Current chore list

This question popped up once or twice when I asked for blogging ideas, so here’s what we do currently.  The list changes about every 3 months.  This is more often than hubby and I prefer, but not nearly as often as the children would like.

  • Deanna (16yo): clean & straighten living room; plan and cook dinner; rinse dinner dishes; iron
  • Kaitlyn (14yo): burn trash; clean & straighten dining room; put away clean dishes; iron
  • Lydia (13yo): Lydia has requested all outdoor and animal duties: feed & water animals (chickens, dogs, cat); keep yard picked up; take out compost; “first shift” on dinner dishes (clear & wipe counters, put away leftovers, set up coffee for following morning); iron
  • Megan (11yo): clean & straighten bathroom and kitchen; wash dinner dishes; iron
  • Natalie (9yo) & Becca (8yo): hang all laundry to dry; sort and fold dry laundry, put away towels and diapers; clean & straighten laundry room; breakfast & lunch dishes; clear & wipe table after dinner.
  • Rachael (5yo): clean and straighten deck (under Lydia’s supervision); help clear table after dinner.
  • Perry (3yo): empty small trash cans in bedrooms.

More notes:

The kids also put away their own laundry and are responsible to keep their bedroom clean.

8yo Becca very often volunteers to cook breakfast.  She made pancakes this morning.

Deanna often has help with dinner.  Her primary duty is to plan and prepare a main dish.

This list is not comprehensive: some people regularly help above and beyond the scope of their daily chores, and I have no reservation about making “extra” requests of anyone and everyone when the need arises.  The sentence, “But that’s not my job” is a capital offense in our house.  We used to have more children, but had to make examples of some.  😉

Comments

  1. I only have one 4 year old daughter and she also helps in the following ways (i do consider these chores)…
    -unload plastics and silverware from the dishwasher
    -pick up her toys and gets her bed ready each night (she likes it a particular way, so she is tasked with that before i get up there)… and makes sure all her toys are put away before bed.
    -helps me with the groceries… carries in lighter bags and then helps me put the groceries away.
    -helps me take in/out the garbage on garbage day
    -helps take the dogs out, feed and water them (not every day)
    -helps take up the laundry to our rooms after i’ve folded them… and can fold some smaller items.

    I’m also going to have her start bringing all the smaller trash cans to the kitchen on trash day to help make sure all of them get put together. She likes helping Mommy and she likes baking with me. She also likes “sweeping” the kitchen floor (she thinks she’s doing it, lol)

    I think part of it is to make it fun while they are little. Even at that age they can learn that we do things to help others (or serve).

    Melissa

  2. Wow! I haven’t had an opportunity to check in for a while, and I’m somewhat floored by the reactions to my question/comment. I certainly did not mean for anyone to infer that I was being critical of Kim’s choices for her children. After all, they are just that – her children (well, of course, they are God’s children and her husband’s children, too 🙂 – so what works for their household might not work for mine, and vice versa. I certainly wasn’t a perfect parent by anyone’s criteria. I did the best I could with the knowledge I had and what worked for our household. My daughters are both responsible, stable, intelligent, and pleasant young women who love God – and keep a clean home! All this in spite of the fact that I did the majority of chores when they were growing up. Of course, if they demonstrated an interest in helping, I encouraged their help. They are both great cooks – much better cooks than I am, thankfully. I also didn’t mean to infer that my daughters never helped around our home. While we didn’t have a “chore schedule” and while I couldn’t (at the time) have conceived the idea of them doing all that Kim’s children do, they did help around the house. They also had time to be children, so to speak. I encouraged their individuality, their ability to be free-thinkers, dreamers, and somehow along the way, they learned to sweep and mop, to do laundry, to cook, to dust, etc. So, Kim – my apologies to you if my comment came across as critical, which was not my intent. I was only curious – and, as they say, curiousity killed the cat! This cat will know some things are better left unasked next time!!
    Thanks for sharing your life as you do – you are truly an inspiration – and I am thankful for the blessings your blog brings. Keeping you and yours always in my prayers, Debbie

