We have a daily chore time after breakfast, at least most the time. I have 4 kids ages five and under. There are 5 chores they do, the same chore each particular day of the week. We have a picture chart on the fridge. Example, every Monday my daughter (5 yr old) vacuums the living room, Tuesday she wipes down the bathroom sink, Wednesday she wipes down windows and mirrors, Thursday she takes out trash, and Friday she dusts. My son (3yo) has the same chores on opposite days. My 2 year old gets a baby wipe and she wipes down anything she’d like, she just likes to join in. Yes, there may be a chore here and there they moan about, but that’s a teaching opportunity, and teaching that there is work we may not feel like doing but it has to be done anyway. Hey, I don’t like to clean bath tubs, but it’s gotta get done (is once a month cleaning them enough? 🙂 ).
But for the most part, they actually like doing chores. Even if they don’t like it, it’s become such a habit that it’s simply something we do and I don’t hear much complaining any more. Some chores they LOVE (washing windows is one). My son loves to vacuum, my daughter not so much. And they both love trash day. I go back and check their work and encourage them where they’ve done well, and show them where they need to scrub just a little harder. I take time in the beginning to actually teach them HOW to clean and what I expect of them.
When we first started chores we would sing a song we made up before we started that goes through making our beds, getting dressed, brushing teeth, then chores. And the chore part of the song says “I wanna help clean the house and do my part b/c I love my family with all my heart.” For me, it’s not a demand and “clean this and make my dinner!” attitude. It’s teaching a servant’s heart. It’s teaching to help take care of the home God gave us. To be faithful in the little. Teaching responsibilities and teamwork. I do my chores right along with them. It really doesn’t take long at all. Maybe 20 minutes to do it all-making beds, picking up rooms, getting dressed, teeth brushed and chore complete.
They have one scheduled chore a day that doesn’t take long to do and then the rest they do during the day aren’t called “chores” but are just us living life together. For instance, they start taking their own plates to the sink after meals as soon as those little tippy toes can help them reach their plates up over their heads to the sink. It quickly becomes a habit. A lot of times, by 3 or 4 years old, they don’t even have to be asked to take their plate and put it by the sink.
Each day one of the kids (ages 2,3, and 5) is the “Delivery Boy/Girl” for the day. They LOVE this. And that means that person collects all the waters before meals and I fill them up and they are delivered back out. This is such a big help to me. That person also delivers anything I need help with-paper towels, vitamins, etc. And now that the kids are older, that person gets to help make meals on their designated day.
We are working on something called “Tidy Time” where they are each assigned a particular area of the house and when I need the house tidied for my husband coming home from work, guests coming over, etc. they will be little experts at picking up their areas and it makes it so much easier on me to have them helping out. Carole Joy Seid said to tell them they are, “Little Lords and Ladies in waiting, learning how to take care of their own castles some day.”
They fight over who gets to unload the dishwasher and put the silverware away. They love to prepare the snacks for everyone. It’s such a great way to teach them to serve! My son loves a tidy room, but the girls have to be
threatened prompted to pick up their rooms. They come by it honest. My husband says I’m like a tornado that blew through when I leave a room.
Every kid is different. Some may be ready for these sooner than others, some later. These are just some ideas from what we do. And here is a printable version: Age Appropriate Chores
Here’s the “Ditty song.” I had been praying for something that gave us some order after breakfast, so we sing the ditty song and do what it says. Again, it doesn’t take long, and I love it because it’s teaching them what to do each day and to get their work done. It’s posted on our fridge, along with their visual chore chart.
DAILY CHORE CHART
The letter under the days are to tell the kids who will be the Delivery Boy/Girl that day.