Laundry Day

For the first time in six years, I am not shopping in the baby clothes section anymore. Claire is well out of 18-24 month clothes, and Harper has grown out of toddler sizes all together! It’s been a sort of depressing milestone, for someone who has a slight obsession with baby clothes, but then, something magical happened. MY KIDS STARTED DOING THE LAUNDRY. And they think it is the best thing in the entire world.

So today we are talking about something probably as controversial as politics & breastfeeding, and that is the super exciting topic of chores or responsibilities for kids. What do your kids do? Do they help out around the house, do you give them allowance or stickers, or do you just let them be kids? Growing up, I had a solid list of chores, which included doing dishes for a family of seven every single night after dinner, and my parents were proud to offer me an allowance of… a roof over my head & food on my plate. πŸ˜‰ Love you, mom & dad. Our kids beg to help with everything & after seeing their crazy excitement with their star charts in preschool last year, we decided to implement something similar as Summer comes to an end. So the girls responsibilities look a little something like this:

On Sundays, we do laundry. The girls pull clothes from the dryer, bring them to the dining room table (usually Eloise & Harper pull Claire in the actual laundry basket along with the clothes, but still), they sort them by who they belong to, Harper folds all of the girls clothes & Eloise puts all of the dresses on hangers. They are seriously good at it too, it honestly took only a few times of us showing them and they are so proud of their work!! Then we come help tell them what goes where, the two of them take small individual piles of clothes upstairs and put them in the correct drawers, and Harper hangs everything in her closet. Claire is in charge of putting towels in the linen closet & kitchen drawers, and putting the basket back in the laundry room when everything is done. They declare laundry as the best job ever, and I am going to ride this train for as long as humanly possible.

On Thursdays, we clean the playroom. Our rule is that all of the toys have to go back to the playroom or their bedrooms at the end of every night, no toys left in the living room or kitchen, etc. but we only clean the playroom once a week. We make it fun by putting them each in charge of one thing, Claire finds all of the play food for the kitchen, Harper finds all of the puzzle pieces & folds blankets, and Eloise puts all nine hundred baby dolls/clothes/accessories back into baskets. It’s easier to give them each their own task so they know where to focus. We put on a 15 minute playlist and tell them when the songs end, we don’t have to clean anymore, this helps to motivate them and give them a stopping point. Plus makes it way more fun! πŸ˜‰

Everyday tasks include the girls helping to unload the dishwasher (they’re super obsessed with this too, every time they hear me open it they run in and ask if they can put stuff away), I just take all of the glass & sharp stuff out first. Harper brings over all of the plates from the table after dinner, Eloise uses the small handheld vacuum to help me clean up the floor mess (which usually also includes four hundred shreds of paper from before dinner) and Claire is in charge of bringing everyone’s milks to them before bed.

We got a notebook & some star stickers and plan to put together something little to help them keep track of things to earn their stars, which will earn them little trips to the treasure box they built over the summer in the garage. Will keep you updated on how it goes! πŸ˜‰ So I would love to hear how you guys tackle responsibility with your little ones, or better yet, what did you do when you were little?!

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32 Comments

  • Reply
    Danielle
    August 1, 2017 at 7:57 pm

    My kids get allowance by age. So my 5 year old CAN earn up to $5 a week. He has regular chores he has to help with anyway-general cleaning of toys, bedroom, etc, but if he wants to earn money, he does extra chores at 50 cents each (wiping down our white cabinets, floor boards, bathroom counters, sweeping, etc) and can do up to $5 for the week. Then he puts 20 percent and puts it into savings (for college), 10 percent he donates, and the rest he can spend. This has helped cut down on begging for toys at the store bc he knows if he has the money, he can get it. If not, we take a picture of it with my phone and he can keep saving. We’ve been doing this solidly for a few years now and it has been easy to maintain and worked wonders for our family. πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    natasha
    August 1, 2017 at 9:47 pm

    We so do not do this, but we really should! Love that the girls love to help so much! I’m such an OCD “B” that I haven’t trusted the boys to handle dishes, etc, but I know I need to soon! Love these ideas mama!! xo

  • Reply
    Keira
    August 1, 2017 at 11:32 pm

    I missed the name of your friend who designs the blanket in the photo! I cannot stop thinking about it!!

  • Reply
    Sarah
    August 2, 2017 at 2:11 am

    My three girls are about the same ages as yours, except my youngest is 9 months so she’s out of chores haha πŸ™‚ My oldest is 5 and middle one is almost 4. My middle one LOVES to clean – she cleans her room every day, helps with laundry and dishes, Swiffers the floor, cleans the stair railings, etc. My older one loves a clean room, so she’s good about keeping her own space picked up. Outside of that, she prefers to avoid cleaning haha. We don’t have any set chores for them other than keeping rooms clean and all toys belong upstairs before we leave the house, but we do have a sticker chart. Randomly I’ll have them do chores to earn a sticker and they, of course, do chores faster than I’ve ever seen with a smile on their face. Oh how easily the reward system works for little ones haha!

