Archive for the ‘Chores’ Category

Top 4 Spring Time Activities

I love spring!  It seems to inspire everyone to introduce activity into their lives.  We usually start with the spring-cleaning, but let’s be honest, a person can only clean for so long before you just need to have some fun.  But fun typically costs and when you have a big family, you often feel like you’ve been sized out of the fun department.  

parenting ideas for spring

Here are a few family fun outings that won’t break the bank but are sure to bring you some great memories.

  1. Free Family Nights at Your Local Museum.  Most museums (children’s museums included) have one night a month where they offer free admission for families.  Typically they coordinate and spread them out so you could, in theory, hit a different free evening every week.  
  2. Road trip to a historical location nearby.  The costs associated with historical sites are usually low and provides learning and fun all wrapped into one.  Make it a little more interesting by making up stories about the people that lived or worked in these buildings.  Build stories about them as a group.
  3. Camp-out…. In your backyard complete with hotdogs, smores and late night ghost stories.  Some of my best memories from my childhood come from such evenings.  
  4. Explore the great outdoors.  No matter where you live, there is likely someplace to hike – be it desert, mountain or plains.  As a family, research what animals or plants are most prevalent and then have a contest to see who can identify the most items on the list – think part scavenger hunt, part exercise.  

Building memories and spending time as a family doesn’t have to be expensive.  In fact, you may be surprised to know what some of your kids fondest memories are.  We’ve taken our kids on all sorts of great trips – from Europe to Canada to the Caribbean and yet their favorite trip we ever took was doing community service and staying in campsites and cheap hotels.   I suspect this is because we were all fully present in the moment… and isn’t that what it’s really all about?

Spring Time Chores

cleaning with kids

Spring time is a one of the best times of the year to reinforce the habit of doing chores. Even kids can be energized for spring cleaning, and if a chore chart is already being implemented in your household this is the perfect time of year to change it up and add some deep cleaning to your list.

Remember when giving out chores to kids at younger ages to be very specific and have realistic expectations.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Have them go through their toy bins and pick the toys they no longer play with to donate to charity. Give them some sort of visual representation of how many toys they need to get rid of. Tell them that they’re toy bin cannot be overflowing, that (if it has one) the lid must be able to shut all the way.  
  • Follow our guide for emptying out their closets in the funnest way possible one of our last postings.
  • Working along side of your children, especially the younger ones is a great way to model behavior and keep the day fun for both of you.

Now that you have them working be sure to, reward them in new, exciting ways relating to spring!

  • Take up gardening with them as your aid! Make it a tradition to tend the garden after all the chores are done in the house.
  • Expand your family’s taste buds by cooking with your little one a few nights a week after everything’s picked up. Let them pick out dishes to try online or just ask them for a few ideas for dinner.
  • Reward them with a craft of their choice! Teach them the joys of finishing an activity, have them pick one from Zingity and work together to finish it!

Making Chores Fun For Kids Around The House

Having a chore list alone is not a guarantee kids will do them, and I’m not sure I’ve met a child yet that looks at chores with excitement and thrill.  But it doesn’t have to be dread and dragging, you can put some fun back into those daily responsibilities.   Here are a few ways to put the FUN back into household chores.

Make chores around the house fun

Making chores fun, isn’t all that hard!

  1. Make it a competition.  I like kids vs. adults and doing it this way often encourages and incentivizes your kids to work together in order to take you down as the parent.  For example, time who can clean their bathroom and bedroom quicker.  Winner gets to pick a fun family activity for everyone at the conclusion of the competition.  
  2. Crank up the music and dance right alongside them.  Yes, you may feel odd dancing with the vacuum or clean dishes but time will fly by so much faster with the distraction of the music (and your awful dance moves).  Your kids will love the fact that it is likely one of the only times they are given the freedom to let it roar.
  3. Add in creative challenges to mix it up a bit.  For example if there is job is dusting and they are right handed, challenge them to do the dusting by only using their left hand or better yet, have them vacuum on one foot.  Not only will these challenges likely result in a few good laughs, when they decide to go back to “the normal way” it will seem so easy and quick due to their enlightened perspective.  
  4. Build a story around the chore (or have them build the story).  For example rather than simply having them clean their room, build a story around it like this.  Your bedroom is a city and that city has been notified that a citizen has hidden a dangerous device somewhere that if not found within 30 min could potentially harm all its residents.  In order to find this device, you must clear all items from the floor and then uncover the device (which you’ve creatively hidden underneath the pile of dirty laundry).

