Thursday, June 13, 2013

Chores: A Summertime Routine that Works for Us!

Like most moms, I am thrilled to step away from the school and after-school activity rush for a while! This is our first week out of school and I am establishing a routine that seems to be working for our family. (My son is 12 and my daughter is 9.)
I want us to have lots of fun this summer. I also want my children to help around the house and understand the importance of contributing to our family.

Our basic schedule... and you all who know me well know this is not set in stone. :)

We do chores in the morning. The children's chores do not take much time. My chores take longer and I also try to pack Etsy orders and check email. (The kids usually have screentime, play LEGOS, swing in the backyard while I am finishing my chores. Whatever they want to do is fine.)

After lunch, we go do something fun!
A trip to the pool.
Go to the LEGO store... my children are good savers and they use their own money for toys.
Play board games.
Go to the library.
Visit the bakery:)

I love this routine... work in the morning and play in the afternoon!

Daily Chores.
They do not get paid for these.

Make Beds
5 Minute Around the House Pick-up. (Check every room and pick up your things. Put them where they belong.)

Clean Rooms

Empty Trash - Kitchen/Kid's Bath (They alternate each week. If my son empties the kitchen trash this week, my daughter empties the trash can in the kid's bathroom.  Next week, they switch.)

Clean Bathroom - Guest Bath/Kid's Bath (They alternate each week. Cleaning the bathrooms took some serious training last summer. And a refresher course this year. )

Empty Laundry Baskets. (I just have them dump their laundry baskets in the laundry room.)

Vacuum Your Room. (New this year. I need to teach them how to use the vacuum cleaner.)

Extra Chores
If they want to do these, they earn a little money. I keep a running list on the pantry door of extra chores I think of during the week.  After they have completed the chore, they write their name next to it so I can remember how much I owe them at the end of the week.

Examples of Extra Chores
.25 Sweep Front Porch and Walk   ______
.75 Sweep Back Porches and Stairs  ______
.05 Take Kitchen Laundry up to Laundry Room ______
.25 Wash and Dry a Load of Laundry ______
.25 Fold and Put Away a Load of Laundry ______
.10 Brush Buddy's Teeth ______ (maybe I should pay more for brushing the dog's teeth...)
.25 Water Flowers--early morning only so the sun does not scorch the leaves. ______
.25 Sort Socks in Random Sock Basket

I really like this system because it gives them a chance to earn extra money and it saves me from all those extra things that always need to be done!

We give our children allowance each week. $3. This is not based on chores, behavior, or grades. My husband and I started doing this when they were very little. I like this system because they have learned that they can save their allowance and use it for whatever they want to buy. When we are out at a store and they see a toy/doll/video game they would like to get, they don't beg for it. They spend their money if they have it, or they save up to buy it themselves.

I would love to know how you all handle chores and allowance. What works for you? I think you just have to find a plan that works for your family. There are no right or wrong answers. For us, we don't worry too much about kid's chores during the school year. They are so busy with school, homework, and activities that trying to add chores into the mix creates alot of stress.

Questions? Comments? I can't wait to hear from you!
xoxo Elizabeth

p.s. I am closing Polka Dot Skies Saturday to enjoy time with family and friends! If you need anything today or tomorrow, use coupon code HAPPY25 to get 25% off your order! I will ship orders on Monday.


  1. I think my kids need to come to Camp Polka Dot Skies for a little while! :)

    1. lol! Maybe we can trade... this morning I would have gladly traded:)

  2. Love work in the morning and play in the afternoon...the kids have certain jobs here...Peyton helps with Flynn Madison is dishwasher and vacuum girl and Rhett is trash and laundry basket carrier. I do need to relinquish more control but that is hard for this OCD mama to do!

    Love your plan! Have a great day, friend!

    1. Hi Billie Jo! I like your system, too! It is hard to give up control. The other day, I opened the cabinet in the kid's bathroom and all the towels had been quickly shoved in and looked so messy. I had to make myself leave them that way... remembering that they did fold them and put them in the right place. But it was hard not to stack them neatly and all facing in the right direction!

  3. I think it's good to have a loose plan for summer and I like your schedule! Unfortunately, it is hard for us to have much of a schedule. The teen life is a little - well, unpredictable. They all have different work schedules and social schedules. We've tried so many different systems for chores, but never really found one that works well. They are all expected to do anything I ask. And some jobs have become regular for each of the kids. We gave allowance for a short time, but the kids starting working fairly young. So our system is all gift and earned money is split into yogurt cups with the percentage on top: 75% savings, 20% spending, 5% charity. It teaches them to save and that they have to save up for spending. As they got older, they were allowed to use "savings" to purchase larger items. And the college kids are now responsible for managing on their own. It is our hope that they have learned to save first.

    1. Jane, I really like your system of using yogurt cups for savings/spending/charity. When my son was very little, we taught him to separate his allowance and somehow we got out of the habit. Thank you for the reminder! We need to get back to this!
      I think we may have three more years of simple summers before the super busy teen years start. You are setting a wonderful example for me!


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