Organization

New Chore Assignments

Every so often, we redo the chore assignments in our house. Changing things out is good for everyone: children learn new skills, and the boredom that sets in from doing the same chore can be relieved by doing  a different chore. We usually change chores every 6 months, but it has been quite a while since we last made any changes to the chore assignments, and it was showing the last couple of weeks.

We changed up the assignments, giving both my 6-year-old , my 5-year-old, and my 3-year-old additional responsibilities. We changed the definition of a few chores (sweeping both halls is now one chore done once a day, and it includes picking up anything on the floor in those halls; it used to be part of sweeping other areas). We lightened the load of the oldest two children a bit by dividing some chores into smaller parts and giving those smaller parts to other children.

So far, so good!

There is no way that I could do everything in the house that needs to be done by myself, nor would I want to; It is important to me that my children learn to work, and to work well.

We have 6 chores times in our house. They are before and after breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Some things that we list as chores aren’t really chores (such as getting dressed and brushing one’s teeth) but by putting them on the list it helps the children remember to do them.

Our ages:

Winter: 11
Cyrus: 10
Ezrom: 8
Liberty: 6
Wren: 5
Elsa: 3
Ivory is 1 and has no chores, but we do ask her to help pick up toys when we are picking up. She usually puts several of her toys away with us.

Here is our current chore schedule:

Before Breakfast:
 
Everyone:

Prayer

Get dressed

Make bed

Straighten bedroom

Sort dirty laundry


Winter: Put away dishes

Cyrus: Pour drinks (this is water at our house)

Ezrom: Take out trashes (this includes emptying all trashes in the house, and taking the big cans out to the curb and bringing them back up on the two days a week when the trash man comes)

Liberty: Pick up living room

Wren: Set table
 
Everyone:

Fold laundry (11 to 3-year-olds all fold and put away laundry; my 11-year-old hangs up laundry. I wrote more about how we do laundry on my website here)

Put away laundry
 

After Breakfast:

Everyone:

Clear spots to the counter

Brush teeth


Winter: Wipe table and chairs

Cyrus: Wash dishes

Ezrom: Sweep and mop the kitchen

Liberty: Sweep the floor under the table

Wren: Dust

Elsa: Pick up girls’ bathroom floor (pick up clothing that was left behind, which was usually hers)

 
Before Lunch:
 
 
Everyone:

Put away schoolbooks


Winter: Pick up living room

Cyrus: Pour drinks And Set Table

Ezrom: Clean boys’ bathroom (mirror, counter, sink, bathroom door handle and surrounding area, and toliet. On Saturdays this chore includes sweeping and mopping the bathroom floor.)

Liberty: Clean girls’ bathroom

Wren: Pick up library

Elsa: Pick up library

 
After Lunch:
 
Everyone:

Clear spots to counter


Winter: Wipe table and chairs

Cyrus: Sweep and mop under table

Ezrom: Sweep both halls

Liberty: Wash dishes

 

Before Dinner:


Winter: Put away clean dishes and pick up library

Cyrus: Pick up library and pour drinks

Ezrom: Wipe table and chairs and set table (the table gets sticky after our afternoon snack)

Liberty: Pick up and vacuum living room

 
Everyone:

Clean rooms


After Dinner:

Everyone:

Clear Spots

Put on pajamas

Brush teeth

(We then have family scripture study, sing hymns, have family prayer and the children says individual prayers. Elsa is tucked into bed while the others do their chores. On Monday nights we have family home evening, where we sing more hymns and have a short lesson on a gospel topic.)

Winter: Wash dishes

Cyrus: Sweep and mop under table

Ezrom: Sweep and mop kitchen floor

Liberty: Sweep and mop by piano

Wren: Wipe table and chairs

Of course, this doesn’t mean my house is perfectly clean all the time (in fact, far from it!) The floor always looks like it could use a sweep and mop. With 7 children home all day, it gets dirty quickly. Toys get played with often. Toddlers love to change clothes often. We go through a lot of dishes. Having several short chore times is needful to keep things under control.

