Today, let’s talk about household chores for kids.
I have struggled, like most of you I’m sure, with keeping my house clean, especially with children in the home. This is something that gets on my nerves a lot and I wish it didn’t. We have a small house, so when things are a mess, daily, I feel like I can’t function or I can’t enjoy my day. Even though my kids are playing and making memories, I can’t look past the mess. They play with an activity and leave it out on their way to the next activity. Even my older kids just leave stuff lying around, no matter how many times I tell them to clean up after themselves. Today I’d like to share with you the four chores for kids that keep my house manageable.
This one is the easiest out of the four in my opinion because it’s not always in my face saying, “Clean me and put me away!” And maybe that’s because we have a system that works for us. But I do hate all the random clothes I’ll find around my house. Mostly lonely socks my kids kicked off while playing or shirts they took off cause they were too hot while wrestling. First off, we don’t separate our clothes into light colors, dark colors, and whites. That’s just too much extra work for me. And we don’t wash our clothes on any special cycles. It’s the normal cycle only in this house. If it has to be washed on the delicate cycle or anything, I either don’t buy it, or I just wash it with my other clothes like normal.
We have five hampers in our house. One for my oldest, one for my second oldest, one for my three kids that share a room, and two for my husband and I (ours are the only ones that we separate whites from the colors). Basically, one for each kids room, and two for our room. Then each day, one laundry basket gets washed and folded, and hopefully put away. Our two older kids wash, fold, and put away their own laundry. We made a schedule so everyone knows which day was theirs.
Monday- Little Kids Laundry
Tuesday- Mom and Dad’s Whites
Wednesday- Mom and Dad’s Colors
Thursday- Erika’s Laundry
Friday- Sydney’s Laundry
Saturday-Towels and Sheets
We started using this method maybe a year or so ago and it’s been working really well for us. There are definitely days that laundry doesn’t get washed, so we do multiple loads in one day to get caught up. And we don’t wash towels and sheets weekly, just when we notice it needs to get done. This is a good chore for kids because they just have to load the clothes, add the soap, and turn it on. After you show them a few times, they seem to enjoy having a big kid chore. Unfortunately, I have stacked front loaders, so only the kids that can reach the dryer on top, do the laundry. So that is my 9,11,and 16 year old right now.
2. Kitchen Chores
I hate dishes the most out of all house hold chores. They pile up so quickly. Since I started homeschooling, it’s even worse because everyone but my husband is home all day eating for three meals a day plus some snacks. Nobody takes care of their own dishes. Nobody takes the initiative to do the dishes because it’s such a large job. Dishes are lying around the house waiting for the maid (aka mom) to clean them up. On a side note, I’ve been watching Downton Abbey, what happened to the days where you had a cook, butler, house maids, and lady’s maids? My life would be so much nicer if I had all those employees too!
In the past, I’ve tried to assign dishes as a chore for my kids, but it hasn’t worked well. The chore would be something like load and wash all the dishes from the day. Which is a giant job for me, so I don’t know why I thought my kids should be able to handle it. I would only give the chore to my two oldest since my little kids couldn’t do all of that. And of course, I had lots of complaints. Then when I was sick of hearing complaints, I stopped expecting them to do the job and I just did it myself. That’s not necessarily helpful to them or me.
Recently, it occurred to me to divide it all up into smaller bite size steps. My three younger kids unload a different section of the dishwasher instead of the whole dishwasher. The top rack, the bottom rack, and the utensils. Ideally that would get done first thing in the morning, but it doesn’t, so that we can all load our dishes through out the day. So I usually load the dishes from the day whenever it gets unloaded. Then one of my older girls loads the dishwasher with dinner dishes at the end of the day, while the other hand washes all the big dishes. All of these chores rotate daily.
I also added wiping the table, wiping the counter, and setting the table. Having all these chores for my kids in bite size steps, makes them feel more able to do the task. It’s not quite a huge task when everyone takes a small part of it. It has been working really well. The kids can look at the chart to see what is their job that day. My husband and I can look at it quickly without having to think of who to ask. It’s all printed out and hanging on the kitchen wall.
These are the kitchen chores for kids that help me feel better about my kitchen. It’s not quite as overrun with dishes anymore. I created the printable for you to use as well. There is one with the same assignments that I use, and you fill in the names of your kids, or there is a completely blank one for you to create your own list of chores. There is a PDF and JPEG format. If you want to type onto the document, you can upload the JPEG to Canva and add your own text on top of the document. Fill out the form at the bottom of the page to download the chore chart.
This is the first house I’ve had all hardwood floors, and I hate it. I have light colored floors and I can see every smudge, wet shoe mark, dog hair, food crumbs, etc. An hour after I sweep, it looks just as dirty again. I blame it on not having carpets. With hardwood floors, everything slides across the floor with ease. If a toy gets bumped while walking, it skids across the floor under the couch. If anyone comes in from outside and doesn’t take off their shoes, dirt is everywhere. And cleaning hardwood floors takes twice as long as vacuuming carpet.
So with hardwood floors, I feel like it needs to be swept daily, and in the evening when all activities are done. This helps the house feel a little cleaner. Especially when I wake up to clean floors. Now, understand, I don’t sweep my whole house everyday. It’s just the downstairs, which includes the living room, kitchen, dining room, and hall. I don’t sweep upstairs very often. It definitely doesn’t get as dirty since there’s not much traffic up there during the day. And we definitely go days without sweeping downstairs when we are just too busy. But having the plan of sweeping each night helps it get done more often.
Use this chore for kids so they can get good practice. Sometimes I cringe when my kids sweep because they aren’t getting all the way to the wall, or they completely missed a section. But I have to remember they are never going to learn how to do their chores well, if I am doing them for them all the time.
Bathrooms are disgusting. Kids are disgusting and make the bathrooms disgusting. I’ve been cleaning houses for a couple years now and I clean every other week. My clients bathrooms are always so clean! I’ve had small children for 16 years and they are exhausting, so the bathroom has only ever gotten clean when I couldn’t stand how gross it was anymore. But now my youngest is 5 and I think it’s time the bathrooms got cleaned regularly so they are always clean, instead of always dirty.
I wish my bathroom could look this clean all the time. Maybe one day (a mom can dream, right?).
This is another chore for kids that is getting done every other week, like I do for my clients. And having a schedule like this for the bathrooms and for the sweeping, kitchen, and laundry, helps me stay a little more sane. And remember, I am not perfect. I do not stick to the schedule perfectly every week, or even every day. But having a schedule and knowing what it is, helps me and my family know where we need to start again when we’ve fallen off the band wagon.
I know it sounds like I’m complaining about how dirty my house is, I kind of am. But that’s why I’ve come up with this system of the four main chores I’d like done in my house with a schedule so it can be slightly cleaner than it normally is. And this is of course part of raising a family.
I hope I’m not the only one that gets annoyed at the state of my house. For those of you struggling with the same thing, it does get better. I look forward to the day my youngest is old enough not to throw things all over the house, but I know I’ll miss being with them at this age. Remember to focus on your family instead of chores that need to get done, otherwise you’ll totally miss the blessings and miracles happening around you.