Easily Manage Your Home Part 6: How to Get Your Family to Help Out Around the House

Easily Manage Your Home Part 6: How to Get Your Family to Help Out Around the House

Do you ever feel like the responsibility of keeping your house running smoothly is entirely on your shoulders?

You know that if you ever stop to take a break, things are going to spiral out of control?

No matter how many times you have tried, it doesn’t seem like anyone else will help you out unless you beg…and plead… and nag?

Ugh! All the things that no mom wants to do!

Well in this post I’m going to walk you through how to get your family on board so that you can get some much needed downtime!

Sound too good to be true? Well try out the steps I outline in this post and see for yourself!

This post is Part 6 in our How to Easily Manage Your Home Series. The tips I discuss in the series build upon each other, so I do recommend starting at the beginning right here: How to Easily Manage Your Home Part 1. Then you can get your family on board in a way that will be sure to stick!

As we talk about How to Get Your Family to Help Out around the House, feel free grab a pen and that notebook that you have been using to organize your new routines and take notes.

Or, if you would like to have the same templates that I am using, feel free to grab the Autopilot Workbook. For this post we will be using the Chores by Age Sheet, the Regular Chores vs. Paid Chores Sheet, the Chores for Cash Sheet, the Family Meeting Agenda Sheets, and the Family Chore Calendar.

But if you don’t have the same templates that I do, you can make your own templates in a notebook!

And if you would prefer to watch the post, here is the video:

How to Get Your Family To Help Out Around the House

1) Get Your Spouse on Board

Now, if your spouse is already super helpful around the house and or you don’t have a spouse, you can skip ahead to the next section!

But if you want to get your spouse involved, sit down with them when the kids aren’t around and have an honest conversation with them.

Explain to them how you just can’t do every single thing by yourself.

Tell them about how you need help around the house from them and from the kids.

You aren’t the only person who makes the mess in the house so you shouldn’t be the only person cleaning it up.

Make sure that they are on the same page with you as far as getting everyone on board. Because what you don’t want to happen is for you to sit everyone down for your family meeting and have everyone rolling their eyes…including your spouse.

You want to show up to that family meeting united. Telling your kids, “Hey, this is something that we’re going to start doing as a family, and we’re really excited about the changes that are going to happen.”

Now as you start talking with your spouse, I want you to make a couple of assumptions. I know we aren’t supposed to assume, but stick with me here. I want you to assume that your spouse is not a jerk and that they wouldn’t mind helping if they knew how they could help.

A lot of guys don’t see things the way that we do. We see a messy kitchen and think, “Oh, this needs to be cleaned. I’d better do that.” And they see a messy kitchen and think “Huh. Somebody should clean that.”

Guys often have to be asked, and them needing to be asked doesn’t mean that they’re a jerk or that they don’t want to help us out. It just means that we need to ask.

Then once you and your spouse are on the same page, you can go through each of the steps I outline below and make these decisions together.

That way, when you do show up to your family meeting, the kids know that both parents are on the same page.

2) Assign Chores By Age

The next thing that you’re going to do is think about which chores you can give to each child and how many chores they should be doing each day.

If you have the Autopilot Workbook, the Chores by Age Sheet will tell you which chores each age group can do and how many chores each age group should do each day.

But essentially what you are doing with chores is slowly teaching them how to clean the entire house as they grow up.

Now, you obviously aren’t just going to start them with cleaning the entire house. But you want to be cycling them through all of the chores in the house so that by the time they are 18, they are at least familiar with and are able to do everything required for running a home.

Then when they are on their own, Easily Managing Their Own Home will be natural to them, which is pretty cool!

Something to keep in mind here is that once you assign chores, you want to re-evaluate them every few months to see if those chores are still a good fit for your child and your child’s age.

I’ve learned for my kids that it’s time to cycle through chores when they start to get bored and complain about the chores.

When that happens, try mixing up the chores and giving them some different responsibilities. They are usually excited to learn the new chore and they entertain themselves by setting stopwatches to see if they can shave off time week after week.

Example Chores for Two and Three Year Olds

So here are a couple of ideas for the two to three-year-olds.

They should be doing 1-2 chores per day.

And by “chores” at this age, I mean helping someone else who is doing a chore.

They can help spray cleaner when you are cleaning the bathroom. They can help wipe up spills. Basically, any chore that I was doing when my girls were this age, I was able to find some way that they could help me out with it.

They were learning life skills, getting used to helping the family, and *bonus*, they felt really important.

Example Chores for Four and Five Year Olds

Now four and five-year-olds are quite independent and they can do 2-3 chores per day, depending on the difficulty.

You don’t want your kid to feel like they’re doing chores all the time, but you want to give them enough that they feel like they are helping out.

They have actually done studies and found that children actually enjoy doing their chores when they feel challenged and feel like they’re actually making a difference in their family.

Kids, especially younger kids, really want to be challenged and want to feel like they’re making a big difference.

One thing that four and five year olds are quite capable of doing is cleaning a toilet.

This is still a big job for them and they are learning, so you’ll want to check their work after they are done and make sure they did it correctly.

Another thing they can do is clean the mirrors.

Basically, at this age, give them one piece of a larger chore! So instead of cleaning the entire bathroom, they can do any one part of the bathroom.

It works well to work on the rest of the chore with them so they can be learning all of the steps involved in that chore for when they are bigger.

Another thing I recommend for four and five-year-olds is to have them clean their own dish after each meal and put it into the dishwasher (or dry the dish and put it away if you don’t have a dishwasher).

Four to five year olds should also be able to make their beds on their own and tidy their own rooms.

How to Easily Manage Your Home Part 6

Example Chores for Six and Seven Year Olds

Then six to seven-year-olds can really start to be a big help around the house.

They can learn to clean the bathroom all by themselves, assuming they’ve learned the little steps along the way.

