summer journal: chores

July 24th, 2012

I looked around for a pretty system to use for chores this summer (something like this, or this, or this) but in the end everyone got a list on a sticky note. Sometimes easy is better than pretty. They get a new list everyday, except Sunday, with two or three things on it depending on our schedule. Picking up toys, brushing teeth, getting dressed, etc. are not chores, just things they are responsible for everyday. Our chores are more like this:

summer chores

for the 6 1/2 year old:

  • cleaning the bathroom (with a squirt bottle filled with vinegar and water)
  • sweeping
  • washing the floors
  • doing dishes
  • folding towels and sheets and putting them away
  • weeding
  • + any thing else the younger set can do

summer chores

for the 5 year old:

  • vacuuming (his favorite)
  • taking out the garbage
  • wiping down the refrigerator, stove, dishwasher
  • emptying the dishwasher
  • folding clothes and putting them away
  • + anything his younger brother can do

summer chores

for the almost 3 year old:

  • crushing cans (I was surprised he could even do this!)
  • wiping off the table
  • folding napkins and rags
  • bringing in the groceries
  • feeding the dog
  • watering the plants

Honestly, I had been doing most (umm, all) of the chores because I thought it was easier and faster to do it myself. Well that was stupid. My kids do whatever is on their list and almost never complain that their chores are too hard. Complaining happens for other reason, for sure, but not because the work is difficult. As long as I mix it up enough they are happy to do their jobs. Do you have any good ideas for chores little kids can do?

Posted in the everyday.

39 Responses to summer journal: chores

  1. erin says:

    you have a great list going! other ones that we do as needed are setting the table, sorting the laundry, taking out the garbage/recycling, weeding the garden, dusting…when school starts, my kids also make their own lunches the night before.

  2. Marie says:

    I think I need to start having my kids do more chores. We have a chore chart, but about this time in the summer it seems to fade into the background.

  3. Wow! You guys are awesome! No wonder your house is always looking so clean and fabulous. I need one of those small army’s to come and help around my house! My mom always had these lists for us too, now i’m a dedicated list person.

    Big fan of the vinegar and water cleaner as well- feels so much better to spray all over the house rather than that chemically stuff.

  4. anna says:

    this is great! what a good example for the different ages. I’m horrible about dividing up the tasks, no wonder I complain, it’s my own fault. oh and I love your quote ‘Sometimes easy is better than pretty.’ that’s so true!!!!! I always think there are so many cute and prettier (and more time consuming) ways to do things, but I usually go the easy route, because as long as it gets done, that’s what counts.

  5. Kristin says:

    I have a spreadsheet with both kids names and chores for each day, sun-sat. When they are done w/ that chore for the day they check it off. They seem to like seeing the checkmarks and completions :) Each week I print a new one off.

    Why is it that kids love to vacuum? And mine also love to swiffer?? LOL.

  6. Nice! It is so easy to forget that you are teaching your children important skills (as well as giving them something positive to do) by making them do chores. My sons are 3 1/2 and 12 months. I need to get a chore chart going my older son. Thanks!

  7. Kelley G says:

    woah. I need to do this. now.

  8. sophie says:

    These are great ideas. I just started having my oldest set the dinner table. I, too, thought it would be easier for me to just do it, but she does it quickly, correctly, and loves it. Win win! She also loves helping to fold the laundry and diapers.

  9. CitricSugar says:

    In pairs, they can fold sheets. My friend’s daughter loved to clean baseboards (?????) and apparently, I was making coffee at the age of 3. My mother insists that I was (somewhat) supervised and it was only on weekends. We also used to pick veggies and shell peas during the summer, but we ate almost as many peas as we shelled. :-)

    • meg says:

      can you imagine walking up to a pot full of coffee made by your children? ahhhhhh.

      • Caila says:

        Meg and CitricSugar — That was one of my chores as a kid, haha! I grew up in England and it was just a thing with the families we knew. I always got up first, started the coffee and then got ready for school. And apparently I even took a mug to my mom’s room before getting in the shower, although I DO NOT remember that part. :) My kids are so spoiled, ha!

  10. Jessica says:

    I would love it if my kids were old enough to do chores (without me standing over them). They’re only 2-years-old and 4 months, so it will be awhile. But, I love that kids still do chores!

    • I’ve recently got my 18mo son onto emptying the cutlery from the dishwasher into the drawer. It isn’t much, but it’s a start. He loves doing it too. Gets up on tippy toes to peek in the drawer and see what’s going on. Most nights before he goes to be we ‘all’ pick up all his toys too.

  11. mara says:

    I fondly remember chores — it’s a good thing to learn early on. Here are some that come to mind: washing the car(s), washing windows, sweeping the garage and/or driveway, anything having to do with the dog (walk him, wash him, play fetch with him, brush him, teach him tricks), making beds daily, watering plants, emptying garbage bins from around the house on garbage day, dusting, set and clear the dinner table, sweep the kitchen floor every night…In the summer before Mom went for work she would leave each of us a list (5 things) with little boxes by each item and she expected them all be done and checked off by the time she got home from work. Sometimes we would race around the house in the hour before she got home — but they always got done!! You know what also helps? An allowance!!