Chores don’t have to be painful or the source of conflict if you will pause for a second and throw the fun back into it.  Now – go have some fun!

Why You Should Be Paying Your Child An Allowance

Chores for kids

I remember having conversations with some friends when my daughter was young about the importance of allowance.  At the time, I was 100% opposed to the idea of paying my child to do what I believed was her responsibility as a family member.  I mean, who pays their child for cleaning her room and putting away her laundry or feeding the dogs?  

Answer:  Smart Parents!!

Here is what I have since realized (and since corrected).  Paying your child to do work teaches them two very important principles that will carry them through life.

1.  The concept of money.  

My daughter had NO concept of money UNTIL she began earning her own.  Within 30 days we went from shopping off the full-price racks to heading straight to the clearance racks.  Our conversations went from “I want this” to “Is this really $40 cute?  That is two week’s worth of chores!”    In essence, giving her an allowance moved her from the “living off a credit cards” (i.e. the parents) mentality to a “pay as you go” mentality.  

2.  The value and importance of hard work.  

Kids will want to save their hard earned money

Kids will want to save their hard earned money.


Learning that you only get paid when you work has taught her the importance of 1) getting a job and 2) sacrificing “fun time” for earning money.  Both of these are critical to her securing long-term employment and success.  Prior to allowance, it was always a battle to get her to do her chores on the weekend, as she desired to opt for fun time with friends over playtime.  This battle has virtually disappeared with her now telling friends I can’t do anything until my chores are done.



Our job as parents is to prepare our kids to be successful adults.  Being a successful adult ABSOLUTELY requires a strong understanding of money management.  Start your child young so they can learn when the stakes aren’t so high.  Failing to do so will undoubtedly translate into you bailing them out at one point or another.

It’s never too late to start and the freedom and joy that comes as a result will do wonders for your relationship with your children.


Kathryn Prusinski is first and foremost a mom and wife who wants to do her part in building happy and healthy families. When she isn’t spending time with family, Kathryn is working as a consultant in strategy and leadership where she helps executives manage professional and personal success. You can find her every fall cheering on her OU Sooners in football. Kathryn believes it isn’t about abilities but our availabilities — so what are you doing to make yourself available to your family?

It’s Ok For Kids To Do Chores & Have Fun!

This seems obvious to most, but clearly not everyone.  In an article recently posted on Facebook, a mom stated that if your kids are old enough to use a cell phone, they are old enough to run a washing machine (The Better Mom – Facebook).  It goes on to talk about how, as moms we often do too much for our kids and in the process, only inhibiting their ability to become successful adults.  Something I believed was common sense… apparently not.   

children and chores

One reader replied that kids have the rest of their adult life to do chores as adults and we should just let them be kids.  My first thought was, I hope they love their kids because it is highly likely they will be living in their basement for a VERY long time, but instead I took the opportunity to reflect.  

What would make a mom react in this very emotional way?   Changes in curriculum standards, the never-ending testing environment of our schools has in many instances almost fully eliminated age-appropriate play in many schools so I can understand this mom’s desire to just let a kid be a kid.

I propose however that “letting a kid be a kid” should include both play AND responsibility.  I don’t think anyone is proposing that your six year old should be mowing the lawn and trimming the trees, but all kids (even before they are school age) should begin understanding the value of responsibility doing chores.  

Children and Responsibility

Responsibility, like so many others values, isn’t innate … IT MUST TAUGHT!  If you don’t teach it when the stakes are low, they will have to learn the lesson the hard way when they are older.  I’m certain you don’t want your adult child living in filth with a two-week’s supply of dirty dishes in the sink because they were never required to put dirty dishes in the dishwasher or even worse, having their utilities turned off because they bought some cool new technology “toy” rather than paying the electric bill.  

Our goal as parents is to raise healthy, functioning adults.  It is MUCH easier to begin teaching this at an early age than trying to play catch-up at 17.  Let’s re-define what “being a kid” means and start teaching them the fundamentals of responsibility through chores.


