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Chores...I know this question has been asked a million times, but

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Can you tell me what your system is for kids helping out around the home?


A little background on my situation...I work part-time and this fall my kids will be going to private school. I will be working each day during their school hours. My husband works out of town for two weeks and then is home for a week. I need help around the house and my kids need to learn how to help out.


I have tried to put together chore charts in the past and for some reason, they just don't get done. But I am at the point where I really need help.


So, can those of you whose kids actually do chores help me with two things:


1. What chores can an 8 year old and an almost 5 year old do?


2. What type of system do you use for tracking the completion of chores? I plan to pay my kids for their work, as I agree with the Dave Ramsey system of paying commission. I just don't know how to track it.


Thanks so much!

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I'm not a fan of chore charts. There are a few philosophical reasons, but also a big reason is that it's really just one more thing (chore?) for me to keep up with. If I was already doing well at keeping up with things, there'd be no use or point for a chore chart! LOL


My kids have always done chores, and they generally do them without grumbling. Nobody is doing backflips when it's time to clean (including me) but it's a given expectation and it gets done without much -if any- fuss. I'm sure part of that is the general disposition of my kids, some of it is our family culture, and much of it boils down to consistency. We're consistent.


We're not always trying to institute new, clever ways to get the boring crap jobs done .. we don't negotiate what needs doing/when .. we don't require 'cheerful obedience' (you can be annoyed, just put that energy into your job because you're gonna have to do it anyway ;) and do it quietly because nobody else gives a rip) .. we don't tie chores into other things (tv/technology, extracurriculars, friends) .. we just acknowledge it's nobody's favorite thing to do, that there's never a great time to do it, and ... that it still needs to get done, so oh well LOL; get it done well, get it out of the way, and get on with the day/week/month until it has to be done again.


The trade-off is that the adult/s have to be okay with some jobs not being done to adult standards, and to realize that it takes time to truly learn how to clean well. I think many adults gloss over the teaching part, and just over expect kids to intuitively know how to clean well to their adult standards. Not necessarily you, just in general.


Along those lines, the trade-off for my kids folding linens is that my linen closet went from hyper-organized with each type of linen in its own basket and baskets color-coded to type of linen ... to something like "the bigger the item, the lower the shelf" with napkins sometimes mingling with washcloths (instead of being in color-coded baskets on different shelves). I have to brace myself before I open the door and remind myself that at least someone else was doing the linens and they've organized is -if loosely- in a way that is still workable. If mildly annoying (to me) LOL.


4-5 year olds can fold towels, pair socks, dust shelves/tables, put away silverware (and non-breakable dishes or any dish kept low), wipe counters/tables, sweep, put away small dresser laundry, squirt shower walls (non-toxic products, like vinegar), tear apart beds for laundry, ... some can wash laundry. Also, water plants, fluff pillows, pre-wash tubs (baking soda and a sponge), organize pantry, unload groceries, empty small household trash to larger can, feed pets.


8 year olds can do the above plus mop, vacuum, prepare or help prep meals, mirrors/windows, clean refrigerator, make beds, put away clean hanging laundry, wash faucets/outer toilets, weed the yard, and take larger trash cans to curb.


I don't pay my kids for everyday chores. I'm not familiar with Dave Ramsey other than knowing from here that he's some money guy. Instead of paying out a commission, I just generally keep a tally in my head and when the kids ask/want something I oblige (or not) based on their output. They put into the family, they get to share the resources - it's just way more informal (and thereby easier for me to keep track of, see first paragraph above LOL).


If you're looking to track a commission, I suppose I'd have a list posted as to what each chore was worth ... then as a kid completed each chore, he could add it to his own list (the 5 year old would need some help, obviously) and I'd initial it upon inspection and satisfaction of completion. I'd pay out on (my) payday, either every other week or once monthly, using each child's list as a timecard kind of thing to refer back to.


My kids don't have set chores. It's pretty much do it as you see it, and (since that's not popular with the younger set!) do it as *I* see it and ask you to do it :D

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This is what I posted on the other thread. I'm not good about remembering to do charts/stickers/ect. I only pay them a dollar when they go above and beyond their normal chores. From the other thread-




I guess I'm ambivalent about it...I don't hate it, but it doesn't exactly bring me joy lol. Having a nice, clean house DOES though, so I keep it that way. (Most of the time. I have a toddler who seems to strew stuff around all day.)


I'd say my house is pretty clean and tidy, as in, I don't worry if someone just stops by. A few things that have helped-


We moved about a year ago, and I decluttered like a mad woman. Seriously, probably 70% of our stuff! That has been the biggest help. Every week or so, I pick one area and declutter. Get rid of anything we haven't used in the past few months, random bits of paper, ect.


I do have routines, and I try to work in ten minute intervals during the day. Most things only take a few minutes to maintain, kwim? Once I realized that, it was easier to just DO it rather than putting it off. If I do a little everyday, I rarely spend more than an hour (in ten minute segments) per day on chores. That's not much.


