How do you take care of daily house chores with your kids underfoot?

by Amy Hilbrich Davis

in Ask Amy,Home and Family Management,Home Management,Kids

It’s not easy, but it’s critical, as we strive to develop responsible kids. The reality is that maintaining a home requires work and whether you work outside or inside the home, it takes time. The sooner our sweet lovelies learn this, the better they will be at managing their future responsibilities. Your family needs to realize that the dishes don’t magically stack themselves in the dishwasher and laundry isn’t sorted, folded and put away on its own-although wouldn’t that be nice!


I learned early on with my young family that I needed to integrate the chores of our home into our time together. Chores became a part of our shared daily routine. In fact, if our chores didn’t get done, we didn’t run off to activities, because play time was secondary to our responsibilities- subsequently, we were late for many a playdate, but the message was clear; our responsibilities at home were a priority. Of course, there were countless exceptions, but just like all parents, we had our work- every day.  Chores became another way to spend our time together.


I was recently coaching a mom and used the lives of Laura and Mary Ingalls, as an example (yes, I grew up in the 70s) Did Laura & Mary hang out while their mom fetched water from the creek, darned the socks, and made bread?? I think not. Those sweet girls were the solution. They sat right next to their momma working together to complete what needed to be done, before they went off to catch butterflies, or whatever.


Now, back to your chores. In order to make a chore seem fun and like “special time” spent with their momma, you need to be creative.  Make up a song after breakfast, which signals the gang to clean up the kitchen. Another option is to create a check list that is posted in the kitchen which orients the kids to their morning responsibilities-both in pictures and words, so every child, regardless of their age can follow it. Do the same for afternoon, or after school responsibilities.


By creating a routine to follow, you are providing a step by step guide for your kids to be successful. And who doesn’t want to feel successful? Your kids will take pride in their accomplishments and soon master them.  By praising their efforts, you will show them how proud you are and this encouragement goes a long way. The chore may not done perfect but they will be good enough. Learn to live with good enough and grab your coat and head out to the park! 


Want to see what works for us?  Download Morning and Afternoon Checklists

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