  3. April Bauer says:

    This was a great post. I have had several people telling me that I have my children do too much work and I feel they don’t do enough. Their list isn’t as extensive as yours, but we don’t have animals and the oldest is almost 9. Still, I rely on him for so many things. I jokingly call him my pack mule in training. He enjoys the attention and knowing that he is a strong guy. The 2yo does help put some dishes away, plastic, spoons so forth and he also helps the big ones unload the washer. It’s never too early to teach them to help others and care for themselves.
    My brother is single at 33 and if my mother hadn’t taught him to do housework/laundry/cooking he’d be in a mess now. I know my children are learning valuable lessons from helping about. And when someone complains about a job, they take it on for a week and the others get a break. I find it to be a nice incentive.
    april

  4. Thank for this. I now know I’m not being an ogre over here, and in fact , should probably be having them do more. My oldest (almost ten)cleans the kids’ bathroom (nearly) every day and usually gives her four year old brother his bath every other night. She also folds laundry and other misc. things as need be. I am also now teaching her my bread technique (we use wild yeast for all the bread) and she is picking up on that really well. The boys (8,5,4) clean up after supper and do dishes and laundry as well my two littlest can pick up a toy here and there. I agree with Wendy, too that I really have to not expect perfection (my son’s idea of folding laundry and mine are very different). They are learning. I need to be patient.

  5. The last line also cracked me up! My husband has also said that before to some friends! They usually just look at him not sure if he’s serious or not! 🙂

    Thank you for posting this list….it reminds me to inspect the work!

  6. After reading the others’ comments, I have a few additional of my own 🙂
    I was taught by a Godly older woman, “Inspect what you expect.” They are children, after all.
    The younger the child, the more excited they are to be given work–it’s fun to them, and makes them feel part of the family–don’t waste this opportunity.
    You have to expect that when someone is learning something, they will not do it perfectly (e.g. the way you do it:)–but God allows us to help Him with the very crucial job of sharing the gospel with others and making disciples–if He can allow us to do that, as imperfectly as we do, we should be able to let our children do our laundry imperfectly while learning.
    When I got married, I didn’t know how to cook. (or do many other home functions.) I was determined I would not give that disadvantage to my daughter. She is an excellent cook, and a hard worker, as is my son.
    Showing the example of considering work “normal,” even “fun,” is a Godly one. Work is not part of the curse–it was part of the Garden of Eden, and will be part of heaven! Playing and lack of responsibilities is not something you can find in the Bible–unless you count the children who harrassed the prophet and then were attacked by a bear for their misdeeds!
    Oh, yes, and finally, the way we taught our oldest (a boy) to do laundry, at 8 years old, and this could be transferred to many other chores, was to write the instructions on a square card/piece of paper, put clear contact paper over it, punch a hole in the bottom of the square card (so when he tilts it up to read it will be going in the right direction), put a long piece of yarn through the hole, so he could put it over his head and look at it for reference while doing the job. It hung in the laundry room on a hook when not in use. Of course, I supervised and was by his side at the beginning. He still does quite a bit of the laundry (age 23). Both my children “look down”, shall we say, or at least notice, young people who don’t know how to work or are “slow”–actually, I am fairly “slow”, but I get the job done, which is the important thing. The attitudes and character which are taught through chores are the most important reason to train them to do them. (Sorry for the length of this–the comments of others just made me think of so many things I wanted to share:)
    Wendy

  7. Wendy,
    Yes, that’s my own quote. I had a good giggle over it when I typed it but worried just a bit that readers might take it wrong. I’m glad it’s been received in the spirit it was intended. 😀
    Of course you can use the quote.

