We are firm believers in training children to help around the house. It teaches them practical skills, encourages diligence, and helps them to participate in serving others in a tangible way. (You can see this post for more.) We used to use a chore chart, as I felt that it helped me in home management and helped the children to take more responsibility for their daily work without me constantly hovering over them, having to tell them what to do. (That chore chart is still available as just one of our freebies when you sign up for our email newsletter. I’ve also seen a lot about this free online chore chart lately, but haven’t tried it.)
However, it has now been over two years since we’ve used a chore chart. At first, it was because we were trying to sell our house. As a result, we cleaned when we had a showing and it was an all-out effort rather than doing a bit each day as we usually did. Everyone pitched in and did whatever was required.
After we sold our house, I frankly found little use for a chore chart. We had moved from a 3,000 SF house to a 1,400 SF house and there was a lot less to do in terms of maintenance and management. In part because of the down-sizing and also because we prepare our home for fellowship each Sunday afternoon, I found that a once-a-week cleaning on Sunday morning made a lot of sense.
When might you find a chore chart useful? If you have fewer children and/or a large number of chores to split up between them, a chore chart might help with getting things done consistently. Particularly if you do not have a specific “cleaning day” each week, but rather do certain tasks on certain days, a chore chart is excellent for maintaining order.
When will a chore chart not be as helpful? If you, like me, have fewer chores to go around (or more children to split them up between), there might not be as much need to schedule everything. If you prefer once-a-week cleaning rather than doing it bit-by-bit each day, likewise a chore chart will likely not be necessary, except if maintenance during the week necessitates it.
Chore chart alternative: In my home management binder (which contains emergency and other contact information, homeschooling records, and recipes), I have included a page that summarizes our daily routines. A second page details what needs to be managed for the “cleaning day” and during daily morning and afternoon chore times. I’ve also specified which children can be assigned which jobs.Yet another addendum describes the children’s homeschool assignments in greater detail. Sometimes I need this to help me to remain organized, although for the most part it’s all pretty routine. My older children are able to check the binder if I or my husband are not available for immediate direction. I think it is also a good record to have on hand in case someone else is caring for the children and needs to know “what to do.”
Here’s a simplified version of our Daily “To-do’s”:
(All children dress, brush hair, and neaten beds and rooms upon waking.)
- Daily: empty dish drainer and wash previous day’s supper dishes
- Daily: carpet sweep living room and hallway
- Daily: let the chickens out (this is coupled with another job, as it needs to be done but is not really a “chore”)
- Daily: set table for breakfast; change little one’s diaper/clothes if Mom hasn’t already done it
- Breakfast: older children may be asked to make oatmeal, cornmeal, or eggs
- Check dryer for “leftover” loads to fold and put away (this is unusual but happens occasionally)
- Older children check laundry baskets and bring full loads to the laundry room. Put in one load.
- Daily: empty dish drainer and wash dishes from breakfast and/or lunch
- Daily: check carpets/floors (including kitchen) and carpet sweep/spot mop as needed
- Daily: Fold and put away laundry, as needed
- Midweek: Clean toilet and sink in main bathroom; scoop litter box and sweep floor
- Help with dinner preparation
- Clear and set table for supper
- Work on outdoor chores for Dad, if needed
- Bedroom pick-ups
I work alongside the children during chore times attending to meal preparation, laundry, sheet-changing, or whatever else needs to be done. The above list acts as an outline for what often needs to be done during chore times, and is good to fall back on, but I often provide direction for other tasks that are a higher priority. By attending to these smaller chores during the week at regular times, we are able to keep the house in good order after the thorough weekly cleaning.
Feel free to share your methods and systems for home management!