    Love your chores and the idea of giving each girl a task when cleaning the playroom!! Hope you are enjoying the remainder of your summer!!

    -Sarah http://www.thefrugalmillionaireblog.com

  • Reply
    Kelly
    August 2, 2017 at 4:05 am

    How are you girls clothes hung in their closet? My girls can’t reach their dresses too well so can’t hang their clothes themselves and usually break the hangers trying to get them down

  • Reply
    Celeste
    August 2, 2017 at 4:29 am

    When I was little I had no chores except to occasionally pick up my room when my mom couldn’t stand it anymore. Then when I moved into my own apartment I didn’t know how to take care of myself. I didn’t know how to wash clothes, couldn’t understand why I scrubbed the toilet and it still smelled (you scrub UNDER the rim- ahhh, no wonder).
    I had to go down to the library and check out a cleaning manual. Seriously.
    So I think I am doing my kids a favor by giving them chores. I don’t want them to struggle like I did, trying to learn as an adult, too embarrassed to ask anyone to teach me, you know?

    • Reply
      Liz
      August 2, 2017 at 9:21 am

      Oh my goodness me too! I’m a 28 year old SAHM with 2 kids and I’m still figuring out this domestic stuff. My boyfriend has questioned my methods and it makes me feel bad about myself because no one taught me how to do anything. I had no responsibilities as a kid so running a household was like being in a foreign country at first! I’m still figuring it out… May God guide us both. I feel you <3

  • Reply
    Kristin
    August 2, 2017 at 4:39 am

    Love this! My girls are 3 and 5 and I’ve been working on teaching them to help around the house too but often I just do the work because I can get it done faster. When me and my brother were little, we had a chore chart. My mom would make a new one each week and mix it up. Each day we had a chore to do but we could trade our chores with each other if we agreed to. I intend to do the same when my girls are a little older but until then, I think I just need to remember to take the time and teach my girls to help out more and make it fun like you are doing! Thanks!

  • Reply
    Blair
    August 2, 2017 at 4:47 am

    This I love. Our girls are in charge of making their own bed, picking up all the toys out of the living room and kitchen and assisting with the playroom pick up (however that needs to be more scheduled, currently its when I get annoyed with it). The oldest sets the table and the youngest brings drinks to everyone. I need to have them help pick-up after dinner. The two oldest also feed and water the dogs and water all of the plants. Now to get the baby to assist more πŸ˜‰

  • Reply
    Jenna
    August 2, 2017 at 6:15 am

    Do you think there will be any more baby Garvin’s, or are you done having kids? Im also curious what you do with your kids clothes when they grow out of them. Do you donate them, save them, sell them ect.

  • Reply
    Christine
    August 2, 2017 at 6:25 am

    My son turned three a few months ago and he now has “jobs,” too, similar to some of your girls’s ones. Right now he doesn’t have any sort of incentive, except lots of praise, but I wonder what we will do in the future. My husband’s family didn’t do an allowance, but mine did (it was so small; it never went over $5 I think) and I think it was such a great way to learn to manage money. I was constantly saving for new toys or books and to this day I am a HUGE saver. So we’ll see, but I think in a few years there may be some sort of system in place like that.

  • Reply
    Jenn Meyers
    August 2, 2017 at 6:31 am

    Love this topic! I think we are too vague with our kids telling them to go clean the playroom or their rooms, giving them more direction or specific tasks would probably be so much more effective! How have I never thought of asking them to take their own clothes upstairs? That is the worst part, I can do all the laundry but for some reason it stops there, I hate putting things away! I love your approach to motherhood, so grateful that you share with us!

  • Reply
    Meredith
    August 2, 2017 at 6:57 am

    I so need to do this, Millie is not good at using her chore chart, she’s like “yeah whatever, Mom, you do it”. Ugh Great ideas and I’m totally going to try and work on these with her.

  • Reply
    Emily
    August 2, 2017 at 7:46 am

    My mom taught my brother and I how to do our own laundry at a young age! Maybe around 10-13 years old. I was very thankful of this when I moved out and was on my own!

  • Reply
    Abby
    August 2, 2017 at 8:19 am

    This post was helpful! I have a 5 year old and a 6 month old and have also wondered what others do for chores at this age (the 5 year old πŸ˜‰ other than the usual pick up their toys. Would love to hear an update!

