In the olden days, people used to have big families because they needed help to run the farm or the family business. And while we may have five kids, five boys in fact, those reasons don’t really apply to us. We have a big family, but only because we love kids and all of the fun and memories and love that comes with lots of siblings and kiddos and eventually grand kids.
One thing I don’t love though is the messes and the clutter that a big families creates. There are so many more dishes and laundry piles and smears and piles. Especially right now when all of our kids are under 10. So while our boys may not be out working the fields, I do still need them to help me keep our house and yard and surroundings clean and cared for. I’ve had some questions about what chores and jobs I have our boys do so today I’m sharing what works for us. We aren’t super rigid or consistent or strict, but all of the boys are willing helpers and they do a good job.
Our boys are 8, 7, 5, 2 and 2 months. This is quite an age range and obviously they all have different ability levels. Some are great at cleaning up after themselves, others are great at making everyone else clean up after them!
When the two oldest boys were a little younger I created a chart for them like you see below. They each had a list of things to do in the morning and the evening and for Kesler who couldn’t read yet (he was five) I drew some simple illustrations. We hung these in their room and in clear sleeves and they used a dry erase marker to check things off daily.
I don’t have something drawn up like this now, but they do still have similar requirements. And Knox has started to be included doing jobs too. I think I’ve found that between 4 and 5 is a good time to start requiring help although you can certainly ask for it earlier.
Right now during the week everyday before school the boys (mostly the two oldest right now) are required to make their beds, take care of their PJ’s and clean up the floor in their room. They also usually empty half of the dishwasher. When they get home they know that aside from putting away their backpacks and shoes and such, they also have 3-4 jobs. They often want time on the computer or the iPad and so before they get any time they have to do the things I need help with. Every day it’s different so I will assign things based on what is left to do that day. Below are lists of ideas that I might pull a job from.
Pick up his own room
Put away Baker’s clothes pile
On Saturdays the boys get a longer list. I will usually write out something like you see below and they work to check it off. When they finish sometimes we’ll go get doughnuts or do something else to celebrate. I try to make sure there are super easy and obvious items on there like eat breakfast and get dressed as well as harder things. Once their list is done they have free time or can talk to me about electronics.
I’m hopeful that if our boys learn to do chores at home now that it will help them in the future. These are life skills that will help them learn to work, learn responsibility, and enable them to be equal partners in their future homes someday.