As it turns out, chores are an interesting subject. I’ve had lots of interest on how chores look for us so I thought I would share a little more about how we tackle that.
Let me start by saying my primary objective in teaching and training my boys at home is to teach them to be disciples of Christ, to daily share the Gospel with them (as I need it daily as well) and to instill a love and consideration for others. It is a never ending conversation about the privilege we have to own and care for a home and beautiful things. This conversation usually highlights that all our things belong to God and we want to use them for His glory. We talk about how doing such a large job as taking care of your home is better when we work together. So each one of us has jobs we can do.
A major part of this conversation, and my parenting in general, is that we have a need. Our greatest need is for Jesus. We need salvation first and foremost, and that is true for all of us, everyday. I try to use opportunities to teach my children that this truth starts with me. Mommy needs Jesus, Mommy needs help. So I continue with my confession.
Prepared to be shocked. I am lazy. My heart desires to do nothing sometimes. There are times I would much rather serve myself in laziness than serve my family by doing things such as clean the bottomless pit of laundry. So when we talk about chores, I sometimes start by reminding the boys that I too struggle to work. That I need to ask and pray for help to serve my family and others well. I encourage them with what encourages me, the Word. My favorite chore verse is Colossians 3:23 “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men”. Even doing the dishes can bring God glory. This is what I tell myself as I scour the urine soaked toilet in the boys bathroom.
That being said. I’ve tried several approaches to help the boys work independently to do their designated chores. We’ve made chore charts with stickers, printed picture reminders, and other visuals. None of them worked well for us. Also, there are lots of guides out there that outline age appropriate chores such as this and this is my favorite chore list.
The big boys help with putting away their clean laundry and bringing down the dirty, clearing their places from the table and unloading a clean dishwasher, take out the trash, bring full bags to the compost, care for their bathroom and bedroom, feed and water the cat, unload groceries from the car and all the other basic chores such as picking up toys, dirty clothes, trash and so on. I’m still working on the two year old but needles to say, there are BIGGER issues we’re addressing with him!
Sometimes extra chores are a reward. By extra I mean things like cleaning the windows, cleaning out the car, cleaning the toilets and wiping counters, etc. So they would get an allowance or extra game time from some of these items. We usually employ this method when there’s something they’re really interested in having or doing. This way they learn to work for the things they want.
Sometimes, I use chores as punishment. My good friend, Joelyn, does this well. When we have complaining hearts, bad attitudes, quarreling or the loathsome “I’m bored”, chores come into play. In this case, I employ that raging energy for something useful. So you have nothing better to do than fight, okay, let’s clean the baseboards. Really? You are going to tell me you’re bored? Let me find something for you to do, why don’t you go pull some weeds. There’s nothing you can think of that you’re grateful for? Alright, let’s clean under the sofa and under the cushions. It helps, trust me!
That’s a little peek at our chore life. I’d love to hear how chores work in your house! How do you tackle the task of training your children to care for their home?
"You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up."