I think every mother feels major frustration when it comes to keeping their home clean with little ones running around. By the time you have one thing cleaned up, your children have created another mess. It is the ultimate battle, but here is my solution. Make a kid’s chore chart that gets them excited to help so they can become a part of the solution instead of part of the frustration!
Every Monday is chore day at our house. I devote the entire day to doing the week’s laundry, cleaning, organizing, and straightening up. Since my kids have been able to walk and get into things I have found it to be an ultra frustrating process. Not only was it always a losing battle, but I all but gave up sometimes. As fast as I could clean it – they were right behind me messing it up again. It always felt like such a chore and a huge waste of time.
Here is my take on our home: I want our kids to feel comfortable and free in our house – I also want them to be kids and do not expect them to perfectly put things away constantly. We live in our home and are always there, so I do not expect it to look perfect…ever. I let them eat popcorn and crackers I the living room, and I do not vacuum every day, but I do believe we are blessed to have everything that we have, and for that we need to take care of it! I believe it so much so that I added it into our family mission statement years ago. I would love a perfectly tidy house all of the time, but spending time with my kids is far more important, so it isn’t something we spend hours on each day.
I figure, as long as things are safe and sanitary we can all be happy in our home, but over the summer with both kids home I found myself becoming even more frustrated than ever. They seemed to be very neglectful and even disrespectful to our home and their “stuff”. They were just dumping things out throughout the house for no reason and walking all over it without so much as a second thought. I don’t know if they were even ever playing with anything, or if they were just trying to trash the place. I don’t mind toys in our home, but I do mind that they seemed to care so little for our home and their things. That’s when I decided that it was time for them to start being a little more responsible for their own surroundings.
We had a long talk about why it is important to keep our home clean and safe, and why we should take care of our things, and especially our home. We decided together that we would come up with a chore chart that included things that they could do to help me clean on Monday’s. Not only is this a perfect distraction to keep them busy as I clean but now we are all cleaning together! They have really taken to it with great pride and excitement in their actions!
I came up with a list of chores that each child could handle for their age and talked with them about how it needed to be done. The first week I went through and did each choose with them so that they had a better understanding of how to do it. My daughter at three has different chores than my son at five and I will be adding chores as they get older by making new magnets. I chose to use cartoon pictures of the chore as well as words so that they were clear on what to do and also to make the chart more fun for them. My daughter needs the visual picture of the chore on the magnet to understand. I usually have to prompt her a little more, and return to the chart with her to help her move one to the done section and choose the next job to be done. Once she has some direction, though, she is off to the races.
I ended up hanging the chore charts in our Laundry room since it is the center of the house where the kids could easily reach them. I found the kids each a cute dust pan and broom at the dollar store that I presented them along with their chore charts. They were very excited to have their own little cleaning supplies and i hung them right under their charts. As soon as I explained the chore chart system to the kids the were so excited to give it a go!
Basically each chore magnet contains a chore that needs to be done once a week by each child. Once it is done it can be moved to the “done” section. They adore moving their magnets around and are always quite pleased with themselves when they finish a chore. The larger sized magnets are things that are big jobs like cleaning the playroom or sorting out games and small toys. These don’t necessarily need to be done on chore day, but to get a reward they must be done by the end of the week. If the kid’s finish their chores for the week they are given an allowance that my husband and I determined would be suitable. Monday is also the day that we have to return library books for the week, so if the kids finish their chores we go to the library to pick out new books and a movie too.
Here is a list of the chores that we included on our boards:
- Shoes/Coats (putting all shoes and coats away where they belong) each child has a bin in the closet for shoes and their own hangers
- Books (get all library books and movies back in the bag that we take to and from the library)
- Dust (each child has their own duster to diffuse arguments and only dust unbreakable and reachable things)
- Dirty laundry (they need to grab their dirty laundry in their rooms and bathrooms and bring it to the laundry room for washing)
- Make bed
- Clean Room
- Clean Living Room (whatever has wandered out from their rooms through the week needs to go back except 1 item)
- Feed Dog/Fish (I have them help once a week but I am responsible for them the rest of the week) I think it a great way to get them used to the responsibility of a pet but they are too little to be expected to do it alone
- Garbage (my older child takes the garbage and recycling out and the younger child picks up any garbage that may be laying around at puts it into the garbage can
To be done by the end of the week chores include:
- Organize Toys/Games (They go through the bins of toys in their rooms and put things like game pieces, blocks and toy sets together so that when they want to play with them the pieces are all their)
- Playroom (we have an unfinished basement playroom that needs a once a week cleanup)
I am absolutely amazed at how excited they have gotten about doing their chores and accomplishing everything on their chart each week. We have been doing this for most of the summer and it has not lost it’s luster to them yet! Each Monday morning we have a little down time and then crank up some kid friendly music and get to work…. together. Yes my chores take a little bit longer, because the kids sometimes need a little extra help or encouragement (especially my 3 year old) but it is so exciting to see them helping to keep our home nice. I feel like rather than cleaning all day and not spending quality time with them, this allows us to work together and encourage one another – it ends up being more of a family affair than a frustration.
My son is to the point where he is going to his chart completing a task, moving the magnet, and then going onto the next one on his own. I am super proud of how much of a helper he has become, and that he is proud of the himself for helping. He hasn’t missed a week’s allowance since we started using our chore charts, and it has been a great change of pace from the frustrating cleaning days that we used to have.
To Make the Magnets:
- I found little wooden circles at a Hobby Lobby for just a couple bucks to make the chore magnets from.
- Painted each circle with white acrylic paint.
- Printed out cleaning graphics and a chore from the computer.
- Then I cut out each graphic and Modge podged it to the dried circle
- And added magnetic buttons to the back of the chore circle
To Make the magnetic Chore Chart Board:
- I found baking sheets at the dollar store
- Painted them with a spare can of paint I had on hand
- Cut out Vinyl letters on My Cricut machine (child’s name, to do, and done)
- Adhered the vinyl letters to the painted baking sheet
To Hang the Chore Chart:
- I put two small holes in the top of the pan using a hammer and nail
- I threaded ribbon (found at the dollar store) through the holes
- and Tied it into a bow at the top of the pan to hang
- I also added double sided mounting tape to the back to keep the board from swing back and forth