If you are just starting out and your child is six or seven and they’ve never done chores before, don’t just point them to the bathroom and say, “go clean the bathroom.”

You’ll want to start by showing them the baby steps so they can learn the whole process.

At this point, they can dust the furniture, clear the table, clear the counters, and lots of truly helpful chores!

There is a huge amount of independence at this stage. If you give them a chore and expect them to do it, they will rise to the occasion and be a helper around the house.

Example Chores for Eight or Nine Year Olds

Now eight and nine year olds are able to do even bigger chores.

They should be able to clean the kitchen (with a normal mess in it, we aren’t talking about after Thanksgiving Dinner or anything like that).

And they can do any part of the laundry independently, and even vacuum by themselves.

Chores for Ten, Eleven, and Twelve Year Olds

Then ten, eleven, and twelve year olds can tidy part of the house if you need them to.

They also should start cooking some simple dinners by themselves. If you have kids in this age range, I highly recommend giving them one night a week that they cook so that they can learn this skill and practice it on a consistent basis.

Chores for Thirteen, Fourteen, and Fifteen Year Olds

Then the thirteen, fourteen, and fifteen year olds should be able to mow the lawn and tidy the yard, cook more complex dinners by themselves, and they should be able to do their own laundry from start to finish without any micromanaging.

I highly recommend you have them doing their own laundry by this age because it is such an important skill and it will take a huge burden off of you!

two children loading the washing machine

Chores for Sixteen, Seventeen, and Eighteen Year Olds

Then the sixteen, seventeen, and eighteen year olds should be able to do everything involved with running the home.

If you and your spouse both work outside of the home and you have a child between 16 and 18, you could even give them the chore of doing the laundry for the family for the week or a different complex chore. They will be able to keep track and go back and switch the laundry over as needed.

If you are having a child do the laundry though, you may want to make sure that each member is folding their own clothes because you don’t want to overwhelm any one person.

Older children can also teach a younger sibling how to do a chore for their chore.

They should be able to cook pretty much any dinner by themselves at this age, and you could even have them go grocery shopping for you or create a meal plan.

grandmother and granddaughter having a conversation while cooking together

3) Write Down a List

So before you have your family meeting, write out a list of chores that you think each child in your family would be able to do.

You don’t have to decide which chores they will be assigned just yet.

But you should at least have a list of all of the chores that you would like to delegate to someone else.

4) Regular Chores Vs. Paid Chores

This is a question I get a lot: Should I pay my children to do chores or should they just do them?

And the answer is, “yes!”

You want them to have some chores that they do because doing chores is part of being in a family. But they should also have the opportunity to make money by doing extra chores that are above and beyond what is required to keep the house running.

My rule of thumb is that any chores that are required to keep the house running are just part of life and are not paid.

This is things like making the beds, cleaning the bathrooms, cleaning the kitchen, or doing the laundry.

No one pays you to clean your house, and kids have to learn that sometimes you just have to do things that you’d rather not do.

It’s life!

Anything that is extra or above and beyond a regular chore, they can get paid for.

This would be things like cleaning the baseboards, cleaning the windows, deep-cleaning the kitchen, raking the leaves, and cleaning door knobs, cleaning the light switches, or anything that isn’t required to keep the house running smoothly.

So with that in mind, decide on some chores that you are willing to pay for. Then decide how much you are willing to pay for each of those chores.

You want to be sure you decide on the amount you are willing to pay before the family meeting so you don’t end up overpaying for the chores!

Then after the meeting, you want to put this list of chores and how much you are willing to pay for each chore on the fridge.

Let them know that they can put their name next to each chore they would like to claim. Then they have one week to complete the chore, have it approved (make sure you check the chore and approve it after it is done), and get paid.

If they haven’t completed the chore within a week after they claimed it, someone else can claim it!

Now, one rule I like to have with this is that they have to do their regular chores before they can do any paid chores that day.

And this is just an extra incentive for them to get those regular chores done and not skip over them to do extra paid chores.

How to Get Your Family to Help Around the House

5) How to Have a Family Meeting

So the next thing you want to do is create a family meeting agenda.

If you have a spouse or significant other, I recommend figuring this out together so that you are both ready at the family meeting to explain the new rules to your kids.

1. Tell the Kids You Need Their Help

Let them know that you can’t do it all. You’re only human after all!

Explain that this will be a huge help for you. Let them know that you want them to be involved and learn how to run the house.

It is important for kids to feel that they are needed.

Don’t be surprised though if your children are less than enthusiastic about this change, they will get used to it!

2. Explain Any New Rules

This is something you and your spouse will want to decide on ahead of time as well.

Will there be any consequences if they don’t do their chores? Will there be rewards if they do complete their chores?

I recommend doing both because some kids are more motivated by rewards, and some are more motivated by consequences. So it’s really a good idea to have both set up and in place.

3. Read the Full List of Weekly Chores

If you aren’t sure how to create this list, check out How to Create the Best Cleaning Routine Ever which is Part 5 in this series.

A handwritten list of things to do

4. Let Your Children Choose

Then you go around the room and let each child pick one chore at a time that they would like to be responsible for.

The reason you want to let them pick is that there may be some chores that kids like doing more than others, so why not let each person do the chores they prefer!

You will also have a lot less resistance if you can get some buy-in from them by giving them some choice in the matter.

Then you keep going around and letting them choose chores until everyone has enough (remember younger children shouldn’t have as many as older children).

Now, some kids, especially if they’re really young, won’t have any idea what they’re actually capable of and they’ll just want to help out. So that’s when you’ll want to show them the list that you made of age-appropriate chores for each of them, and let them pick from that list.

But older children should definitely know what they’re capable of and what they aren’t.

5. Divide the Rest of the Chores

Then once the children have all the chores that they need, divide the rest of the chores between yourself and any other adults in the house.