Kathryn Prusinski is first and foremost a mom and wife who wants to do her part in building happy and healthy families. When she isn’t spending time with family, Kathryn is working as a consultant in strategy and leadership where she helps executives manage professional and personal success. You can find her every fall cheering on her OU Sooners in football. Kathryn believes it isn’t about abilities but our availabilities — so what are you doing to make yourself available to your family?

What you said about your kids and chores!

We conducted a survey about your kids and their chores with our fans on Facebook and those of you who have joined our email list.  Since, we’ve reached the end the year, we’d like to share our findings with you.  Thanks to everyone who participated!

Kids and Chores

Work and Fun Summer Schedules

summer chores


The school year can be demanding on a family.  Summer is a great break from the regimented schedules and pressures of the school year, but it can also have it’s own set of challenges.

Swim lessons, sport camps, and managing your families “free time” can make your summer miserable if you’re not on top of things.

Being schedule free may be the most appealing part of summer, but for everyone’s sanity, I suggest sticking with the routines and modifying them for summer work and fun.

Modify your own schedule.  The laundry doesn’t go away just because it’s summer.  In fact, household chores may pile up even faster with all the kiddos home all day to help make messes.  Modify your schedule so there is a balance between your chores and spending time with the kids.

Keep the chores.  You may need to juggle or switch up some chores, but don’t get rid of them all together.  Kids may be looking for a “get out of work” card during the summer.  Life does change and so can chores, but teach your kids that the principle of work is an ongoing part of life.

Adjust your kids schedules to accommodate some free time.  Let them be agents of their own fun every now and then.  Turn off the T.V. and let their imaginations soar.

Mark up the calendar.  Put family vacations and bigger play dates or outings on the calendar so kids can have something to look forward to.

Be spontaneous.  Some of my fondest memories came because we jumped in the car at a moments notice.  Go with the flow and look for opportunities to have fun as each day progresses.

Earn $$$ for extra chores.  Give your kids an opportunity to earn a little money and help out around the house by doing extra chores.  These chores are above and beyond their normal chores and usually require a little more work to get done.  Make the reward fitting for the chore.




Is This a “Boy Chore” or a “Girl Chore”?

man doing chores


Gender stereotypes begin the second a baby’s gender is found out. If it’s a girl, you immediately begin decorating the nursery pink with flowers and butterflies.  Her closet is filled with frilly dresses and her toy box is filled with tea sets and dolls.

Stereotyping is no different when it’s a boy on the way. The nursery is decked out in blue and NFL team flags.  His closet is filled with tiny jeans, polo shirts, and boots, and his toys consist of trucks, dinosaurs, action figures, and balls.

A new report shows that parents may be teaching their children gender discrimination by assigning gender stereotypical household chores to their children.

Are you surprised to hear that most parents admit that they do not teach their sons how to wash the dishes or fold laundry? Instead, they teach them to take out the trash and mow the lawn.  And girls are often not expected to wash the car, rather, they are given chores such as preparing dinner, or vacuuming.

You may be thinking this is unfair, but the majority of American households today follow this pattern.

This report from NPR continues by stating that girls also do nearly two more hours of housework each week than boys.  And if that weren’t enough, boys are 10% more likely to be paid for doing their chores than girls are.

Professor Frank Stafford, University of Michigan, states, “One of the contending explanations (for unequal chores among boys and girls) would be sociological, that young girls are more or less, quote, “expected” to do more housework.  And so even without an incentive structure, they do end up performing substantially more housework and chores around the house than boys.”

In the last 30 years, as more and more women enter the workforce, the dynamics between men and women are changing, and the expectations of who completes the household chores when they get home is ever changing as well.

So, is there anything that we can do today to maintain equality on the home front now and in the future?

Assign Chores Fairly

Assigning chores and responsibilities based on gender teaches children that certain types of tasks are only for girls or boys.  Instead, divide chores equally or rotate who is responsible for each chore.

Set a Good Example

Children learn by imitating their parents, so avoid reinforcing gender stereotypes in your household. For example, if children see both parents doing household tasks such as cooking dinner, washing dishes or mowing the lawn, they’ll learn that both genders can perform such tasks. However, if parents divide responsibilities by gender roles or make statements such as “Fixing the car is your dad’s job” kids learn that certain activities are only for males or females.


