Summer Chores

Wow! What an oxymoron! When summer is all about relaxing and fun in my book, it is difficult for me to think, say, and type something like “chores” in a sentence with summer. But challenging my children is also a part of our plan most summers. And this summer is no different.

This week we start all of our summer goals, etc. Part of the goals is stepping up the chores. You should know that as a general rule I have hugely cheated my kids on the whole chore front. I know that I know that I know that I should require chores to build a good work ethic and let them be a team player and to gain the skill of actually completing the jobs. I don’t want to have a few young wives hacked off at me for presenting them with a couple of young men who can’t do squat to help her around the house. But I have really done a poor job at it over the years — partly because it’s just easier to do it myself than to train them to do it and because I really do value the time that my kids spend as kids and don’t want to spend much time doing grown up things like work. (I know, I know … it’s not doing them any favors!!)

All of that to say that most of you will probably not be impressed with the chores I plan to pass on this summer to my 3 kids.

In the past, the boys have regularly taken out the trash in the kitchen and other rooms of the house, taken out the recycling, “cleaned” their bathroom, put away their clothes, and Elliot has emptied the dishwasher. In the last couple of weeks, Elliot has started cooking simple meals: Ramen noodles and Kraft Mac ‘n Cheese; and Zippy has started learning to unload the dishwasher. Chloe hasn’t done much except the occasional dusting, wiping the table, or “helping” with the dishes, in addition to helping (ever so minutely) with cleaning her room.

Not too impressive, eh?

So. Here’s the tentative plan for the summer. And I say “tentative” only because I don’t know how it will go and if my plan is too lofty or too measly so it needs to be flexible.

Elliot will learn to cook more things and be involved in meal planning. He will learn to do his own laundry (and maybe the towels, too). He will continue to clean the bathroom and hopefully learn to do it a little more thoroughly. Taking care of the birds — maybe without being told!!– is also on his list.

Zippy’s chore list will consist of learning to clean the bathroom more thoroughly and empty the dishwasher more accurately. (I cracked up the first time I asked him to empty the dishwasher a week or so ago. I returned to the kitchen to find the entire dishwasher’s contents in stacks on the counter right above the dishwasher. He was genuinely confused as to how he hadn’t done it correctly — “I emptied the dishwasher!”) He will also fold his own laundry (not sure this one is doable ….) and vacuum the main areas of the house.

Chloe will learn to set the table for dinner (using plastic plates and cups for the process). She will also wipe the table after dinner. The wiping of the table will be part of the incentive for her to stay at the table with us during dinner — if she stays in there, then she won’t have to walk all the way back in there! She will also do some of the trash duty; the plan will be for her to carry some of the smaller trashes from other rooms and dump it in the kitchen trash.

And that really covers it thus far for chores. Thoughts? Again, I welcome any feedback on chore ideas and plans for carry through, etc. I’ll let you know how it’s going.

But for now … I’ve got chores to do!

photo credit:  and

UPDATED!!! I must include an update since I’m in a bit of shock and total excitement! Elliot didn’t even know I had made lists or that I was thinking of making lists. I was going to have a little meeting this morning and announce it all. I made the lists and printed them off yesterday and even hung them on the fridge in anticipation of changes and announcements today. Well, guess what my firstborn did?? Before even having a conversation with me, he noticed the lists and took care of the birds. AND he looked for the supplies to clean the bathroom but couldn’t find them! Hallelujah! Maybe we’ll be successful!!


8 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Melissa Coco on June 10, 2013 at 10:32 PM

    woohoo! Love that initiative


  2. Posted by Melissa Coco on June 10, 2013 at 10:33 PM

    I just told my kids a few minutes ago= yes we are getting in bed late aren’t we– that I really don’t like having to say “please ignore the mess” alot lately when people come over- we are changing that starting tomorrow- back to our family do’s – which look so good in theory but don’t always make it from theory to practice:) haha


  3. Posted by tracylcarpenter on June 11, 2013 at 6:46 AM

    Your AMAZING! Your so on target. Hannah text me regularly To thank me because she will come home to a clean house or that he does his share often more than her. He does laundry and has taught her how to load dishes in dishwasher . Her mom didn’t care to much for the clean house . It drove Jp crazy while they dated. Good job love! “E” is the coolest cat ever! His Peace John 14:27


  4. Posted by pmastin on June 11, 2013 at 9:45 AM

    “A few young wives. . . .” Haha.


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