  8. “We used to have more children, but had to make examples of some.”
    Kim, is that original to you? I love that quote! May I quote you–my friends at church (non-bloggies) will love it! Thanks for sharing your chore list. Don’t tell them I said so, but your 8 and 9-year-olds have the hardest jobs, I think! But then, I have never liked laundry, especially hanging wet clothing. However! This is the age to get them really used to doing hard work, without complaining! You are wise. I love the book, “More hours in my day” by Emilie Barnes, partly for the list of jobs that even the smallest child can do. Also, I will never forget the suggestion I heard many years ago that a 1 1/2 year old can help with dinner by tearing greens for a salad. I implemented this with our daughter (I think she was much older though–maybe 2). Thanks again and let me know about that quote!
    Wendy

  9. Oh what a wonderful post Kim, I LOVE it!! I 100% wholeheartedly agree with you! I also love what Susan said, completely true. I have four boys ages 9,8,5 and 3 and they are perfectly capable and able to do many chores around our house. 9 and 8yr old make beds, gather laundry and cups in the am, make their beds and supervise 5 yr old making his bed (3 yr old sleeps with us) The big boys also sweep, do counters and load dishwasher and wash pots and pans after every meal, 5 yr old clears his dishes and his little brothers dishes. They feed the fish and 9 yr old knows he earns a dollar when he volunteers to spend an hour doing poop patrol of our hundred pound dog so he often does! all the kiddos pick up after themselves including three year old. 3 yr old gets to help feed and give water to kitties, the big boys feed and give water to our dog twice a day and my 8 yr old also has a lizard he takes care of… the list goes on and on. We also homeschool and 9and8 yr old help their 5 yr old brother during reading time and with his books so he learns to follow directions from them as well as me. Lastly I clean two people’s house each week and the big boys help me wash windows, vacuum, sweep and mop and dust. The only thing they have yet to master is cleaning bathrooms. 5 yr old is “in charge” of playing with and occupying 3 yr old while we clean.
    People always comment on how helpful my boys always are and they such good boys. Having a houseful of boys my worst nightmare is “oh no, the Cunningham boys are here”!! LOL
    chores are so important and exactly like you said Kim, they probably spend less than an hour a day doing them total.

  10. “The sentence, “But that’s not my job” is a capital offense in our house. We used to have more children, but had to make examples of some. ”
    That made me laugh out loud! Twice! 😀

  11. To Debbie, again,

    I’m not comparing your daughters to my neighbors, since you said that your daughters are responsible :-).

    Also, I’m sure that the joy you displayed in your homemaking served as an excellent example as your girls were growing up. Fulfilling responsibilities with joy go hand in hand – something I’m still working on.

    Susan

  12. In response to Debbie (even though my name’s not KimC):

    Having been around children my entire life, I can safely say that it is an unusual child who will, if given the freedom to just “be a child”, turn out as anything but a freeloader. He will wait to be served by others, disdaining to lift a finger to benefit another, unless it also benefits himself. I live in a neighborhood of families, and I use that term “family” loosely, where many of the men sit around a good portion of the day on their duffs, expecting “help” from anyone who’s willing to give it, and resenting anyone who refuses to “help” by giving handouts.

    As Jesus Christ gave us an example of a perfect servant, how can I do less than teach my children to serve? How can I teach them to serve, if they are not expected to . . . well . . . serve? I am far from the cream of the crop in parents, but I could count myself a downright failure if I reneged (sp?) on my responsibility to teach my children how to care for their home, property, clothes, animals, siblings, parents, guests, etc.

    Without giving them the basic discipline of completing chores, I am shortchanging them from one of the best things they could learn. That discipline translates into discipline in other areas of life. That discipline translates into the discipline of following the Word of God, even when they’d rather live by their feelings, just as a child is wont to do.

    Okay, I could go on, but you’ll just have to wait until I sign my book contract :-).

    Susan

  13. I think it’s wonderful. Our chores are spaced between my 4 girls and it is great to see how they are maturing because of it. I am determined that they will be ready to run their own houses one day, and not have on-the-job-training.