  • Reply
    Caitlin
    August 2, 2017 at 8:26 am

    My boys are 2 and 5. They have certain chores they’re expected to do like set and clean up the dinner table, pick up their toys, empty the dish washer, and help with laundry. Recently my 5 year old asked if he could earn money to buy a new lego set so my husband and I came up with a few additional chores he can do such as help daddy with yard work, help with little brother’s laundry, and clean the pool (little brother loves to throw rocks in it!) His preschool teacher told me he was very responsible for his age so I feel good about having him help around the house. He also enjoys helping like your girls do.

  • Reply
    Kim
    August 2, 2017 at 8:27 am

    My girls are older (10 & 7) but the older one has been cleaning bathrooms since she was 5. She started with just the toilet then moved on to adding sinks and countertops and this summer I taught her how to sweep and mop as well. She has also always been in charge of her own room. She knows that if she wants a friend over, she needs to clean her room first. The little one, however, is the baby and I have totally babied her. When we tell her to go clean her room we come back to find her sleeping every time and she hasn’t napped in years 😬.

  • Reply
    Leah Barkley
    August 2, 2017 at 8:36 am

    I had a chore chart growing up. There were 4 of us kids so my mom posted a calendar on the refrigerator with our assigned task each day. One day would be empty all trash bins, next dishes, next clean all toilets. They were all tasks that could be completed in 15-20 mins. This chart didn’t start until elementary school age. We did not receive any allowance. When we were young our reward would be a cookie after dinner or some treat. As we got older the tasks were more labor intensive (wash all outside windows, polish silver, vacuum entire house, clean all and entire bathrooms..) and we still didn’t receive allowance. However, when we were at the age of being able to go to friends houses or wander the neighborhood with friends after school, if we asked our parents for ‘fun money’ to buy a slushie at 711 or go to movies our parents would give us that money if our tasks had been completed WITHOUT complaining or being reminded. It always thought it was fair growing up since my parents never told me ‘no’ when I asked for ‘fun money’ and the tasks were never horrible.

    I have one son (almost 4 years old) and currently pregnant (due Oct) with a girl. Our son doesn’t have any chores but both my husband and I work and are out of the house 10 hours a day, 5 days a week (sometimes 6 days). It’s hard to establish a chore chart or anything like that when one parent isn’t home. On weekends he helps put his toys away and get ready for bed but that’s about it. Once he’s school age we will form some structure of chores so that he holds more responsibility at home πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Keri
    August 2, 2017 at 9:39 am

    Love the song idea! I usually just say “hurry let’s see how fast you can clean up while I count!” Lol they are almost 6 & 3. They also love doing dishes and unloading the dishwasher. They love to spray stuff to clean the tables, windows and to mop the floor. Thank you Montessori school! πŸ˜‚ I don’t ask them to do windows or floors they just ask to help. I keep telling them I’ll remind them when they were older that they used to fight over who was going to mop.

  • Reply
    Kaori
    August 2, 2017 at 10:48 am

    Your ideas and the ones in the comment section are awesome!! I’m a teacher and I’ve seen middle school kids do wonders at tidying the classroom when I play a fun song to signal clean-up time during the last couple minutes of class. I don’t have any kids of my own (yet) but am definitely bookmarking this post for the future πŸ˜€

  • Reply
    Kristin
    August 2, 2017 at 10:49 am

    That’s awesome! My four year old wants to help but gets bored with it easily. It sounds like laundry would be a fun way to get him going on it! I hate hanging things… maybe I can convince him to do it for me πŸ˜‰

  • Reply
    Stacy
    August 2, 2017 at 2:22 pm

    I have a Harper too, except she’s 4. We just started a chore chart (that I got off Amazon- I can give you the link if you’re interested) but it’s magnetic and the chores are magnetic also so we pick about 7 chores that she has to do every week like making her bed, cleaning the play room, no interrupting etc. At the end of the day we give her stars if she did them. At the end of the week if we see she made a valid effort on all them, we let her pick something out she wants or a special date to the ice cream shop with mommy and daddy. It’s probably the best $20 I ever spent πŸ™ŒπŸ»

  • Reply
    Sarah
    August 2, 2017 at 10:03 pm

    My daughter is almost five and she has a M&D responsibility chart. Every once and awhile we sit down together and talk about the chores she would want to do (put her dishes away when they are clean, set the table for dinner, etc). She can choose to do them if she wants to in order to earn money, but we don’t argue with her about them as she has every day chores, too, not on her chart (pick up toys, put dirty clothes in the laundry). I was really unsure of what she should earn for doing the chores, but she said a penny a chore. We add them up at the end of the week and she always opts to put the money in her piggy bank. And side note: having her help choose the chores has resulted in her doing most of them without being asked (or nagged).