I recommend doing it this way because you want the kids to have the first pick.

They aren’t going to like doing chores, but they’re kids. So you want to kind of give them a break and let them pick first.

And when it comes to dividing up the chores among the adults, I also recommend that you let the other adults choose first.

I do this because I know I would rather have some help even if I’m stuck with doing the things that I would rather not do, than to have no help at all.

It just is easiest to get other people’s buy-in when you are letting them choose first.

6. Create a family chore chart.

Then, once you’ve assigned the chores to everyone, create a family chore chart together.

On your family chore chart you will write down which chores are getting done on which day by which person. This keeps everyone accountable to completing their chore every week.

A Dad and Daughter Doing Dishes

7. Add chores to the morning and evening routines.

Then add the chores to the morning and/or evening routine for each child.

Putting the chores into the routines makes doing chores a habit so that you don’t have to constantly nag people to get their chores done.

Now you may be thinking, why not just do a chore checklist? Well, you can, but I actually prefer to put it on the morning and/or evening routine.

This way the chores become automatic and the kids won’t have to think about when they should do their chores, they will just do them!

We want the house to feel like it is running itself, and the way to make that happen is by creating routines that set us up for success.

8. Discuss rewards and consequences

Again, look at this ahead of time, but don’t have anything set in stone before your family meeting.

We want to get that buy-in from everyone involved. So ask the kids what would be some good rewards if they get their chores done without being reminded.

An idea for this would be if they get their chores done all week long without having to be reminded, then they get to stay up for an extra hour or two on the weekend.

Take into account each child’s personality, and each child’s love language when you are deciding on rewards and consequences. If you don’t know your children’s love languages, check out The Five Love Languages of Children. But I recommend trying to figure out their love languages as you set up these rewards and consequences.

I actually think it’s a good idea to have specific rewards and consequences for each child in your family, because if a reward or a consequence isn’t motivating, it’s not going to work.

It makes much more sense to spend a little bit of time figuring out exactly what would be motivating and what would not be motivating to each person.

9. Explain the chores for cash

Then once you have the rewards and consequences in place, you can explain the chores for cash.

Explain that if they are doing all of their regular chores, they have the opportunity to do some extra chores to make some money.

I hope you found this post helpful for getting your family involved with helping out around the house!

Want 7 Extra Hours Every Week? Grab the Streamline Your Home Quick-Start Guide!

Ready to Start Easily Managing Your Home?

If you are ready to get all of your routines in place so that your home practically runs itself, check out my course Put Your Home on Autopilot!

In Put Your Home on Autopilot, you will learn how to set up

  • A Daily Block Schedule
  • A Laundry Routine
  • A Kitchen Cleaning Routine
  • A Morning Routine for Mom
  • A Morning Routine for Each Kid
  • An Evening Routine for Each Kid
  • An Evening Routine for Mom
  • A Weekly Cleaning Routine
  • A Chore Routine for Each Kid
  • And More!

In just 8 weeks or less you will go from feeling overwhelmed to in control. And if you have any questions along the way, I’m only an email away!

I hope to see you inside the course!

(Or if you are more of a do-it-yourself kind of gal, you can check out my DIY Resources for Creating Your Routines.)

Ready to Get 7 Extra Hours in Your Week?

Then check out Simply Streamlined!

In Simply Streamlined, you will learn how to 

  • Declutter Your Home
  • Put Effective Routines in Place
  • Create a Set-It-and-Forget-It Meal Plan
  • Get Your Finances Under Control

Simply Streamlined walks you through exactly how to Completely Streamline Your Home in just 15 Minutes a Day!

Plus you will receive

  • Cluttered to Calm Lessons, Workbooks, and Spreadsheets
  • Put Your Home on Autopilot Lessons, Workbooks, and Spreadsheets
  • Set-It-and-Forget-It Lessons, Workbooks, and Spreadsheets
  • Master Your Money Lessons, Workbooks, and Spreadsheets
  • AND Weekly Live Coaching Calls!

I hope to see you inside the program!

(Or if you are more of a do-it-yourself kind of gal, you can check out my DIY Streamlining Resources!)

See you on the next one! Kassy
A Beginner’s Guide to Toddler Chores

A Beginner’s Guide to Toddler Chores

Toddlers are natural-born helpers.

They are also natural-born spillers, knock-over-er’s, slow-down-ers, and breakers of all things breakable.

So although their helpfulness is adorable, it is also super inconvenient.

How to Start Doing Chores with Your Toddler

So why should we consider having them do chores? Wouldn’t it be easier to wait a couple or five years until they have better control of their limbs?

Actually… no.

The University of Minnesota completed an analysis of data collected over 20 years. They found that the best predictor of success in young adulthood was if they had begun doing chores as a young child or not. You can read more about that study here.

But the challenge is that children are most eager to help their parents when they are least capable. 

For a young child, scrubbing, wiping, and doing dishes is a blast! But it’s a blast because it is MESSY! 

When most of us are doing chores, we prefer to get them done with as little interference as possible. 

 We lovingly tell our children “Mommy’s busy, go play with your toys” as we gently shoo them out of the room.

The problem comes a couple of years later when the child is very capable of helping around the house and the parents excitedly announce that it is now time for them to learn to do chores! 

The child is less than impressed by this new idea and usually protests loudly and often.

Let’s be honest though, I would probably be annoyed too if I was used to happily playing 24/7 and someone came along and told me that I had to work now! 

It would be a pretty disappointing trade.

So how can we teach children to be helpful around the house without the argument?

And is that even possible?

Yes, it is. But you need to start a lot earlier than you think.

According to a npr.org article titled How to Get Your Kids to Do Chores, psychologist Suzanne Gaskins has found that we are doing our children a disservice by waiting until they are old enough to be useful to use their help. 

She has studied Mayan villages for the past 30 years and found that their children are incredibly helpful around the house.