  12. rachel says:

    wow, meg, that’s impressive. i thought i was asking my kids to do a lot at 7 and 5 but yours are doing even more. go you! we’ve found it helpful to offer to pay the kids – 50 cents/chore for chores that don’t involve them picking up after themselves. (picking up after themselves is an expectation.) i know paying kids for chores is controversial. some people say they should do it without being paid – it’s part of being a family. i get that. but we don’t really buy things for our kids outside of christmas and their birthdays, so we feel it’s teaching them about earning and saving money. my son knows if he wants the fancier lego set, he has to keep saving and not spend all of his money on the less fancy set. another great motivator for chores in our family is “clean before screen.” in the summer we let them have an hour of screen time/day. but before they can watch, the house has to be picked up. it works great because i’m not nagging. instead i just remind them of the house rule and tell them it’s up to them when they want to do their chores – but no screens until it’s clean.

    • meg says:

      I can’t decide about allowance. I think maybe we’ll start it in the fall, after they are used to daily chores

  13. sarah says:

    Although we don’t have any chore doers around the house, I constantly think, “this would be a good kid chore” for when we do have little chore doers. Here’s some ideas: cleaning up trash in the car, carrying laundry up and down stairs, picking up dishes left around the house, carrying everyone’s shoes to their closets, putting out/getting mail from box, collecting trash from all the cans around the house, putting out/bringing in trash/recycling cans, taking compost out, helping in the yard/garden: watering pots, harvesting food, pulling weeds, fill birdbath, spreading mulch, hand picking bad bugs, picking up sticks before mowing. I also think it’s a great idea to have your kids help prepare meals – opening cans, getting ingredients from the cabinets, tearing lettuce, shredding cheese. I think it’d be fun to have your little helpers take turns helping make dinner. I also was my dad’s assistant on many a home improvement project – get the phillips screwdriver, hand me the bolt/nut/washer. Oh, and kids are good at sorting stuff – sock pairs, silverware, etc

  14. Jo Batey says:

    All our kids do chores – similar to yours. We decided that age 7 was the perfect age to learn to make a cup of tea!! I think 61/2 would be ok for this one! The 2 ytr old recently asked to learn to use the kettle to make tea!!

  15. Ana says:

    My little boy is 17 months old and already helps (quite voluntarily) with emptying the dishwasher, hoovering (not much gets hoovered but he likes to help any way) and putting things in recycling. I shall definitely keep your list for future inspiration!

  16. jen says:

    Oh this is fantastic. I have four kids (and another on the way) so my life IS Chores….in amongst the giggling and the playing and the crafting and the adventures and the loving that is… I get my kids to help along the way. If i do the chores with them they love it (mumma time) but if i ask them to do it on their own they whinge and whinge and it ends in shrieks and yelps…from us all :) I think having a chart will really help..I hope so…I reckon i could sell it to them by saying if they helped more then they will have more mumma time! Yay all around! Can you tell me what is the vinegar/water ratio and what type of vinegar?? I currently use a vanilla/alcohol combo which is available here in Australia and most importantly is kid safe..But its not cheap! Thanks for the inspiration

  17. My friend starts her little ones out with making sure the bathroom(s) have toilet paper & empty all the trash.

  18. Krista says:

    My son is only 2. I expect him to help pick up toys. When I fold laundry, I ask him to put away the bibs and baby washcloths in their appropriate drawer. (That is HIS designated drawer for now, but as he gets more capable i will add more laundry putting away.) He also helps to out away groceries. Sometimes i give him the feather duster and let him have fun dusting the shelves. He usually dusts the floor more though.

  19. Cate says:

    dusting, washing windows, hanging out the laundry (and bringing it in again), sorting and folding the underwear and then putting it away, washing finger prints off the walls (is that just my house?) sweeping…. my list goes on, but my kids also think I ask too much. I let them choose what they want from a list and then that’s how they earn pocket money. I’ve also started paying myself for those same jobs because it makes them so much more bearable!

  20. Shelly says:

    Saw this pop up on pintrest today:

    BTW: you are awesome!

  21. kristin says:

    so awesome and so motivating! the kids chip in from time to time (the 19 month old loves to help unload the diswasher and “sweep,” the 4 year old voluntarily makes her own bed every day) but we haven’t really implemented an official chore chart yet. i thought they were too young but apparently not! after reading your post, i had Em set the table tonight and she was totally happy to. she gave each of us our favorite color of cloth napkin. SCORE!

  22. Such a great idea and less stressful for you! I give my 2 year old a few chores like “helping” me make the bed by putting the pillows on the bed, obviously helping clean up his toys daily, and I’ve been letting him help “carry” in a light bag of groceries to help mama, close up the dishwasher for me or stick a spoon in the carrier. Put his dirty laundry in his basket, etc. I think chores are a good thing!

  23. Pumpkinbear says:

    I’m kind of notorious in my circle of friends for having my kids do a “lot” of chores, but honestly, chores take very little time IF they focus and work hard. Adding to the list, at 6 and 8 my girls also clean their rooms completely every day, scrub the toilet (with Seventh Generation cleaner) once a week or so, water the outdoor gardens every other day, clean up after all their own messes (including art projects and cooking projects) completely, and make their own breakfasts and lunches and then clean up after themselves completely. They can scrub the floors, but it’s quicker for me to steam mop so I don’t ask them unless I’m too busy, and they scrub our deck furniture once a month or so, take all the laundry down to the washing machine, etc. I don’t pay them for their work, but I think it makes all the difference in the world that they know that I really do need their help. I can’t stay home with them, work from home, homeschool them, AND do all the household chores by myself, so my kiddos know that their work is crucial to keeping our family running smoothly.

  24. Ash P says:

    I love this!!! Good for you, I never thought about making my kids help out around the house, such wonderful inspiration….buhahahahaha!

  25. Sarahee says:

    I have questions! :) How many per day? How often do they clean the bathroom per week? I need to do this pronto!