12 June 2015

Summertime Chores

Every single summer I wonder how we're going to keep from going crazy being home together all day, yet we manage to do it.  I have these idealistic expectations that we are going to sit around, making things together, playing games, and spending hours at the beach and pool without any arguments and button pushing.  It never seems to play out that way.
I'm the kind of person who likes to be home.  I like to have projects to do and to get things done around the house.  Many of my kids are that way, but that doesn't mean there isn't contention and messes while we do it.  Growing up, we had "hour jobs" during the summer.  Sometimes they would be outside (usually doled out by my dad), sometimes they would be in the house (I preferred these ones: less sweat and dirt).  We've carried on the tradition, much to the dismay of my six little Dills, but they are also learning how to work and to Get.  Things.  Done.
They have to be out of bed by 8 and breakfast ends at 9, so the kitchen isn't a mess all morning long. I wanted more structure than just one job per day (this is in addition to their kitchen jobs).  So, on day one, I told them they were expected to do several things each day: 1-hour job, 1/2 hour exercise, 1/2 hour training Scout (did you know we got a dog?!), 1/2 hour reading scriptures.  They are required to do an hour job for 4 of the days and the fifth day they make lunch, which includes planning what they want to make, and letting me know so I can buy the ingredients.  We did this last year and I got tired of eating macaroni and cheese every lunch, so I told them they couldn't repeat any meals this summer.  We will see what that entails. ;)
I also made a chart this year so we can keep track of who has done what.  I trust them to be honest when putting stickers on, but they also help each other stay honest. ;)

Ideas for hour jobs:

Younger Kids

  • Clean front of cupboards
  • Wipe down doorknobs and light switch plates
  • Scrub baseboards
  • Scrub grout
  • Tidy toys
  • Weed
Older Kids

  • Clean out fridge
  • Organize cupboards and closets
  • Touch-up paint 
  • Sweep/mop rooms
  • Do laundry
  • Clean out garage
  • Vacuum/clean car
  • Wash windows
If they don't complain all week about their assigned chore, I let them choose what they want to do for their last hour job of the week.  They will usually get everything completed in the morning and have the rest of the day to do whatever they like.
On Friday, once they've completed their hour job, we go to the library, out to lunch (for those with their stickers filled up), and to the pool or beach.  Sometimes we get a movie for those post-swim cuddle times, too.  After lunch we have one hour of "quiet time".  I let them take turns spending their quiet time with me so they have some undivided attention from me, even if it's just one hour.  I told my mom that I though, if I can get them to do all this, I wonder what else I should put on that chart! ;)

Recently, Divine and Pearl went with their church leader to help clean the house of a woman who had lost her husband.  I received this text from their leader: I love, love, love your girls.  To the moon and back.  Seriously.  Pearl and I were in the presence of the dirtiest bathtub I've ever seen--I gasped when I pulled back the curtain! Pearl's first response to my gasp was to ask if I was okay! Anyway, she looked at the tub and matter-of-factly said she had Lemi Shine at home that could clean it.  It wasn't strong enough, but she just assessed the situation in search of a solution.  No judgment.  It was very impressive!  They worked hard and did a good job.  It was more fun because we did it together.  Just thought you should know.

Every once in a while you get a glimpse of doing something right as a mother and you think, okay, I can do another day of this parenting thing. What do you do for summertime chores?


  1. You're the best. Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. Sounds like some future sister missionaries right there...one of my sisters was called stateside and she spent a lot of time helping people clean scary houses. While she was out we moved and she told me to ask the sisters here to help clean our last apartment (which was by no means very dirty) and you could tell right away who was taught how to clean and who wasn't....not to scare your girls out of missions, my mission didn't entail much cleaning.😉

  3. Thanks for these tips...my boys are a tiny bit young yet, but I will save for later. I need lots of tips on home organization of time (since I plan to homeschool) and I'm a big fan of raising kids to do chores and help around the house!

  4. Thanks for sharing this with us! I have a couple of questions (in preparation for when my children are older, they're still little now) -
    What do you do whilst they do their chores? Do you supervise, help or sneak away for quiet time?
    How often do they not complete everything for the week? Does it tend to be the same ones? Do they learn? My 3 year old is currently testing every single boundary that I set...

    1. I'm always around to keep an eye on things. For quiet time, I rotate through the kids, spending time with each one. The chart really helps keep track, a visual reminder to get their tasks done.

  5. I think a schedule like your's is in our future. I think it will really help us!

  6. Who cleans the bathrooms, vacuums, dusts, etc.? I like the idea of "hour jobs" but I don't see where you have your girls do the weekly chores. Do you do them? I rotate my boys through the weekly chores and that keeps us busy, so I don't have a lot of time for "extras". Maybe when I have more of them old enough.

    1. This doesn't include their kitchen jobs where they rotate through doing dishes, wiping, sweeping, clearing and napkins. It also doesn't include their weekend jobs which include bathrooms, etc.

  7. Since a few weeks I' m thinking about a summer day routine including chores, working in vacation activity books, when they are allowed tv/ipad, quality time with me and also the moments they have to entertain themselves so I can do my own tasks.
    I had a few ideas in mind but your chart looks great, think I' ll use it to match my ideas.
    My girls are 7 and 3, and so far they are capable of doing small daily tasks on their own but for other things they keep on asking me for instructions every 5 seconds.


Be a lamb & tell me what's on your mind.