This is because they don’t think of their toddlers and disturbances to their work, but rather as an asset. Instead they harness the willingness and helpfulness of the toddler and use it as a time to teach them how to do the chores. 

Eventually, over time, as the toddler learns to control their clumsiness, the child becomes invaluable to the parents who took the time to teach him. 

How to Teach Your Toddler To Do Chores

That may work well for the Mayans, but we live in a different culture. 

Can it translate for those of us living in a more western society?

It turns out that it can work well with toddlers across the globe.

Before we dive into the chore ideas, I’m going to give you the Five Rules I use when getting my toddlers involved in chores:

Want 7 Extra Hours Every Week? Get the Streamline Your Home Quick Start Guide.

Rule 1: Start Them Young

As soon as my girls started walking I would have them help with basic things that I was doing. I use the term “help” quite loosely here. I was mostly looking for familiarity with the household rhythms and duties.

So between the ages of 12 and 18 months, I get my girls used to doing chores. It is a normal, predictable part of the day at our house. And it usually happens in the morning after breakfast, unless we have an appointment that we are heading to.

I start using phrases like “we work before we play,” “thank you for helping Mommy,” “it makes everyone’s job easier when we all help a little,” and “I need your help with ____________” almost every day.

It is important for them to learn that they are an important part of the family and they are needed and appreciated.

When your toddler wants to be right next to you every step of the way, grab an extra rag and have them “help.” They are usually more than happy to get involved and it’s a great way to channel their endless energy.

The best part is that they are learning life skills at the same time.

Rule 2: Let Them Help

Both of my girls would come to me and ask to “hep, hep!” before they could even speak in complete sentences. They wanted to be a part of the action. Especially if that action had anything to do with washing dishes, making bread, or spraying a spray bottle.

I always knew the job could take almost twice as long with their “help” but it was worth it to me to get them excited and involved with the work.

I can’t think of any job that they couldn’t at least watch me do. And most jobs they could play as small part in.

A Beginner's Guide to Toddler Chores

Rule 3: Enlist an Older Sibling

This has been the best way to get my younger daughter excited about doing chores. If my oldest daughter is doing dishes, my younger daughter runs to the sink and says “hep, hep!” frantically, like she is missing out on the most amazing activity in the world.

I sit her on the counter and she immediately sticks her chubby little feet into the water and grabs a measuring cup, or spoon, or anything else that her sister gives her and begins playing in the water.

Nope, she isn’t really helping. But she is learning the process of after we eat, we do the dishes.  

The key thing here though is that she thinks she’s helping!  

Research has found that it is important for children’s development to feel like they are needed in the family. We tell her “Thank you for helping!” and “Good job helping!” many times throughout the process.

*Disclaimer* Be sure your child can be safe on the counter before you put them on it. Teach them to stop when you say “no” first so you can be sure they won’t get too close to the edge. They could be seriously hurt if they were to fall off, so be sure they can understand how to be cautious, with your help and reminders of course.

Rule 4: Give Them a Piece of a Real Job

Children want to be helpful… and that means they want to take part in the work that is needed around the house.

Studies have found that having children do “fake work” (like re-sweeping a floor that was already swept) did not increase their desire to help. Instead, the children realized that the work was fake and went off to do something else.

My girls have both loved helping with real jobs. As soon as daddy walks in the door, they like to tell him how they helped Mommy that day and sometimes even take him to show the area that they cleaned “all-by-themselves.”

Rule 5: Don’t Use Rewards

I know, this makes me sound like a super mean mom. 

Here’s the thing though, I want my girls to be motivated within themselves to be helpful, not because I’m going to give them a reward.

So, aside from chore charts that can be checked off if they wish, there are no stickers, pennies, goldfish, or any other reward currency in our house for doing chores.

It turns out that the Mayan mothers follow this rule too, so I think I’m in good company!

Chore Ideas for Toddlers

The important thing to keep in mind with your one-, two-, and three-year-old’s chores is to recognize any effort they put forth.

Remember, you are creating a habit of helpfulness, not looking for actual help cleaning your house.

The chore will probably take you twice as long as if you do it alone. Sorry to break it to you! But trust me, it will be worth it!

Here are some simple, practical chores that toddlers can do to help around the house to get you started:

1) Picking Up Toys

This is the perfect first chore for toddlers. 

My motto is: as soon as they are old enough to dump the toys out of the bin, they are old enough to put them back.

One thing that makes this easier on our girls is keeping the toys to a minimum and only having a small amount out for them to easily access every day. Any additional toys are stored in a bin in the garage that they can rotate toys in and out from any time they choose.

If you feel like you have too many toys for your toddler to be able to put away on their own, consider decluttering your toys. Check out my post How to Begin Decluttering When You’re Overwhelmed and Stressed: 10 Steps for Getting Started Today for some decluttering tips.

How to Start Toddler Chores

2) Folding Washcloths

Around 18 months old, my girls were able to start folding washcloths. Whenever I was folding, I would pull all of the washcloths out of the pile for them. 

They would carefully lay them on the floor and fold them in half, and in half again.

One time my friend who teaches toddlers at a preschool asked me to come in and do a talk for her class. During the talk, I showed all the kids how to fold washcloths to help their parents at home. Each one was able to do it with minimal instruction.

3) Putting Clothes Away

My oldest daughter (4) has the job of folding and putting away all the kids’ clothes in our house. She loves enlisting my younger daughter (17 months) to help her with putting everything away.

My oldest will generally fold one article of clothing, hand it to her sister, then take her to the proper place and show her how to put it away.

Yes, it takes them quite a while to do it this way. Yes, I could tell them how to do it more efficiently. But at this point they are having fun together, learning a process together, and frankly, it’s nice to have the little one entertained for so long… so I don’t micromanage.