Some additional reading:

The Joy of Honest Labor” by L. Tom Perry (online talk; the quotes in this post are from that talk)
Managers of Their Chores by Steve and Teri Maxwell. This book really opened my eyes to what my children could do and helped me to implement our chore system many years ago.

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25 Comments

  1. My son is three, he sets the table and picks up his toys each night before dinner. The baby is one and he picks up his toys too. He LOVES to clean. My sister actually just bought him a little mop to go with the tiny broom and dust pan I found for him. I put my vacuum on the lowest setting with the upholstery attachment and he will happily vacuum the whole downstairs. Sometimes I think he drops food because he knows I will have to get the broom out. Occasionally I have them scrub the baseboards.

  2. Thanks for this post! I was going to ask if you’d have time to write one… I was curious to see what chores your children are having at what age. Looks excellent, thanks again!

  3. I think these chores are fantastic! I have my 2 girls…18,14 doing chores since they were small as well. My parents made us and we are all better for it. Im actually shocked when I hear that my friends dont expect, make, ask their kids to do chores at 8 cuz they feel they are too young.

  4. How do your kids “mop”? I’m kind of old fashioned and like to scrub my few hard floors on hands and knees, but I don’t think that’s what you mean. Damp mop? Steam mop? I think my kitchen might benefit from a daily “mop”. How do you do it?

  5. Oh, how I remember chores as a child. My twin sister and I were the oldest of six children, (three of whom were boys. The youngest was a girl.) Unfortunately in our family, my twin and I got saddled with almost everything. We cleaned, cooked, and did lots of childcare. I remember every Saturday we alternated cleaning the upstairs or the downstairs–vacuuming, floor boards, dusting and mopping. You can bet that when I had my two sons and two daughters, the boys had just as many chores as the girls. Equal opportunity and equal training in my book. 🙂 I love your system.

  6. Great post! Our son is almost 4, and he has been helping us around the house for about a year. We follow the Waldorf tradition of purposeful work…we are about to re-do our daily rhythm chart to add in more responsibility. Right now, he helps put laundry in the washer/dryer, sets and clears the table, and helps with trash and recycling. Soon, he is also going to be feeding the pets and sweeping the floor and dusting.

  7. They can use a wet rag with their hands (which needs to be done and they do it that way sometimes), or we have a hardwood floor mop that is just flat, and it has a terry cloth cover that goes over it. I need to make some new covers for it. They just get it wet with water, wring it out, and stretch it over the mop. Our kitchen floor is marble tiles and cleaners etch it (vinegar ruins it the second one drop touches it. “Marble” cleaners do the same damage, so we just use water). The hardwood floors we do the same way after they are swept.The childrens’ bathroom floors are tile and I have a scrub brush for when the floor needs to be scrubbed (I have a bulk grout cleaner but we have used the orange vinegar for general mopping in the bathroom as well). Those are the only places where we left the original flooring in the house. We use the same mop in there.I was looking for new mop covers the other day online and it seems that they have changed the design, but when I was at Target it looks like another company makes a similar mop (Clorox) and they had covers. I only bought one (they were $6 each) and I am going to have to make some; they are just terry cloth and elastic. I just throw them in the load with my cleaning rags.

  8. While I agree with the second quote, there are some children (and adults!) who thrive on acknowledgment. One of my girls doesn’t need me to compliment her hard work; her own satisfaction is reward enough, but I have one daughter who really needs me to notice and say something about what she’s done. I don’t give false praise; usually noticing or a simple “thank you” is enough.

  9. I don’t think it means to not give praise, Andrea (in fact I don’t think he’s talking about praising or not praising in relation to this quote). I think it’s about learning to find joy in work (rather than just in play). I know that seeing canning jars filled, a room cleaned, and any task completed, and completed well, brings its own happiness, when I’ve done the job right and done it well. It’s about doing the job “all the way”, which is something that we’re working on right now at our house, for example: sweeping the entire floor and not missing several spots, cleaning the entire room (and not shoving clothes and toys next to the bed), and just getting a job done, completely, are important skills to learn that will matter later in life.

