Growing up, I wasn't given a single chore. Seriously. Every time I began to put dishes away or vacuum my dad would sweetly, yet firmly, shoo me away and finish the job himself. I can't tell you exactly his reasoning, but I know he felt his children shouldn't be burdened with chores. The thing is, I WANTED to help. My, how my dad and I differ! As soon as my children were old enough to begin helping around the house, I encouraged their desire to participate and involved them in our household duties. Being the list maker and organizer that I am, I created a chore and commission chart for our preschooler, while I worked on one for myself, too.
As a mother of two, with one more expected to arrive any day now, I was feeling overwhelmed with my household chores. We currently live in a fairly large log cabin that requires A LOT of diligent attention, cleaning, and maintenance. Our rental also sits on an acre of land that demands our work as well. Between never ceasing spider webs, constant mud tracking, firewood hauling, cooking and cleaning three meals a day at home, and the inevitable mess of a toddler and preschooler (plus two adults), I felt like I could never keep up with the demands of my house. In hopes of finding some relief from the endless to-dos, I decided to create a chore chart for myself. I'm telling you, this has been such a relief for my mind. Instead of seeing all 100 things that need to be cleaned and feeling like I was never successful in getting it all done, now I only see the five or so tasks I need to complete that day. I still notice the other jobs that need to get done, but I know they'll be completed at some other point during the week. Having a visual chart has also been helpful in making my house cleaner overall. Since every area of the house gets addressed within the week, nothing goes longer than seven days without being cleaned, ideally. Another positive is that when we have guests over, unexpected or invited, I don't have to throw myself into a frenzy cleaning EVERYTHING as it's all been touched within the week. All I might need to do is a quick sprucing of the bathroom or kitchen.
Obviously, life happens and the chores don't get completed every day. The toddler is sick and wants to be held all day, or the kids need constant supervision to prevent one from killing the other, or I'm too tired from a restless night of sleep, or we have errands to run, or we just decide to spend the day playing. However, on a normal day, I like to complete my chores in the morning. After breakfast and our daily Bible reading, the kids free play while I spend 10-20 minutes cleaning. Then, that's it. I'm done and I don't have to think about it for the rest of the day. Of course, there are other messes that need to be addressed and picking up that has to happen throughout the day, but the chores part is out of the way.
To create the chart, I used Microsoft Word. I simply added a heading, a footer with a Bible verse for encouragement, and a list of chores for each day. You can download the chart here for free and edit it to meet the needs of your house and family. You'll have to play around with fonts and spacing as Google Drive doesn't open the file exactly as I designed it. To download and edit in Word, click the file below.
In addition, I made a monthly cleaning chart to help me remember the odds and ends that don't need to be cleaned on a weekly basis. Without it, tasks like dusting the ceiling fans are bound to be neglected waaaay longer than is sanitary. For this chart, I plan to simply complete tasks as time allows and place a check mark by each job to remind myself it's been completed. Download and edit here to see the file in Google drive, or click on the file link below to open in Word.
In creating a children's chore chart, I enlisted the help of my four-year-old daughter. I used Microsoft Word again to create the table and then I asked her to pick the images for each job. I used the site Flat Icon, which has hundreds of thousands of customizable vectors from which to choose. I attempted to match her designated chore up with the room I would plan to complete each day. The kid's chore chart designates one special chore per day. At age four, I don't want her to be overwhelmed with a huge visual list, but to instead see one that she can accomplish well. However, there are several other jobs that she completes on a daily basis that would be considered chores but are just part of our routine. On a normal day, she is responsible for putting her dishes in the sink, cleaning up after she plays, setting the table with napkins and utensils, and picking up her room before bedtime. She typically has no problem completing these tasks and even enjoys helping. Our two-year-old also helps with the same tasks during the day, with a little more assistance from me.
On the same chart, there is a list of "commission jobs." This is based on principles by Dave Ramsey in his book Smart Money Smart Kids. My husband and I took his course, Financial Peace University, when we were engaged and the blessings have been endless. We knew we wanted our kids to learn and inherit his wise, Biblical principles on money from a young age. As such, he recommends offering kids commission jobs to earn money. Early on, children begin learning to work for what they want instead of mom and dad spoiling them with everything they desire. If Adeline wants a pair of sparkly shoes she sees at the store, and it's not something she needs, I remind her that she can work for them by completing her commission jobs at home and then we can come back and purchase the item. She is usually excited to begin working as soon as we get home, sometimes completing several jobs in one day. Or most likely, her yearning for the item disappears once we're in the car. Of course, sometimes I choose to spoil her because I can, but on most occasions, Adeline understands she cannot have everything she wants at the store (without earning it first). Download and edit the child's chores and commission jobs chart here via Google Drive, or the link below to edit in Word.
I hope these charts help you to feel more organized and relaxed or inspire you to create your own. It seems that every family does it differently, so I would love to hear about your chore system. Please share what works for you!