Summertime, Chores & Routines, and the Little Talk I Had With My Kids
Crystal Miller

It seems when summer comes and the school books get put away my kids go into a “Saturday Morning” routine each day.  Their goal seems to be to stay in their jammies as long as possible, pull out the deck of cards or board games and just enjoy life..  and everything I tell them that needs to be done in the house is like an imposition to their extended R&R time.   

Well this attitude was not going over well with me as I have definite plans for what needs to be accomplished each day.  I have a lot going on in my life and I need to keep my life and my children’s lives in some sort of a routine.  I can’t afford not to.  Plus my children are an integral part of keeping this home operating.  This home is their training ground for their adult life.   

So I gathered them all together and we had a little talk.  I used my big white board in the dining room and wrote down the key points to my talk.  I suppose a PowerPoint presentation would have been more impressive! LOL..  but here is what I covered with them: 

1. Routine:

Each day needs to have a routine that we all follow.  We need these routines so that all the things we do each day, get done!  Wake up time here is between 7:00 and 7:30am.  I told them that if they like a little time to wake up slowly then set their alarm to wake them up at 6:30am.  J 

2.  My Plans for the Day

Each day I have plans for the day that include them and they need to be prepared for that.  Then there is the breakdown of all our regular daily chores that needs to be attended to first in our day.  

3. Productive Use of Our Time

I stress to my children that we need to be responsible with our days.  We need to use our time as productively as possible.   

4. Priorities

Everyone needs to have an understanding of the most important priorities in our home. We are a big family and things like keeping the house picked up and clean, cooking meals, staying on top of the laundry are all first priorities for everyone.  

5. Free Time is earned

When we are responsible and take care of priorities then we can sit back and enjoy our free time.  Daily life is not an annoying interruption to our own personal pursuits!   

6. Being Responsible and Taking Personal Responsibility

Being responsible is a character trait that I am hopefully instilling with my children in all this training.  But the bigger picture I hope for them to someday have is the idea of “taking personal responsibility”.  This means (as I explained to them) that if your job is to empty the garbage then please don’t wait for me to tell you do this, if you see if needs to be done, then go ahead and do it.  It means that I don’t want to constantly remind you what your job is but take responsibility for that job and do it without being told.  I know that is a lofty goal!!  But that is to me an important part of being an adult.   


Now here is the chore breakdown that I have for my kids.  I leave this posted in a central spot (on my refrigerator) so we all know who is responsible for what and I can manage better.

Chore Division: 

Hannah: laundry room, living room, dining room 

Emily: kitchen, main floor hallway  

Leanne: bathroom, basement stairs, basement rugs 

Jacob: kitchen, music room, sun room,  

Sierra: bathroom helper, recycling, upstairs stairs and hallway (do these once a week on Thursday), living room helper, fold laundry (general household laundry) 

Isaac: vacuum entry rugs, empty garbage bags, main floor hallway helper, sunroom helper, fold laundry (general household laundry) 

The end result of our little talk yesterday was better attitudes, household responsibilities were taken care of and free time was enjoyed all the more.  As a funny side note, my youngest son, Isaac, said to me when we got back from the library “Mom, is it free time now?”   J  He had his little arm load of books and new what he wanted to do with his free time!! 

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