Chore List by Age

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Our second child was born only 16 months after our first. And I don’t have to tell you that I was stressed. But I will. With two babies I couldn’t get anything done and the dishes and laundry were piling up. I needed some help, somewhere.

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Around this time I was reading a parent magazine (probably in the doctor’s office because that was the only place I had the time or ability to read anything). Anyway, I ran across an article about kid’s chores. My stomach leapt with joy when I read that a 2-year-old could take their dishes to the sink after a meal by themselves. Seriously, I could expect #1 to help out that soon? This was good news. No, this was fantastic news. I had no idea I could expect them to do things this early. I read on. I asked friends. I found out all the things a 2-year-old might be able to help do and I started implementing them.

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I had visions of sitting on the sofa watching HGTV while my 2-year-old cleaned the house and made dinner. Well, it’s not quite like that but it is an important part of learning how to be a part of a family. Here you see #1 feeding #2 some of her water. A little for you – a little for me. Well, now I know she can give the baby a bottle in a pinch. I’ll take it.

So, here is a list of chores by age.

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TIP: I give “promotions” once in a while from one chore to another. The kids love it and it’s fun to see the pride on their faces when they realize they are being given a “higher” responsibility.

Click here for a free printable version of the chores list by age.

Table Talk

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It isn’t hard getting conversations started at our dinner table. In fact we usually have about five going on at the same time – with me alone. But sometimes we need some direction to help us share in one discussion. You know what I mean, the entire family all participating together, listening and only talking when it’s your turn. I was in need of some dialogue tools at my table so I went looking, online of course. I found lots of resources and compiled some of my favorites into little cards that I put in a glass jar and keep in the kitchen for nights when direction is needed. I have also created a printable for you in case you want them too.

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These are conversation starter questions. When you need to reign in the table talk at your house grab one of these and go around the table taking turns answering it.

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Click here to download your table talk free printable.

Laundry Language

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Laundry. The never ending chore. I don’t dislike doing laundry…when I do it. It’s just a pain to stay on top of it. And then when it gets out of control it’s overwhelming. Unfortunately, this is something that can happen very quickly in my house.

With each additional child the laundry grows exponentially and it is not a chore you can consolidate. It’s just one, big, continuous chore. Some people like to do it all in one day, others have a weely schedule. I have tried it all. So here are some ideas that I have found work the best for this family of 7.

1. CREATE A SCHEDULE – And stick to it because if you get behind it’s going to hurt. Here’s mine:
Monday – towels and sheets
Tuesday – towels and sheets
Wednesday – small’s clothes
Thursday – big girl’s clothes
Friday – rags/whites
Saturday/Sunday – husband and I
* This leaves room over the weekend for any extra loads needed. There’s always at least one.
My schedule is posted in the laundry room for all to see. This keeps everyone on the same page and has eleviated many laundry arguments.
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2. GET HELP – I find that the folding and putting away of the laundry is the most time consuming. So I did some active researched on my kids and found out that at the age of 3 they can help put away their own clothes and they can help move it from the washer to the dryer. By 4 or 5 they can help put things on hangers, 6 they can help you fold and 8 they can do a load by themselves. By the time my oldest was 8 she was capable of putting her clothes in the washer, adding the soap and turning it on all by herself as long as the soap was within reach. At this point I have the two oldest do their own laundry on their day.
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3. KEEP IT SEPARATE – In my house each bedroom has it’s own dirty clothes hamper. Each hamper get washed and dried together and taken right back to the room it came from. This eliminates a lot of sorting. The only mixed load I do is the whites. But I find this to be a huge timesaver.
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4. DON’T PUT IT AWAY – As another idea, I have a friend who has two clothes hampers in each room. One for dirty clothes and one for clean clothes. No one ever has to put clothes away, just take them from their dirty clothes hamper, wash them and dump them in the clean clothes hamper. This technique is often used in my sons room. If you kept the two bins in the closet it looks the same as putting it in your dresser. No one knows the difference. And think about it, no folding, no putting away, no hanging. Simple and fast.
5. MAKE IT ENJOYABLE – I like to put on music while I fold, or treat myself to a break when I am done. Also, I enjoy having the kids work with me. It makes the time go faster and it gives us time to talk.
If this is a chore you don’t like to do either, please share your laundry secrets – I would love to hear them.

 

Put an End to the Petty Squabbling in Your Home

I used to get so tired of refereeing arguments over little things. Little tiny things. Like who gets to drink out of the blue cup, who gets to sit by the window, who gets the last strawberry, who gets to wash their hands first.

Who cares?

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So years ago, at the suggestion of a friend, we implemented “choosing day” in our home.

The title is not fancy or terribly clever, I know. It doesn’t roll off your tongue easily, but it is descriptive. And it is the solution to all the daily, silly squabbles my kids used to have.

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Here’s how it works. Each person in our family gets 1 choosing day per week. It works out nicely in our family because there are 7 of us (yes, the husband and I each get one too). But before there were 7 of us the kids each got 2 choosing days per week and we got one.

You can figure it out, just make it work somehow.

I assigned a day of the week to each child so they have the same day every week. This makes it very easy to remember. I even started with the oldest on Sunday and went down in age each day of the week to make it really easy for myself. But you can decide any way you like.

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If you are not home on your choosing day someone else fills in for you, there are no make-ups. You can switch with someone if you pre-arrange it. You can give your’s away if you want to be nice and earn points with siblings. But for the most part if you snooze, you lose. And as a default if something goes wrong and you cannot fulfill your choosing day duties for whatever reason, it’s mommy’s choosing day.

Yes! I get to listen to all my favorite tunes in the car.

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So, in our house on your choosing day, you get to:

Wash your hands for dinner in the sink first
Pick the game
Drink from the coolest cup (ours is the marshmallow cup)
Decide what we will have for breakfast
Pick the book at bedtime
Eat the drumsticks if we have chicken
Say the prayer at dinner time
Choose the music in the car
Break any ties

You get the jist. When there is a fight over something inconsequential, and it’s your choosing day, you win.
Pretty powerful stuff.

Now, there is no fanfare about it, we don’t gloat or parade around when it’s our choosing day nor do we get mad when it isn’t our day to choose. Because your turn’s a commin’ and you don’t want to miss it.

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Just a quick side note. Your choosing day does NOT entitle you to anything you want, like all of the Halloween candy you can eat. It is just a means to settle minor arguments.

Home Tour – The Patio

Our Patio is about to get a makeover. We want to put in a fireplace and new stone. There are some really wonderful aspects to our patio now, however, that I will miss. So here are some pictures of it now and next fall, you can see what we did with the place…DSC_0068 DSC_0005 2 DSC_0022 2 DSC_0020 DSC_0023