4) Wiping the Walls or Floor

If you are cleaning the kitchen, hand them a rag and ask them to clean the wall. 

Especially the wall by the trash can usually use a good scrubbing.

I also have them help clean up any time they spill something. Instead of getting upset with them, just have them help clean up and they will learn to be more careful more quickly.

5) Helping Clean the Mirrors and Counters

When I’m cleaning the mirrors and countertops in the bathroom, I hoist my younger daughter up onto the counter and hand her a rag. She happily helps me spray and wipe.

Spraying is a great way to teach kids to listen. I will tell my girls where to spray and how many times to spray. If they decide not to listen, they lose the fun of spraying for that day. It’s only had to happen once for each of them because they love spraying so much!

*Disclaimer: Please make sure your child can be safe on the counter and listen to instructions before putting them on the counter!*

Why You Should Start Chores Young

6) Doing the Dishes

Like I explained above, doing the dishes is my younger daughter’s chore of choice. If she could sit beside the sink and play in the water all day, it would be time well spent in her opinion.

No, of course, she doesn’t do this all by herself. Big Sister or Mommy is always close by to tell her not to get too close to the edge. 

No, she doesn’t do the dishes. But she is learning to be involved in the work that her sister and I do.

*Disclaimer: Please make sure your child can be safe on the counter and listen to instructions before putting them on the counter!*

7) Closing the Cabinets

Yes, I know this isn’t an actual chore, but it can make a toddler feel like they are helping and keep them busy while you are cooking.

Often at the end of the day when we are all in the kitchen together working on a meal, my younger daughter is happily walking around closing all the cabinets that I have left open (I have a bad habit of this, just ask my husband…)

It makes her feel like she is part of the action and has an important part to play (which is kind of true since Ross will often run into the cabinet doors that I leave open and bang his knees or head on them).

8) Starting the Dishwasher

After my oldest daughter loads the dishwasher, she helps her sister start it.

My youngest gets to help put the soap in and close the door. We have an old dishwasher so she can’t quite turn the dial and set it to wash, but she pushes it in to start it when her sister has it ready for her. 

She gets the biggest smile on her face when she hears it going!

If you have a newer dishwasher, show them how to push the buttons by themselves!

9) Dusting

Any time you are dusting, give your toddler a rag. They will probably also want to dust the couches, the floor, the ottomans, and anything else with a flat surface. 

But once they realize the dusting oil, they will stick close to your side wanting to spray.

Dusting the piano was one of the first real chores that my oldest daughter was able to do all by herself.

10) Working in the Garden

I don’t think I need to convince you how much toddlers like the dirt or tell you how excited they will be if you ask them to play in it!

When we weed the garden we get my younger daughter involved. She usually takes the weeds we pull over to the yard waste bin for us.

Her sister usually helps her get them into the bin, but she walks them over to the bin all by herself (which is the important thing in any toddler’s mind.)

Simple Ideas for Toddler Chores

11) Starting the Microwave

Toddlers love pushing buttons! Any time my toddler sees me putting anything in the microwave she runs over to help.

I help her push the right buttons while I tell her what they are. Before long, I’ll just have to pick her up and she’ll know what to do!

12) Feeding the Pets

I don’t have any pets so I’m glad I asked my friend, Megan if her daughter had any favorite chores. At their house, feeding the dogs and cat is her two-year-old’s job.

This is a fantastic way to teach kids responsibility and the repetition of chores because, well, animals need to eat every day.

Especially if you want your children to remember to feed their pets when they are older, start them young! 

I’m pretty sure her little one won’t remember a time when she didn’t feed the animals since she started so young, and I doubt she’ll ever think to complain about it.

You May Also Enjoy Reading

Our 10 Favorite Toddler Books That Parents Will Enjoy Too, this is a list of my favorite toddler books that keep my toddler’s attention, without making me lose my mind when I’ve read them 10,017 times!

How to Hike With Your Toddler: 15 Tips for Teaching Your Toddler to Love Hiking will teach you everything you need to know about how to hike with your toddlers!

If you struggle to keep your house clean with a toddler running around, check out My Simple Weekly Cleaning Schedule: The Routine That Took Me From Overwhelmed to In Control.

Grab the Streamline Your Home Quick Start Guide

Ready to Get 7 Extra Hours in Your Week?

Then check out Simply Streamlined!

In Simply Streamlined, you will learn how to 

  • Declutter Your Home
  • Put Effective Routines in Place
  • Create a Set-It-and-Forget-It Meal Plan
  • Get Your Finances Under Control

Simply Streamlined walks you through exactly how to Completely Streamline Your Home in just 15 Minutes a Day!

Plus you will receive

  • Cluttered to Calm Lessons, Workbooks, and Spreadsheets
  • Put Your Home on Autopilot Lessons, Workbooks, and Spreadsheets
  • Set-It-and-Forget-It Lessons, Workbooks, and Spreadsheets
  • Master Your Money Lessons, Workbooks, and Spreadsheets
  • AND Weekly Live Coaching Calls!

I hope to see you inside the program!

(Or if you are more of a do-it-yourself kind of gal, you can check out my DIY Streamlining Resources!)

See you on the next one, Kassy
How to Teach Your Children to Enjoy Doing Chores

How to Teach Your Children to Enjoy Doing Chores

I knew that I wanted chores to be different for my kids. Sure, they needed to know that they were a necessary part of life, but I also wanted them to know that they could enjoy doing chores. 

10 Tips for Getting Your kids to Help with Chores

The question was how to make this happen.

Then I heard in a couple of places that by the age of four, a child could be acquainted with every duty required to run the house. Say, What?!?!

(To clarify, this doesn’t mean they could do them all alone, but that they would be aware of what needs to be done and would have an idea of how the chores work.) 

They also mentioned that by seven, a child could be about as helpful as an adult with the household duties. Come again!?!?

