Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Daily Chores For The Little Ones

I used to drag in the mornings. I would wake up with a simultaneous prayer and deep sigh.  Before my feet even hit the floor, I was already tired just thinking "here we go again" and we'd start the day.  

I would get running first thing--fixing bowls of cereal, changing diapers, loading dishes, cleaning spills, loading my first pile of laundry into the washer, etc.  My tone most mornings was sour and pitiful.  I often found myself wishing that my mornings weren't so demanding of me.

Then I started giving my kids more credit...and it empowered them (click for link)!  They wanted to help, but my control issues were keeping them from it.  So I eased up on my control and gave them more responsibilities.  Quickly, they became thrilled with helping...they felt proud of the new things they could do and were excited they were allowed to do all these "grown up" things!

Then I just needed to establish a routine that worked to make our mornings less mundane and more about having fun and working together.

So about 4 months ago, I discovered a 
rhythm for our morning that works SO well for us!  I can honestly say now that...
I LOVE MY MORNINGS... because they are now "our" mornings!  No more boys vegging in front of a DVD while momma runs around filling bowls and cups, cleaning up messes and dressing the babies...we are a team now!  And I keep telling my hubby, that I actually LOOK FORWARD to our mornings..and I know the kids do to!!!

Our morning rhythm success, has a lot to do with the chores we've set up.  Here's what the chores look like:


I have a post HERE about our schedule, so I won't go into it too much, but basically once we wake up and eat breakfast at the table (no DVD's in the mornings anymore) we start our chores.

First things first: MUSIC
We turn on some upbeat music and get to work!  My friend Amy wrote a great post about this HERE.

Chores by Age: (Morning)
**My 5-year-old, Trusten, is responsible for... 
Rinsing the breakfast dishes, and loading them into washer.
Taking the bedroom laundry to the porch and sorting and/or loading the washer.
Getting dressed, brushing teeth.
Making his bed.

My 3-year-old, Brahm, is responsible for...

Washing off the breakfast table.
Taking living room laundry to porch and loading it in the washer.
Getting dressed, brushing teeth with mommy.
Making his bed.

My 2-year-old, Samuel, is responsible for...

Getting all the cups to the counter
Getting dressed, brushing teeth with mommy
Putting any misc items back into his crib that mysteriously made it to the floor during the night.
Getting Bibles out for morning devotions.

All of this must be checked off before we move onto morning devotions!

**Trusten (5yo)...
Washing off lunch table
Kitchen clear (toys out of kitchen)
5 minute tidy (the room depends on what is needed)

**Brahm (3yo)

Cups to kitchen 
5 minute tidy (the room depends on what is needed)

**Samuel (2yo)

Shoe tidy (put all shoes on shoe shelf by door and/or straighten up shoes)
5 minute tidy (with Trusten--a bit of early mentoring)


**Trusten (5yo)
Wash off dinner table
10 minute tidy (the room depends on what is needed)

**Brahm (3yo)

Cups to kitchen
10 minute tidy

**Samuel (2yo)

Kitchen clear 
10 minute tidy with Trusten

Of course, now that we have a dog, I may need to tweak our chore chart to include some dog duties!

A few words about our chore chart...

--I used Sharpies for all the writing (each boy picked his own color).
--All the "check marks" are done in dry erase marker...
SO, when the day is over, I wipe off the check marks to prepare for the next day, but the chores and check boxes stay put!

Where are the kid-friendly pictures?
I used to use "chore cards" for the boys that had a picture of a boy brushing his teeth, making his bed, reading his Bible, etc.  We kept them in an envelope, but still, the cards got chewed up, lost or spilled on.

So, I took the "wall chart" route instead.  Honestly, it's more for me than the kids.  They have already gotten so used to the morning flow that they do each task without thinking.  But, I still like to keep track with our check-off chart.

I could have drawn little pictures next to each responsibility, but chose not to.  I don't have anything against that idea, and may even re-do it someday with pictures.

But for now, my kids seem to "get it" without needing picture reminders.

what better way for them to be introduced to letters and words than by having them recognize which assortment of letters goes with the task they just completed?

It's just another way I can encourage them to read and apply it!

This post is also linked to Real Clean Wednesday and Works For Me Wednesday!

Come back next Wednesday for my part of the "mommy's" daily chores look and how I schedule the cleaning each week!


Andrea said...

This is awesome! LOVE IT! I'm coming back to click on all the links and write this down! Thanks! Come by soon!

Nichole said...

We have a chore chart for my 4-year-old, too! I haven't tried to give the 2-year-old any regular tasks yet. I guess I ought to start with him, too!

Shonda said...

Grace, this is awesome! I hope to be as organized as you!

Let'sMakeADifference said...

Good for you!! A huge advantage of starting chores when children are young is that it becomes a routine....a habit! Work becomes something that the whole family does!

DORCAS said...

Thank you! I am pretty obsessive of wanting to do it all myself. I dread mornings, but now this has given me a new light! Thanks. Thank you! I became a follower. I am glad we have crossed paths.


Cheri Bunch said...

Ingenuity plus!!! You are using some great administrative skills! Every mom needs that ability! I am proud of you, Grace! Great post!!!!

Addie Walters said...

Very, very cool! I love organizational tools (I'm slightly OCD when it comes to lists, binders, stickers!), and your sharpie/dry erase idea is genius!!

We don't have kids yet, but I'm totally bookmarking this for future reference.

Susano said...

I just want you to know that I LOVE your blog!! You give such great advice- even if I don't have kids now, I can still save the info for later. Thanks the the wisdom!!

PS. I was listening to K-LOVE this morning and they were also talking about giving your kids chores and I said.... OH, DID THEY READ GRACE'S BLOG TOO?! LOL!

Mrs. McFadden said...

We haven't really ever done chores with our 5 year old at all. how would you suggest starting to implement now?? I never even thought that two year olds could understand chores, but it's a great idea!

*Mirage* said...

My 20 month old only helps pick up his toys so far. My 3 1/2 year old picks up toys, clears the table (personal dishes only - mama does the pots and serving dishes!), and she helps me do the dishwasher and laundry. We've started teaching her how to make her bed and I'd like her to be able to fold simple laundry like the washcloths but she's like her mama... not very physically coordinated. ;) It's gonna take some practice!

Anonymous said...

Love it, Grace! I might be using some of your ideas!! Love, Amy

Kathy said...

This post has helped me more than you will know. I am committed to being better organized and having better mornings.

I am blessed! said...

Wow! You've given your little guys so much responsibility. Maybe I should up the bar for my kids! I love team work and I love mornings!


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