He doesn’t always clear the counters off. When he doesn’t, the tiny kitchen I have even looks more cluttered.
Is my kitchen clean without these things, yes, BUT they are just things I want to be done, and so they must get done.
How often are chores done?
As a homeschooling family, we are in our house ALL DAY! We truly LIVE in our house, so chores are done 3 times a day and on Fridays, we do a weekly home blessing of deep cleaning.
Our chores are broken up into Morning before we start our school day and after breakfast. In the Afternoon, which is after lunch and before the littles go down for a nap. Evening chores start at 4 pm and are finished after dinner.
Every child has a list of things they are responsible for doing, but there is also the group list for each of those parts of the day. These are posted in the Dining Room for us which is a central station, where every thing gets done and most people pass through it to get to anywhere in our house.
How to Set Up Chore Charts
I spent some time this summer writing down everything that needs to be done during the day to keep the home manageable. Then I wrote a list of things I want to make my home look more than just lived in.
The first list is the everyday chores. When looking over the list, I looked for things my 3 year old could do and found 2 things she could do in each of the time slots, all of these are done with a buddy, but she can help do them.
I found the chores my middle boys could do and separated them out. These had to be sorted by what my special needs boy could handle and what his younger brother would have to do. The chores my older of middle boys does could easily be done by his younger brother, but they are perfect for him.
Finally, my teens, their chores require more discipline and ability. Things like washing the dishes, cleaning the kitchen and folding laundry. Yeah, I’m a little picky about my laundry being folded and hung up. The teen responsible for folding the laudry also leads the younger ones in putting it away.
How do they know how to clean the room?
This is one of the biggest blessings for my children and for me. In my previous post Pride In A Job Well Done, I gave you a freebie on how to clean the Main Bathroom. This is MY list of how I expect our Main Bathroom cleaned.
When my 11 year old goes to clean up the bathroom in the morning, he has this list on the wall to look at. He knows exactly what I expect. There’s no excuse of “Oh, I forgot,” because it is on the list. I use this list when I or my teens check the bathroom. For our Weekly Home Blessing, there is another more detailed list of things that are supposed to get done.
I have a list for each room, even their bedrooms, though my teens know what I expect by now. We do a once a month overhaul in their bedrooms. Otherwise, things are clean enough for company.
Final Thoughts about Chores
I know some of you may still be struggling to give your babies chores. Like me, you probably hated doing them yourself and did them during the “stone ages,” AKA before dishwashers. I know what you are thinking and feeling because I was there. Things changed when I wrote about it on Freedom to Serve, and I was reminded of a conversation.
About 8 years ago I was talking my friend Bertina, a mother of 6, I only had 4 at the time, about chores. She told me that I was blessing my children by giving them responsibilities, even things they hate. She told me it would give them character, and besides it was what God expected of them. Children like adults where put here to work. It is good to learn this while they are young instead of struggling when they are adults.
I know so many people in their 20s who are struggling because they don’t know how to plan and cook a meal, let alone how to truly clean their space. They are struggling with how to manage their finances. How can a woman in her 40s say this about women in their 20s, because I was that woman 20 years ago, and I have struggled for 20 years to learn how to do things.