I am proud that I own my cozy little house, but homeownership comes with huge responsibility. I share my space with my three kids and it is essential that I clean up throughout the day to keep my sanity and to keep things sanitary. My son, Jase, is 1 ½ years and strives to make the biggest mess he can while playing or eating, and he’s pretty good at it. My older daughters, Jaslene and Jenesis ages 10 and 6 respectively, have their own rooms and I totally hold them accountable for the upkeep.
I have found that putting words to paper make things stick.
I got tired of coming home barking orders everyday. I realized how ineffective it obviously was and decided to make a change. I would literally repeat the same things to my kids everyday: PIck your clothes up off the floor! Clean your room. Did you brush your teeth? My kids needed to stop relying on my constant reminders and I wanted them to take the initiative. They had to understand that daily chores were not an option and I wanted this to stick in their minds. So I created a chore list and printed one out for each daughter and it really works for us! One small change has saved me from so much unnecessary fussing!
Now all I have to say is, “Let’s get started on chores” and my kids know exactly what is expected from them. Both my daughters have an identical set of chores to do based on their age. Oh and Mom has chores too! I have noticed how much more enthusiastic my kiddos are about cleaning when we are doing it together as a family unit. I avoid engaging in social media during our clean up times, because when I’m just chilling my kids want to do the same. I also make cleaning a fun thing by incorporating music and dancing. The sooner we can get our housework done, the sooner we can relax and enjoy our space together.
My kids’ chore list is broken down by morning and evening routines. You can even create a different list depending on time of year, such as summer time chores or after school chores. Here is an example of what my kids’ chore list looks like:
- Make bed – Until I formed this habit for myself I never noticed how much it impacted my day. Coming home to a made bed somehow makes life feel more put together and my kids notice the difference too.
- Get dressed and brush your teeth – Self-explanatory. Good hygiene habits are a must and I encourage my kids to take pride in the way they present themselves.
- Tidy up bathroom – My kids have their own bathroom and are responsible for emptying their trash can, and keeping the toilet, sink, and bathroom mirror clean. All I do is provide them with the tools and products they need to do their job safely.
- Breakfast – I keep breakfast foods my kids can prepare themselves, such as donuts, cereal, and fruit.
- Complete homework – I stress to my kids that doing well in school is the #1 thing I want them to focus on.
- Do laundry – I have already taught my oldest daughter how to work our washer and dryer. My younger daughter just has to make sure her dirty clothes make it to the laundry room instead of on the floor. They both fold their own clothes and put their clothes away. They also help get their clothes in and out of the washer/dryer.
- Shower – I’m always emphasizing how important feminine hygiene is to my daughters.
- Clean room and bathroom – Before bed it is important that we go to sleep to a clean house so we don’t bring our next morning in with a bunch of mess.
- Make sure school papers mom needs to sign or see are on the kitchen counter BEFORE bed – Anything school related needs to be taken care of before bed, including making lunches, signing papers, etc
- Set out uniform/clothes for next day – Preparing the night before allows more time to sleep in and creates a better start to the day
Reward good behavior
Thankfully my kids are physically and mentally capable of completing all the above tasks on their own with little direction. At my house, we all play a role in keeping our home tidy. Outsourcing jobs to my kids takes some of the workload off of me so I’m grateful for my little workers. I am currently teaching my kids about money and what to do with it, so their incentive for working hard is an allowance. I pay my kids anywhere between $0 and $10 per week based on their performance with chores. With the money they earn, they have a choice to save, spend, or give it.
As your kids grow, their chore list should too
There are a number of other kid-friendly chores that did not make my kids list, like vacuuming, taking out the kitchen trash, dishes, yard work, feeding pets, etc. And as my kids get older, they will acquire different chores. I don’t overwork my kids, because they deserve an equal amount of time to play and have fun. The goal is to teach them responsibility and establish roles ad rules that enforce good structure in our home. My kids will not grow up depending on mommy to do every single little thing. They know how hard I worked to get us here and how important it is to take care of what we have. My kids and I are a solid team. I may be a single parent, but I’m never in this alone.
Do your kids have chores?