Hi. So. Today we’re going to talk about one of my favorite things…a clean house. The one HUGE thing that all moms wish for (what? you don’t have daydreams about sparkling walls and countertops?).
Yes. I know I have issues.
No, I don’t want help, but thank you.
I like keeping a clean house. No, really! I live by my chores list.
It makes me happy, keeps me sane, and you know what they say…happy mom, happy kids? Yup. That. So. I work daily (well, Monday through Friday, at least) on my overarching weekly chore list. This helps makes sure that my bathrooms are clean, the beds are made, and there aren’t
too many any dishes in the sink.
Let’s Face It…Doing ALL.THE.CHORES Is Exhausting
…even for me.
There. I said it. The clean freak in me is tired. BUT, this is why I had kids.
So I use my weekly chore list in a bit of a different way…chores are what we do after schooling is done, but before we eat lunch. Smalls helps with with the items he can, and we knock it out. Every. Single. Day.
Free labor…right? You still with me? Chores are a great way to help teach your kids, even the little ones, responsibility. Chores help your children take ownership of their home and surroundings. This is a very, very good thing.
So, like I said, I’m a big proponent of kids learning while actually doing something. And chores teach responsibility, timeliness, cleanliness…I’m sure I could go on, but we’ll leave it at that, shall we?
Let’s not forget that your children doing the vacuuming will save you time, which (if you’re like me) you can devote to work, or other tasks that you have on deck.
Start Early With Your Chores List
Smalls has been helping with chores since he turned 2. Yup, you read that right. 2. Years. Old. 2. He was capable, and if you have littles, you know that no one is happier than a kid doing a “grown up” job. It’s like giving them a buttload of sugar without the nasty hyperactivity.
The first chores I ask my kids to do are very simple:
- Make their bed
- Put laundry in the laundry basket
- Clean up toys (with help)
- Pick out clothes
The point here is to help your kids get used to helping. Are they going to forget? Sure. But you can gently remind them. I’ve found that if I make my bed, my kids will also make theirs…without nagging reminders.
What About Rewards?
I work hard for my money…so hard for my money…
And guess what? So do you. And your kids should help with chores, but sometimes it helps to have a little motivation. I’m not talking about paying kids to do the things that they should do every day, but if you have to work to get paid…they should earn something for the work they’re doing, don’t you think?
Smalls gets to earn rewards by tracking his tasks using Chore Monster. But he doesn’t get money. Instead, he gets an afternoon at the park with dad, or a trip to the zoo, or 10 extra minutes before bed…things that to him are extra special.
Now, I’ll adjust this as he grows, but I do NOT believe in paying your kids to help with things that they should be doing anyway (no one pays me to brush my teeth or answer emails for work!).
Let The Chores Grow WITH Your Kids
As your kids get older…say preschool age, you can start adding complexity to the chores, and your child should be able to understand (and use) a chore chart.
This may seem silly, but for Smalls’, the chart was paramount. My kid loves rewards…and with his chart, he had a real-time tracker for his accomplishments each week, and I have a visual to see what has been done, and what still needs doing.
In addition to the previously mentioned chores, Smalls can:
- Dress himself
- Clean up messes (spilled drinks, play dough mess, etc.)
- Set the table
- Clear the table
- Unload the dishwasher
- Load his own dishes
- Help with meals
- Hang his towels
- Fold Laundry
- Use the Cordless Sweeper
- Feed and water our pet
- Clean baseboards
- Dust the windowsills
Keep Adding Responsibility
As Smalls masters his current chores and asks for more responsibility (either verbally or through actions), we’ll slowly add things from the following list:
- Brush teeth
- Tie shoes
- Empty the trash
- Wash windows
- Clean bathrooms
- Mop tile
- Bathe/shower by himself
- Load the washer
- Unload the dryer
- Rake leaves
- Change the sheets
- Clean mirrors
- Mow the lawn
- Clean the concrete
- Take the trash to the curb
- Cook on the stove
- Prepare meals
- Make the grocery list
- Plan the week’s menu
Resist The Urge to “Fix” It
Now, my littles don’t always do their chores “up to snuff”…but since we’re talking about a 4.5 year old, I will let it slide. So we rotate his responsibilities so that I can help teach him the proper way to do things (such as dusting), making sure that he has time to “shadow” me and learn how to effectively dust, mop, sweep, vacuum, etc.
By following behind him, all I’m teaching him is that his effort isn’t good enough. Not something I want him to learn.
Now, I realize that a lot of the tasks I mention are NOT on my weekly list…that’s because they’re in my planner. We don’t always get it all done, but we do well the majority of the time. He’s still learning…right?