Chores, Everyone Has To Do Them, So We Might As Well Like Them

Running away


In the family photo album, there is a picture of my oldest daughter “running away”.

She was about 5 years old.  She was wearing pig tails and long johns.  She was running away because she didn’t want to do her cores.

She packed our red, hard sided suitcase with as many clothes as she could stuff in, grabbed her teddy bear, and was off.  But, she only made it as far as the neighbors house, since her suitcase was so heavy.

As a parent, I was amused but also worried, as I watched every strained step.  When I noticed her turn off down the pathway to the neighbors house, I quickly called my neighbor to give her a heads up.  She said she had an idea.

Turns out, as soon as my daughter asked my wise neighbor if she could stay with her, she was given a list of chores to do if she was going to live there, starting with the dishes immediately.

She did the dishes and then asked if she could come home.

Upon arrival at home she informed us that the neighbors had to do chores too!  How about that!  She said if she had to chores, she might as well just live at home and do her chores here.  I told her to start by cleaning up the mess she made in her room when she packed her suitcase.

I’m bringing up this story to make a couple of points.

First, chores, everyone has to do them.  We might as well just get used to it.  The only thing that makes them go away is to do them.  I have to do them, the neighbor has to do them, and their neighbor has to do them too.

And since everyone has to do them, that means that everyone also has to teach their kids how to do them.  Don’t feel like you are alone.  Instead, use friends and other resources for help.  Take a look on our website for many valuable tools in teaching your kids how to do chores.

Second, it’s all about the attitude.  If you ask any one of my 6 kids, they’ll tell you that my wife doesn’t like chocolate.  So, for every gift, corner store purchase, and ice cream order they will pick out the fruity choice for her.

If you talk with my wife, she’ll tell you that she likes chocolate very, very, much.  As much as the next woman.  But she tells herself that she doesn’t like it and she tells everyone else that she doesn’t like it so when a choice comes up, she chooses the fruity one instead.

Her reasoning, fruit is healthier, even if it is on ice cream.

Now if her reasoning is sound, that’s another story, but I like her attitude and how she goes about accomplishing it.

She figured out how to help herself make the hard choice of fruit over chocolate every day.  And I have to tell you, it works.

If she opts for the double chocolate sundae, my kids are all over her and she usually trades with someone before she’s finished.

So, attitude when it comes to chores is everything.  Instead of making laundry your enemy, make it your friend.  Find joy in the clean smell of the sheets, smile at the sparkling sink, and feel peace when you open up the uncluttered closet…and say all these things out loud when you think them so that your kids will feel the same.

Chores, everyone has to do them, so we might as well like doing them.



Speed Cleaning Tips From the Pro’s


Wouldn’t you like to be able to clean your house in half the time or less?

Let’s ask the pro’s how they do it.

One cleaning company can send a team of three into a four bedroom house and have the entire home clean in under 45 minutes.  WOW!

We asked someone who has been cleaning houses for 25 years, Jeremy Pitowski, owner of Clean In A Jiffy, what his secrets were for cleaning a house…fast.

Here are some if his tried-and-true rules.


1.  Only pass over once.  Carry all your tools and supplies with you, or have them within reach, so that you can work your way around the room – once.  No backtracking.  Except for vacuuming or mopping, clean around the room, in one direction, everything in your path, and cut out repeated unnecessary steps in the process.  This one change in your cleaning habits can cut your time by up to 30%.  Hint:  Keep a small bag for garbage with you as well, that way little debris can be quickly eliminated instead of walking back and forth to the garbage can in the kitchen.


2.  Clean from top to bottom.  The premise here…gravity.  Example, Clean the counters before you mop the floor.  Or, as you wipe, crumbs will fall off the counter onto your newly cleaned floor.  Hence, you’ll have to clean the floor twice.


3.  Use the right tools and cleaners.  Yes, just like any other job, housecleaning has it’s own set of tools.  (Not your fingernails!)  And using the right tools is imperative to getting the job done right and fast.


4.  If what you are doing isn’t working, switch to a heavier duty cleaner or tool.  Instead of using more muscle and time to work a stain out of the carpet, up your game with a stronger cleaning solution and see results faster and with less sweat.