I also have my kids follow 'rules' and do chores that help-

Shoes off at the garage

Food only at the table

Both the 4 and 7 year old clear their own plates and put them into the sink or DW

They both know how to wipe the table down after meals

Both put the clean dishes away

We all use my bathtub/shower that way I only have to clean one daily-the other I just wipe down bi-weekly

They brush their teeth in my bathroom as well, and know to wipe the counter and sink dry when they finish

They both know how to use the Clorox toilet wand

I keep Lysol wipes in each bathroom and we wipe the toilets and counters down daily

They both dust-their bedroom, the toddlers room, living room, and school room

they both put their own laundry away

Dd7 can throw a load of laundry in the washer with supervision and switch it to the dryer

They make their own beds

They vacuum their room and the toddlers room

Of course, the jobs aren't done perfectly. BUT having them do the chores (1) helps keep things semi clean, and I can spread out MY cleaning. So for example, I let them vacuum their bedrooms on Wednesday, and I do it again Saturday. I do check their work to make sure it gets done well. And (2) they are MUCH more aware of how hard it is to clean up and are more mindful about the messes they make. This has been a really unexpected thing, but it's awesome. Dd7 has been saying "Mom, can I help you with anything?" or "Is there anything I can do?" quite a bit lately, all on her own without promoting from us.


We have a dog (samoyed, so a LOT of fur!!!) and cat as well, I hear you on the pet hair everywhere! I have just resolved myself to vacuuming the main areas of the house daily. I used to get upset that it would be hairy an hour late, but now I just know it will happen. Same with mopping the kitchen. It must happen daily, at least once, sometimes twice. It doesn't take long, just maybe ten minutes, so not too bad.

I'm not a good deep cleaner though. However, I've found that doing things daily kind of eliminates the need for deep cleaning. I don't scrub my shower. I do spray it down and wipe it quickly with a cloth. My shower always looks clean. I don't put rubber gloves on and get on my knees and scrub the toilets like my mom did lol. I just wipe it daily with Lysol wipes, and the kids use the Clorox toilet wand. Three minutes, tops.


Sorry for my rambling...I just realized how long this got! Sheesh!

Edited by Gentlemommy
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So, can those of you whose kids actually do chores help me with two things:


1. What chores can an 8 year old and an almost 5 year old do?


2. What type of system do you use for tracking the completion of chores? I plan to pay my kids for their work, as I agree with the Dave Ramsey system of paying commission. I just don't know how to track it.


Thanks so much!


While I agree with Dave Ramsey on many things, paying kids for chores isn't one of them - at least not doing it his way. We separate chores into three categories here: care of self, care of others, and contracted.


Care of self are the first ones to go on the chore chart and the first to be dropped off. They are done because they need to be done, and they're on the chart to ingrain habits.

Care of others are added as they get proficient at taking care of themselves. These are done because they are part of a family unit.


Contracted chores - these are ones set aside for pay. A child must decide to do the job and come up with a bid, along with details like start/finish times, what will be covered, etc. They're only able if their daily chores are done.


That's not to say there isn't some bleed-over. We have a period where contracts are introduced and anything on the chart done before X time is paid for, anything after is done for free. There's no option to not do chores. There's just an option to choose to get paid for them. It's a slow transition to the contracted chores and learning to do extra work to earn pocket money.

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I think I replied in the other chore thread. I use a chore chart (really a check-list) but it is mainly because I can't remember what needs to be done and who is supposed to be doing what. I tried winging it for years and it did not work at all. Nothing got done and the kids were always in a fit when i asked them to do something. The list takes the pressure off and they know the expectation without me randomly handing them jobs to do.


I wrote down everything that needed to be done to have a clean house. We generally did that all on Saturday but I got tired of our Saturdays being the cleaning day. And if we went anywhere, then the house was a wreck all week. So, I moved those chores to the weekdays. And we work on a section of the house each day. I took that list and assigned age-appropriate jobs. Everyone has a laundry day. For example, Monday is the bedrooms and bathroom. Laundry is sheets, towels, and other odds and ends. My oldest has a lot chores that are more detailed. My middle son does a lot of vacuuming. And my youngest son is the dust bunny. :)


They are trained for their chores so they know the expectations. Although I do not expect perfection as we do these chores weekly so missed spots will probably wait until the next week. We work quickly as well. I peg the chore times to breakfast and dinner.

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We have a chore chart and love it! Everyone down to the 3yo has chores both after meals and during the day for basic home upkeep. No one gets paid (although if we did pay them I would also make it clear that if their chores were not done or were not done well then I get paid to complete their tasks ;)).


Chores have never been an issue as far as them getting done, really. We all do chores at the same time so there is a group/team mentality. I make sure chores take anywhere from 10-20 minutes at most. If they are not done well then the dc does the chore again plus another similar one for "practice". As they get older, if they forget to do their chores I do it for them and I earn some Starbucks coffee $. :D

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