Monday, February 27, 2012

Kids & Chores

This week I am going to be talking about Kids and Chores. All 7 days, today through Sunday. . .my first blog series!

My Anna made this button for me!
The Intentional Home is a family thing.
I chose Kids & Chores as my first blog series for 3 reasons:

1.     I am often asked how I do it all. My answer is always, “Oh I so do not do it all.” Quickly followed with “I get my kids to do a lot of it.”  And when I say that, the next question is always, “How do you get your kids to do chores? Or some variation of that like, “I try to get my kids to do chores, but they always complain. It is just easier to do it myself.” 

So this week I'll answer the question of how I get my kids to do chores. For those of you who are new to The Intentional Home blog, I have 5 kids, ages 5 to 14. I have a preschooler, 2 elemetaryt schoolers, a middle schooler, and a high schooler. Here are my hard workers:

2.  I used to say it was easier to do the household chores myself than listen to the whining. I used to say it was easier and quicker to do the task myself than take the time to teach the kids how to do the chore right.  That is just not true anymore.  The larger my family grew, the more I was unable to do it all by myself. It was just too much and I needed help. I soon discovered that the main key to keeping the home clean is a consistent chore time for my kids.

3.     As I shared, I have a 14, 12, 11, 7, and 5 year old. Once my older 3 kids hit age 2 or 3, they started doing chores. But I have not intentionally focused on teaching my younger 2 the hows of doing chores or the why of doing chores.  Here are my 2 younger kiddos who are going to grow up being hard working men who choose to joyfully serve:

Well, I wanted to put a pic here of my 2 youngest but that picture
is on my computer and the screen is still broken. Supposedly
the screen comes today. I'll add the picture later.

Jonathan is 5 now. Daniel, who we just adopted at age 7; has only been home for 7 months. So now I need to teach them about chores. This week will help me create a vision, set goals, and develop a plan.

My Brooke who is good at helping around the house.

This is what you can expect this week. Note: Since the series is complete now, you can just click on each title below to be taken to that post.

Tomorrow, Tues: How to Teach Kids to Do Chores

Wed: Age Appropriate Chores
Thurs: Dealing with Attitudes and Chores

Sat: How Chores Do So much More than Just Help Keep the House Clean

Sun: Using Scripture to Teach about Chores 

I sure do appreciate all the emails you have been sending me about Kids & Chores. Keep them coming. Tell me how you did chores when you were little. Is that how you do them with your own kids? Tell me what questions you have when it comes to Kids & Chores. . .I am making a list and will answer them this week. Tell me what system works for you at your house; I'd love to hear and share so others have ideas to work with. So leave a comment or send me an email or fill out the contact form here. We were so made to run intentional homes.


  1. I am so excited to read your posts this week. I have an almost 3 year old and a 1 year old. I am quickly realizing there is no way I can do this all myself and would like to start teaching my little guys about helping around the house.

  2. Hey - THANKS so much - I always need more ideas!!
    we started young with the goal(intent!) that when older, they would just never remember not doing them. So much easier to just know it is expected than trying to turn the tide. But, that said, we have been at it for several years now (mine are 5 and 7) and constantly have to re-think how to get it done. Part of it is that I am not that structured myself. With all this pretty "winter" weather, I keep telling them, "well, tomorrow we will get it done bc surely it will be too cold to play outside tomorrow." Our Christmas decor stayed up a whole extra week bc of that! I find it easy to procrastinate.
    Some ways we have tried: sticker charts, Accountability Kids (we actually purchased a system!) - this worked well for a year, then we re-painted and took it down and never put it back up...but it did help us find a rhythm (if anyone buys it, just know it can get very complicated - we kept it simple), "beat the clock" (how fast can we get a room cleaned up, using a timer), lately mine have found it fun if I put the chores in a cup on separate pieces of paper and they draw what they are going to do. Don't ask me why but they LOVE this. I used to put on Mary Poppins Spoonful of Sugar when they were little and we would see how fast we could put away toys - the music gets really fast and mine had fun going faster and faster.
    Right now we are doing a sticker chart for getting ready in the morning : basic hygiene "chores" (we call everything that is not a game a "chore") and making their bed - if you get all five checks/days, you get a $1 to spend at Dollar Tree on Friday. I am not for bribing my kids or paying them to brush their teeth but our mornings were really falling apart with lots of yelling from me, lots of dawdling from them - they now don't eat until everything is done except teeth brushing...and get the check if it is all done by 7:30 (allows us a slight buffer).
    I am waiting for a free day in the next week to put all our toys back up in the attic except a few favorites. The best they ever do with chores is when they each only have about 3 toys (versus 300). I think kids, like I do, get overwhelmed at where to start cleaning, where do things go, etc when there is just too much stuff. All the clutter clutters your mind. They earned back toys once a week if they kept their room clean (easy to do with just 3 toys). It also helped determine which toys they really valued. I should do that more often...
    At around 3, mine could empty little trashcans, dust/swiff, gather laundry, wipe out sinks, had a little broom and would help sweep, could put away silverware from the dishwasher and their own cups and plates (which we kept down low).
    By now, they are vacuuming, cleaning the whole bathroom (not very well but doing it - I need to learn to "teach" more), can wipe down the table, clean lower parts of windows (which is where all the fingerprints are anyway), they help sweep and mop (again, not very well but my 5 year old did actually sweep the whole kitchen this week!).
    Looking forward to more great ideas for you and others!

  3. We've worked hard on the structure of accountability and helping the kids be responsible for both their own items (homework, being ready on time in the morning etc) as well as helping around the house. While we've developed a great system for tracking and rewarding, we continually struggle with feeling like they either don't do a good job with the chore (half done), they don't do it at all unless we remind multiple times, or they argue and avoid to the point where we get frustrated. Cleaning rooms and picking up belongings downstairs before bed are the biggest ones we struggle with. Our two girls share a room and it is a non-stop battle to get that room clean. I'm tired of being frustrated by it! Rewards and losing marbles (our incentive system) don't seem to make a difference. That's the piece I'm looking for help with!

  4. Working on a system now. Help and participation has just always been expected when asked but now I want them (6 and nearly 4) to have a sense of regularity and personal responsibility. And less prodding from me. I'm nearly done reading Magic 1-2-3 which addresses chores (among other things) and will interested to read your thoughts this week. You're site mow has a mobile feature! You're really coming along! :)

  5. I'm so excited to come across this series, as I am at the beginnings of creating a family system. I am finding even mom and dad need a chore chart!!


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