  14. One of the best things I have heard about teaching children chores is “if you are still doing everything, you missed your promotion!” Just as a manager doesn’t do all the hands on work, neither should a mom. Lets face it, the kids are making most of the mess and dishes themselves!

    I’m glad my mom made me help out and I can’t imagine not having my kids help out. That is what being a family is all about. You were absolutely right about kids having too much time on their hands, they just get into trouble, arguments, etc. It’s hard for me to understand how anyone thinks that kids having a few chores takes away their childhood. We’re talking minutes a day not hours. NOT training our children in the skills they will need as adults seems far worse to me than making them work a little each day.
    And I loved your final line!!

  15. Deanna, being the oldest, do you have any tips for those of us with younger kids. My oldest is 8, and she is really the only one who is able to do significant work. The 6 year old is developmentally unable to help. The nearly four and nearly two year olds are made to help, but at that age it is still fairly token (though of course we don’t tell them that). Then there is the newborn who is obviously no good at cleaning. 🙂 My 8 year old has what I feel to be an age apropriate amount of work, but I don’t want her to feel like the others are getting off scot free.

    Actually you were the oldest of a bunch of kids weren’t you Kim. You can answer if you like. Lol

  16. Off-topic a bit, but considering what I said above — I am starting to wonder if a spanking is the most compassionate way of handling a misbehavior. The misbehavior is dealt with immediately, and the punishment is over. Time-outs, Not being able to do something fun, etc. all draw out the punishment over a much longer period of time, perhaps causing a repentant child to get bitter.

    I know as a child, I remember much preferring a quick spanking to having to SIT STILL for 10 minutes!

  17. I had to laugh out loud at Debbie’s comment…uncharitable, I know, but still. Kim, your answer was spot-on. I grew up with 7 younger siblings and I remember one day, my mother gave us the day off from ALL chores. We didn’t have to do anything whatsoever…she told us to just run free and have fun. Well, after about 2 or 3 hours of this, we were hilariously unable to keep from picking stuff up or putting dishes away or throwing a load of laundry in. When kids are raised in the mindset that chores are a necessary part of being in a family, they tend to do them as trained and without much complaining, especially if complaining is not normally tolerated. My smart mother had a feeling this would happen. 😉

  18. Ugh. I feel like my kids could do so much more and with much better attitudes. Laundry would be my first area of desired help, but I have a hard time letting them fold the laundry. How particular are you with an 8 and a 9 year-old folding clothes? Can they get them on hangers decently? I am not totally OCD but I’m not sure my 8 year-old could handle that job.

    And are your clotheslines super low or your girls tall? I don’t think my average sized 8 year-old (my oldest and a boy, by the way) could reach mine easily.

    And do you have a chart? I didn’t see the answer to that question. My oldest loves to help and my second oldest thrives on routine, so he knows when his time is his own, but we have such a hard time sticking to any sort of chart or anything that I have to write on or update regularly. I feel like a slacker :

    Oh, and in your list of “things mom does” you failed to mention educating 9 children 😀 Also growing a new one and chasing the current littlest!

    I think I need to just start with my oldest two and get them well-trained on the jobs I want them to do and how to do them properly. I think my 6 year-old could handle the chicken-chores but I am afraid he’d be playing in the hose unless I was right there with him (some temptations are just so very strong ;)). I know we can do this if we just figure out how to get started.

    Thanks for the motivation!

    • Lindsey,
      We have hanging racks from IKEA that can be used indoors or out. The top level is probably just over 5′, so even 8yo Becca can reach if she stretches.
      Charts – no. Each child only has 2 jobs plus dishes, so it’s not hard to remember. But we do have a chart in some of the rooms to remind them of the details that belong to that particular area. These are not used as much as I would like, so inspections are needed regularly.

  19. I wish my parents had given us more responsibility around the house. Chores are a good way of teaching responsibility, and teaching what a child needs to know when they leave the house and are on their own. It also teaches respect for authority, and that sometimes we have to do things that are not pleasant because someone in authority tells us too.

