I did some actual CARDIO at the gym yesterday (the stairmill) after my shoulders/triceps workout. Crazy, I know, because I’m not usually big on traditional cardio.
While I climbed stairs, I listened to this recent The Mom Hour episode about household chores.
It got me thinking about a couple of things:
#1- It would be interesting to track my own “household duties” for a week, as they did. (Just jot down every time you do a household chore, see what it adds up to.)
#2- I wonder if any man on the planet would enjoy listening to this episode. Hahaha. I think my husband would rather listen to almost anything other than two people systematically going through their week, talking about how they did dishes and laundry one day, and shook out an area rug the next. Like, I don’t think he’d listen to that if they paid him. 😆
#3- Maybe they just didn’t fully cover this in the episode, but it seemed like perhaps their kids’ loads were a little light? (in my opinion) Neither has super young kids. Some of the tasks they repeatedly mentioned seemed very appropriate to start delegating. (Not trying to be judgey- this is different for every family/ household. Just something that crossed my mind as I listened.)
Here’s our current breakdown of “chores” for the kids.
*We’ve had this exact same chore regimen for the past 3 years or so, since the boys were ~9-10 years old, at least. Probably even younger, honestly. It’s been a looooong time with not many changes to this routine around here. They are currently 12 and 13, though, for reference.
- Make bed every morning/ straighten rooms
- Music practice at least 20-30 minutes (*Not really enforcing for Asher now that he quit piano! But Ethan does piano still. We can be lax on “strictly” enforcing this, at times, though, depending on what’s going on. It varies.)
- Clear their plates after eating/ load into dishwasher (or wash their own dishes, if dishwasher is full of clean dishes).
- They are supposed to help clean up their bathroom each morning and night (wipe sink, etc.), but this one doesn’t always happen as it should….
Weekly: (By end of day Saturday. Sometimes we extend to Sunday)
- “Deep” clean their rooms (straighten, dust, vacuum, empty garbage).
Then we have some other main weekly chores that they alternate, on a monthly basis. So, one kid does “Set A” every week for a whole month and the other does “Set B”, then they swap the next month.
- Clean downstairs bathroom (*every other week). A full clean. Toilet, bathtub, floor, sink, etc.
- Straighten our “jackets and shoes” area at the front door. (We do not have a mudroom. Instead, we have a coat hook rack by the door where they hang jackets and backpacks. So, this chore involves removing extra hoodies that accumulate and putting them away in rooms, putting any extra shoes left out on the mat AWAY in the closet, checking sports backpacks for stuff that needs to get tossed, etc.)
- Take out the garbage and recycling on Wednesday night. (Involves going around the house and gathering all garbage from smaller bins, replacing bags, taking bag out to big bin, rolling bins to the curb.)
- Clean the upstairs bathroom (the boys’ main bathroom)- *every other week
- Clean out the van. (Declutter, wipe down surfaces, shake out or rinse floor mats, vacuum the van out with our shop vac.)
The van is a bit larger job, so that one balances out the relatively easier jackets/shoes + garbage chore. (In the winter, the van job tends to slide off a bit, honestly. But this is “the plan”.)
This is it for their “scheduled” chores.
They also unload the dishwasher whenever I ask them to, and they each put away their clean laundry. (Ivan does all the laundry. We’ve toyed with having the boys do their own, but we feel it is more efficient to combine our laundry at this point vs. having them run multiple separate small loads just for their stuff. Ivan is also super particular about how his laundry is done. And that is why he does it himself!!! I have rarely washed a load of clothes OR folded any in….probably the 15 years we’ve been married.)
*I do wash the towels and sheets and any cleaning rags. I will enlist the boys to strip their own beds and throw those in and re-make beds, as needed. No real schedule there.
Oh! And the boys have also taken over cutting the grass for Ivan. The boys have been alternating turns. We got a nice new mower last year which makes it a breeze. It takes ~1 hour or a little less to mow our yard. Asher still likes to complain though. They help with other yardwork “as requested”. Always cheerfully. 😉
I wish I could say they always do ALL of these things, with no prodding or reminders. But that’s not true. They also complete these to varying levels of satisfaction, in my opinion. Sometimes they “half-@$$” them. 😑And then we have to discuss workmanship/ quality and have them re-do certain things….. It’s a process.
But, hopefully they are learning something. If nothing else, I rarely ever have to take out the garbage OR clean bathrooms!! (We have 3 baths- the boys cover two, and Ivan always cleans the master bath. Before you think I’m some kind of lady of leisure, know that I still do PLENTY of other stuff, trust me. Maybe that’s another post.)
Last note: We do “pay them” to do these chores, kind of. It’s more of just an allowance, loosely tied to an expectation that they help around the house. Allowances can be controversial, but we are fans of them. Our boys have had an allowance since they were little, so they can start learning to manage their own money early on.
We have a direct auto transfer of $5 per week from our checking account to each of their own Capital One Money debit card accounts. (So they get about $20/month from us, total. We haven’t changed this in a long time. It may need to be looked at soon, as they get older/ start teen jobs/ start paying for more of their own things…we’ll see.)
They each have their own debit card and have for…at least 3 years now? It is SO MUCH EASIER than paying them in cash. And, it makes 100% more sense. Because inevitably, if we happen to be out somewhere and they want to buy something, their cash is at home in their drawer, not out with us. But I keep their debit cards in my wallet! So they are always with me and always handy. 😉 No excuses, no “I’ll pay you back”, etc. I just pull out their card and they are good to go. (We can keep eye on balances together in the app.)
The rule is supposed to be that if they miss a chore, it’s a $1 deduction per chore (I can easily just transfer $1 (or more) back from their account to mine on the Capital One app). But in reality, we don’t often deduct unless we have an extreme grievance with their work. 😉 I LOVE being able to transfer money back and forth from them though- say, if we buy something they want online and agree that they’ll pay half…. We can just transfer the $20 or whatever quickly in the app from them to us. Highly recommend getting your kids their own debit cards!!
What chores do your kids do? Do they get an allowance? This seems to work pretty well for us, overall, but I’m always open to new ideas!
I am grateful for Ethan having had a really fun time at my parents’ house. He’s home and was OFF TO WORK today by 8 am!! First day on the job.