  10. Thank you for sharing this valuable information.When our youngest was a small child, he had a friend over to play. They started talking about chores because the friend was helping us make apple juice with a borrowed apple press using the fallen apples from our trees. When the friend found out my son had a daily chore list, he went home and asked his Mom if he could have daily chores!! The result of our 13 children having chores is that they all know how to work and how to complete tasks…a wonderful blessing truly for a lifetime.

  11. As a p.s. on working………we taught all of our children to cook, starting with helping Mom at age 3, then simple foods on own at age 6/supervised. By age 8 they could do the simple foods (such as scrambled eggs) by themselves. I really chuckled when our son moved out at age 18 (he had his own business as a farrier) and his friends all wanted to be his roommates knowing my son would cook! By the way……all of our grown sons married women that knew little or nothing of how to cook, but these dear women email me for recipes and cooking helps, are learning how to cook!!

  12. Doing something “all the way” is a big thing here too. I break it down so it does not get overwhelming for my son. First I have him pick up all his blocks, then all his dress up clothes, etc. He loves to dump everything on the floor and then play traffic jam or garbage dump but then he has to clean it all up. ugh. toys.

  13. I found your website and blog a couple months ago by searching for my own blog on google…I’ve been hooked ever since! I have even added my own Frugal Accomplishments to my blog after being inspired by yours. Anyway, I really appreciate this post. My children are 3, 2 and 4 months I constantly feel like I am running in circles trying to keep up with the housework, reading, playing, feeding, cuddle time…you name it! I am sure having some type of definite schedule would help…what did you do when you had multiple young children and no older children?

  14. Thanks for the nitty-gritty details. I love it. My children love the rhythm of chores, although I’m not sure they could actually articulate that. I like your reasons for changing up the chores – we’ve settled into a rut and I’d like to change it.I’m surprised you dry your laundry in a dryer instead of on a rack or outside. I save a lot of money by not using my electric dryer.

  15. I have a natural gas dryer, and I do 20-22 loads a week (3-5 loads a day). I also have a gas stove/oven, gas water heater, and gas heat. My bill last month was $31.52. I’m so grateful to have a gas dryer. Plus, it keeps my clothes from being full of allergens or blowing away in the 35mph winds that we get quite often. I dry two delicate loads a week on racks and on hangers in the house, but I can’t fit even one load on two racks. I really prefer using the dryer (it’s a huge time saver and it cuts out most ironing as well, which I don’t have time to do), and where I live it is not very much.

  16. I didn’t make my point clear enough. For my youngest daughter, a job well done doesn’t bring satisfaction. She really needs someone to notice what she’s done. Over time, I hope she will find joy in her work, but at 8.5, she’s hasn’t yet.

  17. I see what you’re saying. I still praise them for their work, but at some point, I hope that they see and enjoy it. I think it depends on the chore and the child. I know some chores bring me great satisfaction and some never do.

  18. I have been reading your blog for a while now. I clicked over to your laundry link and I have a question concerning laundry. We make our own laundry soap as well and have done so for several years. My problem with this involves towels, washcloths, dry towels etc. They seem to become non absorbent when using homemade laundry soap. What would you think causes this and do you have any solutions to this problem? Any suggestions would be appreciated. Enjoy your day and God bless.

  19. Are you using fabric softener or dryer sheets? Those will make things les absorbent. I don’t use either one. I don’t have problems with absorbency, unless a towel is new. New towels are softer but not very absorbent. After a while they lose their loft and become more absorbent.

  20. My children are ages 8, 5, and 1 and they don’t do many chores. Do you have any advice on how to get started? Right now the older kids aren’t very cooperative when I ask them to do something.

  21. Sit them down and tell them they are old enough to do regular chores, and that you expect them to help. Give them regular assignments and plan on spending some time explaining the jobs to them so that they can do it. Make sure to carry through on having them do the job.

  22. Thank you for your post. I have a 2.5-y-o (and a second on the way) and we’re just starting to have her help but don’t have set chore yet. Maybe after the baby comes, I’ll have Big Sister start doing some more regular chores.

  23. We have daily chore lists for everyone in the house. The kids don’t love chores and I have to monitor, but they appreciate the results, as do I. I find that when the house is not clean I become irritable so I’m willing to put the effort into maintaining the system and I know they will thank me one, or their spouses will 🙂

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