After listening to the GNOWFGLINS lesson on cooking with kids in the kitchen, it got me thinking…how can I develop a routine for doing chores in general?
I’ve already discussed doing laundry with your kids in my first blog post, including the many sensory-tasks that are involved; this time I wanted to take a step back at the big picture and see how doing chores with my kids can also encourage ME to be less sporadic with my housework!
Helping of Hope: Involving the kids in housework is a RIGHT CHOICE for the whole family and will help lead to a BRIGHT FUTURE of owning a cleaner home and nurturing independent kids.
How to Plan
I thought hard about which tasks I typically struggle to get done and needed to be done at least once a week. I choose chores that the kids could do alongside me whilst I did the hardest parts.
Here are the days/chores I picked:
- SUNDAY: no chores. Funday!
- MONDAY: Gardening. We’ve had incredibly warm weather this Summer in Michigan; Mama’s garden looks more like a jungle.
- TUESDAY: Laundry. I am perpetually catching up on laundry and have no idea why…
- WEDNESDAY: Furniture. I am ashamed to say this was an entirely new concept and very easy to do with the kids. We used damp microfiber cloths to clean headboards, drawers, table legs, bookshelves, you name it.
- THURSDAY: Bathrooms.
- FRIDAY: Floors. This is a bit of a fudge-day because by this time we are usually behind a chore. We take our microfiber cloths from cleaning the bathroom with vinegar and use them to scrub the vinyl floors in our house. If we are on schedule, this is a light chore and Mama goes around cleaning the baseboards.
- SATURDAY: Shopping. I have to take the kids with me anyway 🙂 We go to Busch’s to get Amish chickens and cash, the Farmer’s Market, the health food store, ALDI, and Meijer. When we get home from the store the kids help me put things away and wash the produce.
So far it has been a huge success: our house is cleaner than ever and Mama gets to spend more time with her kids doing everyday tasks that build life-skills and confidence. We give our 4 and soon-to-be 6 year old a dime for each chore done; when they have one dollar earned, they give the first dime to Church, four dimes to the piggy bank (savings), and five dimes to a coin purse (spending). We are not a very commercial family: getting a dollar to spend every couple weeks or so is a big deal for our kids and they can’t wait to find a toy at the dollar store 🙂 Avoid TV and magazine commercials like the plague, folks!
CAUTION: if you are going to clean with your children, please do not expose them to harmful cleaning agents and chemical sprays. Try using 50/50 water and vinegar in a spray bottle for most surface cleaning. Sanitizing can be done with neat vinegar. The smell goes away when it dries. Microfiber cloths are an essential investment for chemical-free cleaning. Also stay away from artificially scented products; they attack the nervous system. Use a couple drops of essential oil on a cloth (keep the oil out of reach of children; only you should handle it as it can be fatal if swallowed) or in a spray bottle of water and amend your environment “thusly”.
How to Make A Visual Chore Schedule
I created a simple week-long calendar in a spreadsheet, using clip art for visual cues. I used the “print screen” option and pasted the image into Microsoft Paint. There is a “flip vertical” option in one of the menu options: I used it to create a reverse image that I printed on a transparency. I glued the transparency onto a piece of white card and glued magnet strips from old business magnets to the back. It sits on our fridge in plain view so everyone knows what to expect that day.
How to Use
With a dry-erase marker, place a check next to each child’s name if he completed his part of the chore that day. Make sure to show each child how to do his part of the chore the first few weeks–until he has the hang of it–before attempting to do your part alongside him. At first, keep the chore light by limiting it to 5 to 15 minutes of involvement. Increase the time spent as the child’s skill level increases. Give a reward for each day’s work and don’t forget to incorporate the principles of giving, saving, and conservative spending 🙂
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