5.  If it isn’t dirty, don’t clean it.  Instead of wiping the entire surface of the fridge, quickly wipe away the smudges and finger prints and then move on.  Don’t waste time by wiping the entire surface.


6.  Pay attention.  Be mindful of what you are doing.  Keep track of your time and try to get faster.  Notice unnecessary steps and eliminate them.  Stay on task.  Work smarter – not harder.


7.  Use both hands.  It does sound kind of silly, but the examples are endless.  Spray with one hand while the other wipes, clean with one hand while the other stabilizes an object, scrub with one hand and wipe-up with the other.  Double the work in the same amount of time.


Maybe you can adapt a few of these rules into your cleaning routine and discover on your own how they can bring you more satisfaction as you streamline and become more efficient at your daily chores.


You may be interested in reading this related article as well.  Cleaning From Top to Bottom and Other Cleaning Tips



Things to Avoid When It Comes to Chores

Do your kids face chores kicking and screaming?  Never fear!  There are ways to make chores, well, less of a chore.


Don’t delay.  Kids are never too young to start learning the benefits of chores.   And they are probably more capable than you think.  Sometimes we hold back because we think they need to be ready first.  Well, they have to start somewhere and kids learn by doing.  Make sure that their assigned chores are age appropriate and start today.


Don’t be inconsistent.  If your kids aren’t expected to follow through on their chores regularly then they’ll never get them done.  They will just expect some else to do them for them.  Instead, set timelines and consequences and follow through yourself.  In the beginning they will test the waters to see what they can get away with.  But stick with it and soon it will become easier for all involved.


Don’t require perfection.  No one is perfect and one aspect of doing chores is to learn.  Relax a little and use this as bonding time.  And, no matter how strong the urge is to step in and do it for them…resist it!  Doing (or redoing) their chores undermines the whole point.


Don’t hold back praise.  You don’t have to wait for them to finish their chores to tell them “good job”.  Be your child’s cheerleader from the start.  Shower them with praise and encouragement all along the way.  Build a positive connection between praise and chores.  And if you have one of those kids that thrives on praise, but you find it hard to find something to praise them for, when you do find something, use it over and over.  Tell them all day what a great job they did making their bed.  Tell Dad (in front of them) what a great job they did making their bed when he gets home.  You can even bring it up again weeks later.  Praise what you can, over and over.


And when you feel alone in your quest to have peace and a clean house, remember that you’re not alone.  There are so many of us out there that are having the same challenges you are.  Our goal is to raise responsible, capable children and that happens one chore at a time.

Chores from a Kids Point of View


Are you constantly nagging your kids to finish their chores?  Excuse me, reminding your kids to do their chores?  And then when they do their chores, they are either so slow at it, or so terrible at it, that you wonder why you even try?  Let’s look at chores from a kids point of view to see if we can solve the problem.


Chores are Boring

When was the last time you were excited about folding the laundry, or emptying out the dishwasher?  Even as adults, we can agree that chores are boring.


There Is No Satisfaction in Doing Chores

Even if there is a slight hint of satisfaction at a job well done when the floor is mopped and clean, the idea of having dinner in another hour and food being spilled all over it is quite a damper. Chores never seem to say done.  It always has to be washed again, made again, folded again, put up again, or cleaned again.  Hard to find the satisfaction in that.


There are Other Fun Things To Do

If it’s a choice between video games or riding bikes, your child may ask, “With who?”  But if you give them a choice of dusting the blinds or football at the part, they’re on their way already.  Of course there are things that are more fun than yucky, dirty, chores that their parents make them do.


As much as we would like our kids to do chores for the sake of duty or responsibility, that just isn’t realistic.  Kids do not see the big picture and they don’t have the same moral structure as adults do.  They aren’t going to be able to look at a job, realize that it’s for the good of the family if the house gets vacuumed before lunch, and not only vacuum the living room but the den as well, just because company might come over.

So how do you tip the scales and have them do their chores even though they are boring, repetitive, and there are many thing that they would rather be doing instead?  You pay them!

As adults we don’t like to work for free either.  If you reward your child for doing their chores, you have a much greater chance that the chores will get done.  And not just done, but done well, and in the time frame specified. makes it easy to reward your children for doing their chores.  Each job has appointed points and points can be redeemed as you specify.  Make chores rewarding and you’ll see them getting done.