I was intrigued to say the least. But I wasn’t sure how to make that happen, or how to assign tasks that were age appropriate.

One day we were talking with some friends, they have four children and mentioned that their kids took pride in their tasks to help the family run properly. 

The mother did not have to micromanage the process for the older children (ages 9, 7, and 5), and it sounded like their children actually received enjoyment from doing their chosen jobs to the best of their ability.

I wanted in! I questioned them until they spilled all their secrets.  My oldest daughter had just turned three and, though she had always done tiny little tasks to help every day, she didn’t have specific tasks of her own.

I decided to try out their tips and, amazingly, after only a couple of weeks, she was doing chores that I would have never thought she could handle.

 Of course, I wasn’t far away if she needed help, but if I hovered too closely, she soon started telling me, “I’m ok Mommy, you can go do something else.”

The best part is that the steps we took are simple and easy to replicate. 

Here are the 11 tips for teaching your children to love doing chores:

(And if you prefer to watch your content, here is the video that goes with this post!)

How to Teach Your Children to Enjoy Chores

1) Start When They’re Small

I started having my kids help me with simple chores around the age of one. I use the term “help” quite loosely here. If I was folding a pile of laundry, I would point to an article of clothing that was farther from me and ask them to bring it to me.

Each time they successfully did what I asked, I would praise them with the kind of over-the-top excitement only a mother can give. I would often entertain them like this until I was finished.

Pro Tip: Be ridiculously excited, people. They will love it and think it’s a game to see how happy they can make you.

Whatever work you are doing, find the simplest part of the task and start teaching.

If you need some inspiration on where to start with your little ones, check out my post, A Beginner’s Guide to Toddler Chores!

2) Choose Age-Appropriate Chores

Babies and toddlers love wiping things. I would hand my girls a rag and ask them to wipe a part of the baseboard or floor while I was cleaning the bathrooms. 

This small task could entertain them for quite a while…well, quite a while for a toddler!

How to Teach Your Kids to Enjoy Doing chores

As they grow, expand and change the chores to fit their ability. Something that might be a great task for a toddler would bore a bigger child and vice versa.

Kids love spraying anything from squirt guns in the backyard to cleaning solutions in the bathroom. While I didn’t want the harsh chemicals near their little lungs, I wanted them to be able to do the piece of the task that brought them joy.

I was able to find gentile cleaning solutions so that they could help out!

I also used the spraying time to teach them to listen to instructions. I would tell them where and how many times to spray and they would do it. They loved this game!

Once they understood the process, they would lose the spraying privilege for a little while if they couldn’t follow directions (which only had to happen once for each of them!)

3) Chore Chart

Even if kids are too young to read, they will enjoy having a chore chart and checking things off their list!

For older kids, this can help them take ownership of their chores so you don’t have to micromanage them.

You can make your own chore chart using paper or a dry erase board, or you can use the one in my Autopilot Workbook.

4) Take Advantage of Mimicking

From two-and-a-half to three, it seemed as though my girls were constantly playing the game of Monkey-See-Monkey-Do. 

I took advantage of this to create a good work ethic.

From the time they were awake for more than 5 minutes at a time, I would always do my cleaning routine when my girls are awake and around where I was working. 

Each time the girls saw me doing my chores, they wanted to try whatever task was at hand.

Even if the chore was above their level of ability, I would let them try it out for as long as they liked.

One day, when my younger daughter was having a particularly fussy day, I had to vacuum the floor with her on my back in the Lillebaby. After I was finished, my oldest wanted one of her dolls in her doll carrier and proceeded to vacuum the floor again.

Want 7 Extra Hours Every Week? Grab the Streamline Your Home Quick-Start Guide!

5) Keep Things New and Exciting

Once you can tell your child has effectively mastered a chore, try giving them a new chore to work on next time you are working together. (Think progress here not perfection.)

When I started having my oldest help me with the bathrooms, her job was the toilet. Mainly because it was low to the ground and she loved using the scrubber to swish the water.

After a couple of weeks of cleaning the toilet once a week, she was able to do the entire thing without me saying a word. I then simply changed her chore to the mirrors when I was doing the rest of the bathroom. 

This little adjustment kept her engaged and excited to learn something new.

Another way to tell if they need a different task is boredom. If they started with a great attitude about helping, but you are now greeted with “I don’t want to” at chore time, try mixing it up!

6) Model Working Before Playing

I’m sure I’m not the only parent whose children would rather play with them than to do chores with them. 

But when the girls ask me to play something with them or go to the park before our chores are done, I say “I would love to, as soon as we finish our work. Work first, then play!”

Since this is the norm and not the exception at our house, they aren’t surprised by this response. Usually, they jumps in to help so we can get to the fun stuff more quickly.

7) Do Chores Together

Once they were old enough for a chore of their own (which was around three for us), I created a little chore chart for them that was based around My Simple Weekly Cleaning Schedule.

(If you would like to create your own cleaning routine, check out How to Create a Cleaning Schedule You Can Stick With.) 

On the days that I cleaned the bathroom, for example, one of my daughter’s chores would be to do the toilet and the other one would do the mirror. When I vacuumed the downstairs, they would dust.

Having our cleaning routines synchronized was especially great when the girls were learning to start doing chores. I was able to talk them through where to start and what to do next without them feeling like I was hovering over their every move. But I was close enough to evade any disaster.

I was amazed by how quickly I didn’t need to tell them what to do anymore. Now they just ask me if they want me to check something to see if it is clean enough.

Even if they are taking to chores like a duck to water, remember that they are still little and enjoy praise and company while working. Stay close enough that you can help if they need it.

Here is a video showing you how I coordinate my Cleaning Routine with my 5-Year-Old’s Routine:

8) Set Clear Expectations

If your children have never done chores before, pointing them toward the bathroom and asking them to clean it isn’t going to go well for anyone.