    Very few people are in the situation where they don’t have to do anything they don’t want to do. And these are very painful lessons if you have to learn them on your own, when the consequences are worse than disappointing your parents and the lost opportunity to do something fun or a spanking.

  20. Our chores for the children include gen.tidying,sweeping floors,dusting,bedroom straightening(remember they only have 1),washing-folding,and distributing to right places(…we sooo lack cupboards),cooking whilst supervised,’diaper duty’ ie sorting cloth diapers according to user to right piles and drawers,etc.
    Outside we have each child responsible for certain animals,for example one feeds and waters dogs,another cats,another chickens and other poultry.The cows and goats are mainly fed and watered by me and dh,plus heavy duty stuff like carrying big buckets of water to the outside washing facilities ie sauna,chopping wood and carrying bigger branches plus lighting fires(we have 4 fireplaces) are done by us.And yeah I do the dishes,always.I’m funny like that: )
    I dream of a day when we have a shower..maybe one day; )

  21. Kelly,
    Yes I make dinner more or less every night. Sometimes I get behind and my sisters have to help me, but Mom only rarely (meaning only when she wants to) cooks meals nowadays.
    I love this arrangement, it was my idea! I was on cleaning the dining room and taking out the trash and I hated it so I asked Mom if I could cook dinner instead and I have had a lot of fun making up my own recipes and altering old favorites.
    I may have to start going easy on the innovating though, because Kaitlyn told me recently
    “Deanna, you cook well, but can’t we have something normal for dinner? When you cook it’s like eating out every single night!”

  22. Thank you for sharing. Sometimes I feel guilty giving my older children so many chores. I used to do it ALL. But that was back when we “only” had 2 children. I will show my boys this list and tell them to be thankful they don’t have a larger list 😉 I love you blog and I read it daily 🙂

  23. My kids chores…
    Prech 13 ~ dishes, kitchen and clean fridge once a week…plus cook dinner once in a while

    Nilla 9~ All animal chores, clean and straighten living room, vaccumm and help wash laundry

    Lucy 8~ Laundry and clean the bathroom

    Sona 6~ Help lucy with laundry (we have way too much) emoty trash cans, put away school books, shoes, and toys

    Bub 4~ pick up dishes and put next to the sink

  24. But what about Bethany! Oh, well, I suppose she just “eats, drinks, and merry.” 😉

    I asked my nephew (6yo) a few monthes back what his chores were. After he rattled off all 5 of them I asked what mommy’s chores where. He answered, “Mommy doesn’t have any chores.”

    (Keep in mind, his mom stays at home with 4 kids under 6.) 😉

  25. I think it’s fabulous that you and your husband divide the chores among the kids, and I’m glad that works for your house. While my kids are grown now, I could’ve and would’ve never done this when they were younger and lived at home. When do they have time to be kids? And, IIRC, you don’t work outside the home, so why do your kids have to do so much? Not being critical, just surprised and curious. My kids had minimal chores – b/c chores are things that are with us for all of our lives – why not let them enjoy their child/teen years as much as possible, without burdening them with all this work. My girls are both responsible, successful, intelligent, self motivated young women, and I don’t think they could’ve or would’ve turned out any better had I overloaded them with housework. I’m the mom, I’m the housewife, and I enjoyed, cherished and appreciated the responsibilities and chores that came along with that. I’m glad it works for your house – and I’m sure the Lord has guided you in this decision, I just can’t help feeling sad that your kids are doing adult chores – when they’re still kids.

