(My Brood) Works for Me

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I mentioned earlier in the week that my kiddos are now of the age that they can take on some household responsibilities. We are firm believers that all children, no matter sex or age, participate in the workings of the household. We don’t know what the future holds for each of them, but we want to equip them for whatever comes their way.

So, everybody’s got some jobs. Over the years, through trial and error and being willing to constantly reassess and adjust our systems, we’ve come upon ways to instill responsibility in our children and to lighten the load on this mother.

Each kiddo is responsible for making his bed, stripping the sheets once a week, putting away his clothes, and clearing his own dishes. The guys choose new jobs at the beginning of the month. We also have “paying jobs” available if they are highly motivated.

Here’s a sampling of kid chores at our house:

* set, clear and wipe table – 3x/day
* unload dishwasher – as needed
* take out trash – as needed
* shark the floor – 3x/day
* swab the decks (only for my biggest boy, so far)- weekly
* vacuum a room – 2x/week
* wipe down bathroom counters and declutter bathroom – daily

Years ago, I found this great book, Mrs. Clean Jeans’ Housekeeping with Kids. It is a fantastic resource, chock-full of ideas for organizing and assigning household jobs. From the book blurb,

Mrs. Clean Jeans starts with strategies, including involving the whole family, letting kids pick their favorite chores, having a set chore time so everybody’s working together, and keeping chores reasonable, plus, of course, giving suitable rewards for jobs well done. Then she takes readers room by room, showing how to create kid-friendly storage, make sure things get picked up, avoid fights and confusion, and see to it that everything gets done–including the dishes.

It’s a great resource that I highly recommend. It was here that we got a target number for how many jobs to assign to each kid: half his age. (Round up for odd-numbered ages.) So, at our house: FishBoy11 has 6 jobs, FishBoy7 has 4, FishBoy6 has 3, and FishBoy4 has 2.

This works for us. And so do they.

For more great ideas, check out “Works for Me Wednesday” at Rocks in My Dryer.

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  1. Hi there! You commented on my blog about the Swiffer. I like what you’ve done with yours!

    Actually, I saw your blogger profile and it looks like we’re long lost soul-sisters! Check out the similarities: Andrew Peterson, Caedmon’s Call, my own husband’s guitar playing, CS Lewis (I’m reading through his complete works right now), Dave Ramsey, and I have to say that The Hidden Art of Homemaking is one of my favorite books of all time, but I rarely find anyone who’s even heard of it! Mind if I add you to my blogroll?

    Hello new friend! Nice to meet you!

  2. I need to get working on this.

    Um, I’d say you have cleaning on the brain. No?

  3. Wundermom, that is a lot of similarities — plus Mom O’ Boys! Feel free to link all you want. The more the merrier. Thanks for saying HEY.

    Lizz, I gotta get all my ducks in a row. I only have six weeks until FishBaby. Get our cleaning routines back in order, put some organization into those closets, start school, pop out a kid. Hopefully, in that sequence!

  4. Thanks so much for this post! I really need to work on giving my kids some specific jobs. They’re only 4 and 2 (plus the baby–2 mos!) and they do help me do things, but I think giving them each a couple of little chores that they always do, would be really helpful. Thanks also for the book recommendation! I’m off to check it out!

  5. It is hysterical that you mentioned Mrs. Clean Jeans’ book because that title caught my eye a couple months ago at the library. I ambitiously checked it out along with Secrets of the Coupon Mom, Its All Too Much! and a few other titles and never got to read it! I am planning to track it back down and read it. My friend (a fellow homeschool mom) reminded me the other day that chores are part of school. Adding domestic engineering to the curriculum….

  6. i love when you put “shark the floor” … that’s one of the kids’ chores … to shark the steps! not everyone knows what a shark is, but it ROCKS!