Daniel / Homeschool / Violet

Our Take on Chores

Sometimes I feel absolutely ridiculous writing about raising kids as if I know anything at all.  I know my kiddos are young and that our theories and decisions will be inside out and upside down within years if not months.  I know that what works today will most likely not work for long, but I’ll take it while it lasts.

I have read so many stories and ideas about “how to get your kids to do housework”.  I have read about chore charts, reward systems, allowances, and other such ideas.  And I’m fully aware that as the kids grow older, this idea of “doing something you don’t want” and “earning by working” will be useful.

But for now, it’s just not necessary.

They seem to understand that we are a team, and as a family we take care of our home.  I have let them “play” in the world of chores from a young age and the sense of fun has carried over – sinks full of bubbles, spraying water and wiping it, tossing our decorative bed pillows at me as I make the bed (“I need pillow throwers!!!!!”).  More often than not, we do these things together – working on a project as a team then moving onto the next one.

The kids don’t have chore lists, but just jump in whenever they are asked.  The tasks range greatly each day, but some of the recurring/typical ones are as follows:

  • Daniel (age 5) takes the recycling out, empties the dishwasher (utensils, mainly), sorts (and puts away) his clean laundry, sprays freshener, waters the plants, helps me dust the wood furniture and helps with bathrooms occasionally.  He has started learning to vacuum.
  • Violet (age 3) has begun sorting the silverware, gathers the dirty clothes, sorts her clean laundry, cleans bathrooms with me every time, “sweeps” before I mop and has begun washing kid dishes in a sink of suds.

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(This photo is from one of my favorite posts on Daniel’s old blog…)

What’s amusing is how much they enjoy doing these things – at least, how little resistance they offer.  Is it always super helpful?  Of course not.  Violet’s version of “cleaning the bathroom” consists of her spraying the cabinets and tub with a water bottle and wiping it with a rag (and often dripping it on the floor in giant invisible puddles, just waiting to be discovered by my sock).  But at the age of three, I am only concerned with her understanding that cleaning can be fun.

We don’t call them “chores”, we don’t offer allowances for functioning as part of the family team (yet), and we don’t set the tasks up as “have to’s” before the real fun can start.

I know I’ll be eating all of these words soon, and that’s ok.  But I’m so, so enjoying this stage of having willing helpers (especially when we’re all crammed into one tiny bathroom, belting out “Whistle While You Work”!).

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One thought on “Our Take on Chores

  1. I have been working with my two little ones with this stuff too. Cheyenne is 3 almost 4, and Elijah 1 almost 2. Eli knows to help pick up toys and is trying to get the hang of putting one toy away before bringing out more. Cheyenne is my stubborn one. She makes her bed and helps with mine ( gets made into the bed ) and she like to try and help me with laundry. She is great at picking up dirty laundry but is still learning how to fold, she can put her clothes away in her dresser in the correct drawers but hasn’t learned to spread the clothes evenly so the drawer will close. 🙂 Cheyenne would love to help me with dishes but the vast majority of them are glass. I sometimes let her stack the dishes after I have rinsed them or put them away if she can reach. Both kids like to wipe stuff down probably because they see mommy do it all the time.
    Cheyenne has done great with yard work! I can ask her to pick up the yard toys and put them by the trampoline and she will also pick up the trash can lids and put them where they go and roll the hose pipe up. So in return I tell her how helpful she is and how happy that makes me and I give her a pop cycle as a reward. 🙂 And so on and so on .. . . .

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