    • Debbie,
      Many hands make light labor. If our children are diligent, they spend less than an hour a day on chores, divided into 5 or 10 minutes bits throughout the day. This leaves them plenty of time to “be children,” though I’m not convinced that this is always a good thing. Proverbs has many warnings against the child with too much time on his hands.
      I don’t think I would do them any favors by not requiring them to help around the house. I want my children to know how to run a household by the time they are grown, and what better way than practicing the day-to-day skills they will need? Incidentally, I do plenty around the house too – teaching them to do the chores, working alongside them, supervising, directing, inspecting and organizing, and the myriad of little things that are not mentioned in the chore list. As a homemaker, I’m sure you realize there is much more to keeping a house than picking up, cooking and washing the dishes. 🙂
      There are many other reasons that we think chores are important: they help develop a good work ethic; they help children learn to serve others; they are excellent training grounds for teaching attention to details…the list could go on and on. I’m sure you can add to it as well.

  26. Just curious, do your kids cook dinner every night?

  27. Sorry, but i just wanna cry! I am so glad that I found your website. I am a mom of 10 great kids and from looking at your pictures, i fell so much better. I am so inspired by your posts! GB 🙂

  28. I don’t usually comment, but I do love your blog. And your closing line is a riot.
    I’m really stopping by to pass on to you a Favorite Blog award. You are one of my favorites – especially stories about “the boy”. I have no sons (5 girls), but I had brothers and I remember well.
    If you want to participate in the blog award you can visit my site for the rules.

  29. Seeing this list is helpful. Thank you for posting it.

    Two quick questions:
    1) Is there an attempt to give the girls equal duties in terms of time and amount of effort required?
    2) How often do the room cleaning chores (living room, bathroom, etc.) get done? Would that be daily or weekly?

    • hope,
      1) Yes, we try to rotate the most-hated chores and keep things fairly evenly divided and apportioned according to the ability of each child.
      2) Room cleaning chores happen several times each day, as needed.

  30. “We used to have more children, but had to make examples of some.”

    You are SO funny!!!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  31. This is wonderful! I can’t wait until I can get my son to do some sort of chore. He’s 10 months now. Hmm. Might have to wait a little while longer 🙂

  32. I love it when I find another mama who is teaching her children how to cope in the real world!

  33. My 2 year old is the cutest servant of them all. She will put the shoes in the closet without being asked as soon as they are taken off when we come in from outside. She will climb on the dishwasher and help me unload and put away the clean dishes. She will set the table with paper plates and silverware. She knows how to wash her hands by herself better than the 4 y.o. (well, he is a boy 🙂

    Sometimes my other 2 will complain about helping out but I guess they are doing pretty well since the 2 year old is copying somebody!!!

    My 6 year old loves to cook and my 4 year old loves to help Daddy do worky worky around the house. He loves his tools. 🙂

    I think having the children help around the house and be responsible for jobs are very important. I know people that will grow up and have no idea of how to do anything, no work ethics and a lazy lazy spirit.

    I love your last sentence on this post!!! 🙂

    PS Do you post these chores up somewhere? Do you remind your children of doing them? I don’t have a formal chores chart or anything like that. I just request help and assign jobs when they need to be done. Sometimes my children will volunteer to help when they see me work. I will usually do house cleaning or a bigger job and set the timer for 20 minutes and everyone pitches in and we get it done together. How about you??

  34. Ha ha ha ha ha! “We used to have more children, but had to make examples of some. ” What a very piratey thing to say! Ha ha ha ha!

  35. My son gets upset when I dare to put away the silverware (from the dishwasher) without letting him do it! I am working at figuring out a wya to let him help me cook a bit too.

    He used to be better at taking laundry out of the dryer, but we haven’t done it lately and I think he’s forgetting 🙁

  36. my kids have chores too and it always amazes me that some of my friends don’t make their kids do anything…..

Trackbacks

  1. […] friends about how they manage their chores!  Just yesterday, Kim at Life in a Shoe posted her current chore list.  I’ve been going back and copying down the “weeklies” Connie mentions in her […]

  2. […] Jobs – clean up the house.  Everyone has assigned areas and chores.  This includes bedrooms, laundry, living areas, animals, etc.  Most jobs get done and re-done throughout the day as necessary. […]

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