We were visiting with family last week and had a whole conversation about chores for kids.
Jeremy’s aunt and I were talking and she said, “Uhm, I asked Elayna what kinds of chores she does around the house and she said, “None.”
I looked at her, ready to defend myself because of course my girls do chores… they do lots of things… like… well…
But before I could say anything, Christa went on to say, “My girls didn’t do chores either. They all helped with everything. And that’s what Elayna said she does.”
As we continued to talk, I heard more about what Elayna had to say after she plainly exclaimed that she didn’t do any chores.
Elayna told Christa that she just helps with whatever needs to be done.
Christa, having raised 4 girls herself, said that is how she raised her family. Everybody pitches in wherever help is needed.
I didn’t realize that Elayna saw that as no chores. Because I raise my girls to help with everything, they step in when I need them and help when there is a job to do. We don’t have specific chores for kids.
No Chores for Kids
Groceries… we all bring them in.
Cleaning… everyone helps pick up
Laundry… the girls sort their clothes and bring them downstairs
Time to make beds… they go make their beds
Toys… everyone grabs toys and gets them out of the main rooms and into the playroom
No charts. No chore lists. No check marks or reward systems or posters.
Just an expectation that we help when it is time to help. I want them to learn immediate obedience, being able to see a job and do it, working until the job is done, helping is more important than who made the mess, and being a part of a family means working together.
You see, I’m too “lazy” for chore charts or having chores for kids.
I can’t keep up with them, can’t remember who did what last time and how to fairly divide up the chore list. I don’t want the job of battling my kids until their chores are done or worrying about how much allowance a certain chore is worth.
Chore charts are a lot of work for mom!
Occasionally, I’ll type up a list of things to do if I’m not going to be home so the girls know what to do. Which this list tends to be a help to Daddy more than the girls, if you know what I mean.
Some days, no chores get done at all. We are too busy.
Other days, we work together all day cleaning the house, working in the yard or putting away clothes.
Now, the general rule is if you make a mess, you clean it up.
That does help.
But even then, if we are all working together and I hear one girl say, “But I didn’t make this mess! Why do I have to clean it up?” or “I’m doing more than her.” or even “Why isn’t she working when I am?”
I have a red flag that reads “TEACHING MOMENT” in bright neon green letters.
In that moment, I will stop and say, “Well, actually… Mommy cleans up messes all the time that aren’t her messes. Everybody has to do things that they don’t want to do or things they don’t think they should have to do. It’s a part of life. That is why God’s word reminds us to do it all for the Lord. You aren’t just helping your sister by helping her clean and you aren’t just helping Mommy work in the house, you are helping God and working for the Lord.”
I look to Colossians 3:17 all. the. time.
“And, whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
I was so proud when Elayna answered the chore question the way she did.
We don’t have “my chores” and “your chores”. We don’t say “I’m done my chores and your not.” We don’t have to worry about how much this chore is worth or what discipline should happen because that chore didn’t get done. No chores for kids.
Not to say that chore charts can’t work for your home and teach these same principles, because they sure can! I’m just not able to make it work for us.
Oh, they complain and whine and cry at times, but as I persistently work with them, I see their attitudes getting better.
Through this, I’m praying my girls learn to pitch in when help is needed and to do it with a good attitude because they are doing it all for the Lord.
I also found this blog post by Doorposts that I LOVE. It talks about training our children to see needs around them so they learn to have the initiative to help out without being told.
Also, Go Beyond the Chore Chart by Kimberly Eddy is a great resource!
How do you handle chores in your home? Do you have any good parenting ideas when it comes to asking your kids to help out around the house? Do you have chores for kids?