  • Reply
    Danielle
    August 3, 2017 at 6:34 am

    Thanks for this. I have a big girl helper as well. She is 3.5 years. I haven’t tried her on laundry yet (haunted by the days of destroyed piles, I suppose); it’s great to be reminded to reevaluate her abilities especially since it makes us all so proud to see her being such a big girl (even as it breaks her parents’ hearts.) I am curious, what will reside in your award treasure chest? I am on the fence about this. I grew up like you: with chores expected with out reward. Thanks. And good luck to Ms. Harper! I am so excited for her Kindergarten adventure!

  • Reply
    Krista
    August 3, 2017 at 8:53 am

    I think this is genius! I grew up with chores and I’m totally going to have our girl help when she’s old enough. There’s nothing wrong with kids helping out in the house. It’s not like you’re making them do chores for hours on end! πŸ™‚ I think it helps kids understand responsibility from a young age.

  • Reply
    Kari
    August 3, 2017 at 9:58 am

    What is this Treasure Box you refer to!? Sounds like an awesome idea!

  • Reply
    Karre Havey
    August 3, 2017 at 8:37 pm

    My 4 and 5 year old have chores, but I’m absolutely adding the laundry one. I hate lugging the clothes out of the dryer.
    They take out the trash and recycle. Open and shut all the blinds in the morning and at night. Clean up their rooms every night, help me empty the dishwasher and they also clear their plates and cups after every meal. Younger one gets $3 a week and the older one gets $5. Younger one gets an extra dollar if he stays in his bed all night. Don’t ask…
    Its enough for a little something at our weekly trip to Target.
    Their attitude factors in too, they get money taken away if they have an attitude problem at any time during the week. Dad hands out the cash on Friday.
    Sometimes we ask that they save it so they can see that the more you have the more you can get.
    When I start getting better at saving money then I’ll start telling them to stash away a $1 a week for the year or something to that effect.
    Girls are precious, doing a great job mama!

  • Reply
    Erin
    August 4, 2017 at 4:29 am

    Hi Jess!
    Can you share where we can find the girls’ blankets that are in the last photo?

    πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Tiffany
    August 4, 2017 at 9:17 am

    Love this post!! My newly four year old folds towels for me (and does a great job too)! She and her two year old brother also switch over laundry for me. They love putting the wet stuff into the dryer and taking the dry items to the couch. I want to start having them match socks. I’m sure they’ll love that! Our four year old can also earn a quarter for other chores…wiping down base boards, cleaning door knobs, washing windows, and sweeping under the table. I really like the idea of a specific day to clean up the playroom. I’m a little OCD and want it clean every day, but it is also right off of our living room and super visible. I’m very specific when it comes to cleaning it up. I read that they don’t really conceptually understand “clean up all the toys” but it’s better to say “put all of the play food in the fridge.” It has helped a lot!

  • Reply
    Brynn
    August 7, 2017 at 10:54 am

    I was just talking to my husband over the weekend about starting a chore system for our 4 year old daughter (and mock-chore for our 2 year old son). She loves the ideas of helping and while I’m not sure if we will add a money element, I’m thinking of something along the lines of getting a star each day for a specific job (similar to yours…laundry one day, cleaning toys the next, etc) and if the whole week is complete then maybe an ice cream date or something like that.

    I love that they are starting to slowly be able to help with jobs around the house but melancholy at the same time that they aren’t babies anymore.

  • Reply
    Lacey
    August 11, 2017 at 10:52 am

    GREAT ideas!!!!!

    BTW, if you would like to sell any of your old J.Crew Baby / Crewcuts clothes that are too small – I would definitely be interested!! Just shot me an email πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Kitty
    August 13, 2017 at 2:09 am

    I had to help my mom with everything as a child. From setting the table to bringing the dinner to the table, clearing the table and then wiping it down. I was also in charge of wiping the coffee table and side table nightly. I didn’t get to do the actual dishes until I was about 8 but that was exciting! Always helped with laundry; from separating to loading and drying and folding. We’ve started our daughter off with cleaning up her toys at 14-16 months old. She always had to put a toy away before taking out a new one or moving onto the next activity. She also always put her clothes in the hamper, diaper and wipes in the garbage. She started loading the washing machine when she was about two and loved it. She’s now four and helps me fold the laundry. She loves to use my mini vacuum, would sweep the floor if I let her but I hate dust flying everywhere. She loves to help dust with the swifter and wipe the mirrors. She helps set the table and clears the table. We aren’t consistent with rewarding with a allowance because we believe these are skills she should learn, she needs to appreciate her belongings and her home enough to take care of it.

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