People like to know what is expected of them, and children are no exception. We often forget that children are rational beings who are learning to think and reason like adults.

How to Get Your Kids to enjoy Doing Chores

If we simply tell our children to do chores without explaining what chores we would like them to do, how we would like them to be accomplished, or what qualifies as a finished task, they will end up frustrated and disenchanted before you know it.

Here are three steps you can take to set clear expectations:

1. Write it down: Even young children will have fun checking off their chores each day. You can use my Printable Chore Checklist for Kids if you’d like, or you can make your own!

2. Show them how: Even if something seems obvious to you, it probably isn’t to your child. Show them exactly how you want it done and have them help you with the process. The younger the child, the more you will have to show them.

3. Explain what “finished” means: This will probably mean something different for each age-group. For young children, show them how the water drops will disappear when they are done wiping the mirror. For older children, explain that they need to add some elbow grease to get dirt and grime off.

In our house, I still have the girls get me to check their work when they think the job is done (they are six and three at the most recent update of this post). Sometimes it is done, but usually, it needs a little bit more work. 

If it needs more work, they have to stay and help me until the job meets the standards that we set for that job. 

9) Have a Positive Attitude

If you always complain about what you have to do when it comes to housework, your children will too. 

This is a challenging one to stay on top of, at least it was for me, but practice makes progress with attitudes too! 

I try to be cheerful and excited when I say it’s time to do chores, and their attitudes usually follow suit.

10) Brag About Them (In Front of Them!)

When we first started doing chores, I made a big deal about this one. When Ross would come home from work and ask how our day was, I would go on and on about what a big helper my oldest daughter was to Mommy. 

I would tell him every detail that she helped with (even if it was something like running upstairs for a diaper for her little sister.)

She would beam with pride while Daddy would tell her how proud he was of her. Sometimes if I would forget, she would ask me, “can you tell Daddy what a big helper I was today?”

How to Get Your Kids to do Chores

No, this isn’t good for teaching humility, but it is quite effective for getting toddlers excited about helping.

11) Make the Time as Pleasant as Possible

It can be easy to get into the habit of only telling them when they are doing something wrong, especially with young children who have no idea what they are doing; but try to affirm them as much as possible. 

I’m not saying to let them go crazy with the spray and make more of a mess for you, but look at their attitude and intentions. 

If they are trying their best, keep things positive. No one wants to work for a boss who only focuses on the negative. 🙂

My girls love singing. Often as we are cleaning, we will sing their favorite songs or listen to music. This helps the time move quickly for both of you and makes it fun to work together.

You want them to like working with you; and if you make it fun and encouraging, they will!

Ready to Get 7 Extra Hours in Your Week?

Then check out Simply Streamlined!

In Simply Streamlined, you will learn how to 

  • Declutter Your Home
  • Put Effective Routines in Place
  • Create a Set-It-and-Forget-It Meal Plan
  • Get Your Finances Under Control

Simply Streamlined walks you through exactly how to Completely Streamline Your Home in just 15 Minutes a Day!

Plus you will receive

  • Cluttered to Calm Lessons, Workbooks, and Spreadsheets
  • Put Your Home on Autopilot Lessons, Workbooks, and Spreadsheets
  • Set-It-and-Forget-It Lessons, Workbooks, and Spreadsheets
  • Master Your Money Lessons, Workbooks, and Spreadsheets
  • AND Weekly Live Coaching Calls!

I hope to see you inside the program!

(Or if you are more of a do-it-yourself kind of gal, you can check out my DIY Streamlining Resources!)

See you on the next one, Kassy
Create a Weekly Cleaning Schedule in Just 5 Simple Steps!

Create a Weekly Cleaning Schedule in Just 5 Simple Steps!

Create a Cleaning Routine that Actually Sticks

Ah, cleaning.

Every mother’s favorite pastime. 

What? It’s not your favorite thing in the whole wide world? Oh sorry, I must have been thinking about something else.

Here’s the thing: I truly believe we aren’t enjoying this piece of our lives because we aren’t doing it correctly. 

When I was looking to streamline my cleaning process, I searched Pinterest faithfully, read every infographic studiously, and blog hopped religiously for a few weeks before I realized that none of the ideas were even close to practical for me.

Everything I read not only had a very long list of daily duties but also required deep cleaning a different area of the house every day in addition to decluttering for 15 minutes a day. I just don’t have time to clean all day every day with two young kiddos. 

And, maybe I’m crazy, but I don’t really want to.

I actually read one schedule that claimed you needed to clean every window in your house. Every. Single. Week. Am I the only one who doesn’t have time for that?

Next, I tried to do all my cleaning one day each week. I started doing this on Friday, but the cleaning in addition to making our special Friday night meal usually left me feeling edgy. I tried moving the cleaning day to Thursday (leftover night at our house,) but I was usually frustrated when the house didn’t *feel* clean for the weekend.

Then came my *ah-ha moment* when I was working on creating my weekly schedule: The house will be clean if each area that needs attention is cleaned once each week… even if it isn’t all on the same day. 

(2023 Update: I realized as I was creating my Put Your Home on Autopilot course that I needed a couple of additional steps to show you how to create a routine that you can stick with forever… so if you want the shiny new updated post that shows you how to make the perfect routine for your home, click here!)

Let’s get into how I built a cleaning schedule that I not only love but is so easy to stick to because it saves you time and energy.

And if you prefer to watch instead of read, here is the video that goes with this post:

How to Create a Weekly Cleaning Schedule

1) Make a List

Grab a pen and a notebook, or my Printable Workbook and make a list of everything you feel needs to be done each week. This list will be different for everyone. Only write the things you really think need to be done every week (no matter what anyone else says!) 

When I did this, I listed each item out individually. For example, instead of writing “bathrooms,” I listed each bathroom separately.

