I think moms spend so much time talking and thinking about getting kids to help around the house. How do I get them to do stuff without nagging constantly? How do I have them help where it’s not actually more work for me than doing than actual chore? How do I organize them? Do I pay them for chores?
So many questions. I think every family has to figure out what works best for them and usually through a ton of trial and error.
Couple of disclaimers before I tell you what we do:
- I am not type A, nor is Jason
- Our house is never spotless, we have 9 people living here. I’m happy if we can get through the house without tripping.
- We are really good at the blitz before people come over. (I’ll explain that below)
Now that you know more about us, here we go.
We do not pay for every day chores, that’s part of being in our family. But if we need stuff done above and beyond, we do pay for that.
I have tried chore charts, everyone has the same chores, etc, etc. It became such a chore for me to maintain.
So here is what we do now. After dinner, everyone has 3-5 chores depending on how bad our house looks. This usually takes only 20 minutes if everyone is on board. They come to me and ask me their chores one by one. Everyone always starts with getting their stuff ready for the next day.
Here are the chores:
- Unload dishwasher
- Load dishwasher
- Take out the trash
- Wipe down counters
- Wipe down the kitchen table
- Wipe down the chairs
- Sweep the kitchen/entry way/playroom
- Switch the laundry over and start a new load
- Pick up the playroom
- Clean the kids bathroom
- Clean windows (their favorite)
- Walk through the whole house and collect all the laundry
- Walk through the whole house and look for any dishes
- Sometimes I just give them a wipe and say go wipe that wall, baseboard, and floor
- If we just have stuff out, I give them a 10 or 20 item pickup.
- If we do this consistently, I can stay on top of the house. If we take a break, it falls apart.
- Another thing that we do is blitz, I’ll set a timer for 20 minutes and the kids follow me around the house. And we will go room by room and get it done.
Something else we’ve really been working on around here is purging. If we have less stuff, we have keep less stuff clean and there’s less to make a mess.
Our house at this stage in life and given our personalities will likely never be spotless. Remember that having chores for kids is not so you can get them to do your work for you. Having your children help with chores is training them. One day, they will live on their own, they need to know basic chores. They also need to know how to pitch in when they go to other people’s homes. This is not about you, it’s about training your kids for the future.
Despite our house not being spotless, our front door is always open and you can come on over anytime and hang out. I will not apologize for the house, because this is life. I will not tell you to come back another time when the house is clean. Take time and appreciate what you do get done and how your children contribute to maintaining their home.