By Jessica Van Roekel, Crosswalk.com
I stood in the doorway and sighed. Plastic farm animals and errant socks for little humans and dolls lay everywhere. In order to make it across the living room I would need to keep a weather eye out for sharp-edged toys under my feet.
And no, this wasn’t the result of days of clutter, but the result of one day with four kids under the age of eight.
The toy box exploded on a regular basis. Laundry multiplied faster than the dust bunnies under my bed. And four tiny humans needed so much from me.
I knew I needed help. I needed a daily chore chart. But how? Raising children involves more than caring for their physical needs. It means teaching them kindness towards others, a tenderness towards the Lord, and how to be responsible.
In Genesis 1:26, we read that God made man in his image and gave him responsibilities. The Lord presents work in a positive light. Adam and Eve needed to have something to do.
In the New Testament we read Ephesians 2:10 and marvel. God created us for good works that he prepared in advance for us to do. Work is a holy offering to the Lord. Using daily chore charts in our homes is one way to teach our kids this truth.
Why Kids Benefit from a Daily Chore Chart
Child development experts praise the benefits of giving chores to kids. They learn responsibility, self-reliance, and develop a strong work ethic. Age-appropriate chores makes kids feel like an important contributor to the family.
I loved seeing my little ones beam with pride when they picked up the toy room “all by themselves.”
From a biblical perspective, kids benefit from chores too. They learn how to put others’ needs before themselves, to serve and love one another, and how to work together towards a common goal.
It reminds me of Ephesians 4:16 when Paul paints a picture of how the whole church gets built up when each person does their part. Families benefit from daily chore charts with each one doing their part too.
There are several things to consider when planning a daily chore chart. We need to decide on age-appropriate chores. Then we need to address what we want to be chores or family responsibilities. The final steps lead us to determine standards, chore priority, and completion deadlines.
Here are 5 considerations.
1. Make Sure They Are Age-Appropriate Chores
We can do a quick google search for age-appropriate chores starting as young as two years of age. These sites give short lists that grow more detailed as our children grow. The thing to remember is that these sites are guidelines and not hard and fast rules.
How each family implements daily chore charts should vary based on family needs and children’s unique abilities. Motor skills develop at different times along with emotional maturity. Not all four-year-olds reach the same milestones at exactly the same time.
We need to keep this in consideration as we plan our daily chore charts.
2. Decide between Chores and Responsibilities.
My husband and I decided what would be daily chores versus responsibilities. We wanted our kids to know that sometimes they have to do things simply because they’re part of our family.
These included things like picking up their rooms, clearing their dishes from the table, and personal hygiene. We decided chores would be jobs that involved spaces and areas that the whole family used.
These included things like cleaning the bathroom, doing the dishes, and sweeping the floors. Daily responsibilities and chores can be different from family to family.
3. Define Your Standards.
When setting up a daily chore chart, it’s important that we teach our kids how to complete each chore. For example, we can model how to clean the bathroom sink and faucet. Then we have our children clean while we supervise.
Once our children know what we mean by “clean the sink” we then begin “chore checks” where we check the completed job to see if it’s cleaned to the expected standard.
This helps ensure that everyone puts in the same amount of effort to get the jobs done on the daily chore chart.
4. Determine Chore Priorities
When I had little ones, my sliding glass doors were always covered in sticky fingerprints. So, I added “clean the glass” to the daily chore chart. My kids loved spraying the glass with foam glass cleaner and wiping it down.
Crumbs seemed to cover my kitchen floor all day every day, but my young elementary school age children found sweeping challenging.
I solved this by buying an inexpensive stick vacuum for them to use. Daily chore charts work best when we customize them to our household needs.
5. Determine the Completion Date
To have less frustration, aka nagging, it’s helpful to have a deadline for chore completion. Is it by supper time, right after school, or right before bedtime? Maybe it would work to have a fifteen-minute chore dash where doing jobs on the daily chore chart becomes a race against the timer.
Will we want to have chore-free days? Or chores every day? Flexibility within each families’ schedule is important.
Types of Daily Chore Charts
One of the easiest ways to get started using a daily chore chart is to buy one. These usually come with stickers and all kinds of options for chores.
Kids can have fun adding the stickers to the chart or moving the magnets if it’s a magnetic chore chart. I purchased several types for my young family over the years but found the greatest success in one customized as my kids grew and how life ebbed and flowed.
Another option for daily chore charts is a homemade one based on our individual families’ needs. It can be as simple as a piece of paper with our kids’ names and their chores listed. This can grow and change as our kids do.
If a family has multiple children, the charts can rotate each week with different chores assigned to different kids.
Another daily chore chart option is to list chores on popsicle sticks and every day each child picks a certain number based on their age. The younger the child the fewer the chore sticks and the older the child the more they choose. This is a fun and creative way to have a daily chore chart.
Similar to the popsicle sticks is to have a daily chore chart in the form of notecards. Each age group has their own set of age-appropriate chores written down and each day they select cards based on their capabilities.
This can be a flexible way to ensure that the older kids don’t get the super easy chores while the little ones grow frustrated trying to do a chore beyond their capabilities.
Enjoy the Freedom to Customize Daily Chore Charts
The important thing to remember is that each family can customize a daily chore chart to suit their season in life with what’s important to them.
One family might decide that having a completely clean kitchen each night helps the next morning go smoother. Another family might decide having the family room spic and span is most important. Both are right.
The purpose of daily chore charts is to provide opportunities for our kids to learn responsibility and how to work together. What gets put on the charts can be as unique as individual families.
Some families will have ten different jobs on their daily chore chart and some families will have two jobs. It’s okay.
The important thing is to implement a daily chore chart that fits into each family’s unique set of circumstances. Some years are busier than others and it’s okay to have less jobs.
Daily chore charts should serve a family, not the other way around. Families win when they work together, growing and learning a strong work ethic that will pave the way for future success.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/fizkes
Jessica Van Roekel is a worship leader, speaker, and writer who writes at www.welcomegrace.com sharing hope-filled inspiration addressing internal hurts in the light of God’s transforming grace. She believes that through Christ our personal histories don’t have to define our present or determine our future. Jessica lives in rural Iowa with her husband and family. You can connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.