Then I could decide later it if made more sense to do my bathrooms on the same day or if it worked better to split it up.

2) Look at Your Weekly Schedule

What does your weekly rhythm typically look like?

If your upcoming week is more (or less!) busy than normal, don’t use that to create your cleaning routine.

5 Steps for Creating a Weekly Cleaning Routine

You want to base your cleaning routine off of a typical week for your family.

We had a week not long ago in which one of my daughters celebrated a birthday, we went to the museum with friends, I had to stake-up and transplant a ridiculous amount of tomato plants (it’s a long story,) my sister came to visit, and my parents came to visit. I didn’t have a single free day.

Was I able to get my daily cleaning done? Nope. Did it stress me out? Not even a little bit. 

Why? Because I know my house gets cleaned consistently. No one is going to know if the floors were vacuumed that morning or six days earlier (I have the type of carpet that gets messed up as soon as someone walks across it.) As long as the toys are picked up, which the girls do before every nap and bedtime, the house will be clean enough.

Your schedule works for you, not the other way around. If you make your schedule something you can stick with the majority of the time, it isn’t going to matter if you miss a day here or there.

There is freedom in consistency, my friend!

3) Pick Your Cleaning Days

Next you will want to decide which days you want to clean on. I prefer to do a little every day and take Saturday off. 

If cleaning on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday works best with your weekly schedule, then do that. Don’t try to cram cleaning into an already stressful or overbooked day. It will only make you want to give up on your new schedule. 

Set yourself up for success and be realistic.

4) Divide and Conquer

Divide your list of everything that needs cleaned in a week among the days that you are cleaning. Be strategic here and work with your weekly schedule instead of against it. 

For example: if you only have a small amount of time on one of your cleaning days, decide to clean one bathroom and nothing more. Don’t over-commit yourself.

If you try to cram too much into a small amount of time, you will only become frustrated when you realize that you can’t clean three bathrooms in 10 minutes.

How to Save Time and Energy with a Weekly Cleaning Routine

Sunday’s are always a bit of a wildcard at our house. Sometimes we are home all day hanging out, but other times we are barely at the house between all of our adventures. This means I have very little predictable time to get anything accomplished.

Often once we get to Sunday night there are remnants of our weekend happenings all over the place. So my only job on Sunday, according to my cleaning schedule, is to tidy the house.

That’s it.

It’s a little like hitting the reset button before Monday and it gives me a good outlook for the week ahead.

5) Gut Check

Evaluate your schedule. How do you feel about it? Does it seem doable? Will your house be clean when it needs to be? 

We like to have friends over on Friday evenings for supper or for after church lunches on Saturday; so I like to ensure that my downstairs *feels* clean on Friday. I vacuum the floors and clean the small downstairs bathroom.

Easy, right? But my company doesn’t have to know how easy it was🤫. If you like to have people over on Wednesday evening, maybe clean your guest bathroom on Tuesday or Wednesday.

If something doesn’t feel right or seem doable, now is the time to change it. Go with your gut! 

Move things around until you are happy with it. Sometimes it takes trying it out for a week before you realize you need to switch a day. As soon as you realize it, make the change!

If you feel overwhelmed when you look at it, see if you can drop anything. Do you really need to clean your oven every single week? 

Could you rotate a couple of items bi-weekly? Maybe you could alternate cleaning your bathrooms so each bathroom gets cleaned every other week.

You can keep testing and keep working your routine until you have a cleaning schedule that you can rock every week, while still enjoying some downtime.

If you get stuck, check out my My Simple Weekly Cleaning Schedule: The Routine that Took Me from Overwhelmed to In Control for some additional inspiration.

Want 7 Extra Hours Every Week? Grab the Streamline Your Home Quick-Start Guide!

What If My House Still Feels Dirty?

If you followed the steps and you still don’t feel like you can keep your house clean, there could be three reasons for this.

1) You don’t have the routines in place for keeping the laundry under control and keeping your kitchen clean.

Both of these areas can make the whole house feel messy if they get out of control, even if everything else is clean.

If you need help setting up your laundry routine, check out How to Solve the Laundry Problem. And The Busy Mom’s Guide to Cleaning Your Kitchen the Easy Way will help the kitchen stay neat and tidy.

2) You didn’t incorporate your cleaning routine into your daily routine.

Even a perfect cleaning routine won’t work if you don’t incorporate it into your daily life.

If you are struggling to find time in your day to get your cleaning done, I highly recommend creating a Simple Daily Block Schedule.

3) You have a clutter problem.

If you have your laundry, kitchen, and daily routines in place, and you’ve implemented your new cleaning schedule, but your house still feels dirty… you don’t have a cleaning problem.

You have a clutter problem.

And the great news about having a clutter problem is: you can fix it!

If that sounds like your situation, hop over to How to Declutter Your Home: 10 Steps to Get Started Today!

I hope you’re excited to start using your new cleaning routine!

Ready to Get 7 Extra Hours in Your Week?

Then check out Simply Streamlined!

In Simply Streamlined, you will learn how to 

  • Declutter Your Home
  • Put Effective Routines in Place
  • Create a Set-It-and-Forget-It Meal Plan
  • Get Your Finances Under Control

Simply Streamlined walks you through exactly how to Completely Streamline Your Home in just 15 Minutes a Day!

Plus you will receive

  • Cluttered to Calm Lessons, Workbooks, and Spreadsheets
  • Put Your Home on Autopilot Lessons, Workbooks, and Spreadsheets
  • Set-It-and-Forget-It Lessons, Workbooks, and Spreadsheets
  • Master Your Money Lessons, Workbooks, and Spreadsheets
  • AND Weekly Live Coaching Calls!

I hope to see you inside the program!

(Or if you are more of a do-it-yourself kind of gal, you can check out my DIY Streamlining Resources!)

See you on the next one, Kassy