How I heard of Chore Packs
As a mother of young children, it wasn’t until fairly recently that I started to think about my children doing more to help around the house. I didn’t realize what all they were capable of at their young age, and for a while, I was in the mindset that it was simply easier to do everything myself. (By the way, I’m wrong about that!)
I was inspired by the Duggar family of TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting, and how their many children of various ages pitched in around the house. As I listened to one of their audio books, I heard how they start their day by being assigned chores, and wearing a packet clipped on their clothing until each task was done.
I read a blog post once about a mom who put this concept into practice with her two children, and thought I might try it myself. In the past, we’ve tried chore boards, making lists, and just giving verbal directions. I spent so much time reminding them of what to do, and trying to stay on top of getting them to actually do it, that it was hard for me to adhere to it for very long.
How We Use Chore Packs
It was recommended to have neat little card holders from an office supply store with a lanyard or a clip, but I decided to improvise a little. I know myself too well, and if I had to wait to go out and acquire special supplies, it may never get done!
Of course, as homeschoolers, we always have index cards on hand, and with a black marker, I wrote down some simple tasks for my children to do requiring little supervision and the least amount of help from anyone else. I put 3-4 cards in a quart size zipper storage bag for each child assigned to do chores.
Along with their names, I wrote instructions that they were not to have any screen time until their chores were complete.
Chores in Our Chore Packs
My older children are seven and five. At first I wasn’t sure what chores they could reasonably do, so I had to think for a bit about what to include. (I was very specific with some things in order to keep the chore simple). Some of the tasks I came up with are:
- Take out small wastebaskets of trash
- Sweep individual rooms
- Put away books
- Clean up under the kitchen table (certain people of the toddler persuasion like to drop everything under here for some reason- from toys, to workbooks, to napkins and other random things)
- Clear and wipe kitchen table
- Wash one sinkful of dishes (this usually only includes plastic dishes and utensils)
- Fold laundry for ten minutes (my daughter is very interested in helping with this, but usually a whole load can be overwhelming)
- Wipe down bathroom counter
- Put away five toys (If I just say “clean up all your toys”, I’m liable to not see them for a couple hours, because they get distracted or are avoiding this task. Sometimes they surprise me and say, “I didn’t put away five toys, I put away ten toys!”)
- Make your bed
- Check the mail
- Straighten up the couch
Chores are assigned Monday through Friday.
I have noticed many great benefits to having this system in place. The children know they aren’t allowed to use their screen time until the chores are done. This means that the television no longer comes on first thing when they wake up like it used to. I don’t require them to start on them at a specific time, so usually they just start when they realize they want to play on the computer or watch television. Because of this, I frequently discover that my older two children are caught up with some type of creative play, which I personally encourage even if sometimes it means the chores are delayed.
Another great thing is fairly obvious: I don’t have to do all the chores! Our home is (somewhat) tidier more often, and I can see that my little ones feel good about their contribution to the family. They have been learning responsibility, and just this one little change sets a more positive and orderly tone for our day.
Becky is a wife of eight years and stay at home mom to three young children. She aspires to encourage women in Biblical truth on her blog, Happy Christian Home