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Archive for the ‘Chores’ Category

Work and Fun Summer Schedules

June 2nd, 2014 - Category: Chores

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”?

May 6th, 2014 - Category: Chores

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

April 23rd, 2014 - Category: Chores

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

October 1st, 2013 - Category: Chores


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

September 4th, 2013 - Category: 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

January 29th, 2013 - Category: Chores


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.