User Post: House. Work.

Attempting to keep a house with 3 children, 2 adults, 3 cats, and 2 dogs organized is a daunting task. No matter how hard I try to keep things in their place I'm never able to catch up or get ahead. Sure, my husband helps when he can, but working over 50 hours a week limits most of what he can do until after the sun goes down. And, I'd take an overgrown lawn over the kids being woken up any day!
Now that the children are getting a bit older we have been working to implement chores and tasks that they can be responsible for handling on a daily basis. We don't reward with allowance or special prizes. We work to show them that the house runs smoother and the mommy is more patient when everyone chips in! Check out the chores we give our 7, 5, and 3 year old.

  • Cleaning bedrooms - every Friday when they arrive home from school the children take time to clean up their toys, clothes, and messiness. They do their best to make their beds, empty their trash, and organize any special toys in a way that works for them. Within 30 minutes the children have rooms that are nice and neat!
  • Backpacks - each of the children is responsible for cleaning out their backpacks everyday after school. They know to hand me important papers and where to find the day's homework assignments. When they have completed their homework it is their responsibility to hang up their backpacks in the proper place so they are ready for tomorrow.
  • After Meals - I don't yet have my children doing dishes, but each one of them knows it is their responsibility to clear their plate, push in their chair, and load their dishes in the dishwasher after each meal.
  • Yard work - My husband handles the majority of the yard work, but the kids are responsible for picking up the back yard before he mows. There is always a random toy, piece of chalk, or empty bubble container that needs to be cleared from the grass. They work as a team of three to do this and very rarely do we ever hear a complaint.
I know that chore charts and allowance work well for many families and we may very well use that approach in the future. But, for now we are just concentrating on building good habits, teaching them to pitch in, and helping them understand that it isn't fair to make mommy do it all!

Neena is a mother of three and full-time PhD student. She blogs about her adventures and misadventures at hooey!critic.