Yesterday I wrote an article about Kids and Chores. It was mostly a pep talk about how even if you are struggling with getting little ones to do housework keep making an effort because it is worth it. Today I will be sharing a peek into the details of how we do this in our home. I will also be throwing out some links to other articles on the topic.

Are we ready to dive in?


First of all, one of my most popular Messy Mom posts of all time is “Ideas for Helping Kids With Daily Routines“. Getting into a routine goes hand in hand with housework expectations so if you are looking for ideas on how to get your kids on a schedule then check this post out. For our family, the morning starts with the kids making their bed (usually) and unloading the dishwasher.

Dishwasher Hack

If you have multiple kids I can’t recommend this enough. I don’t even remember when I got the idea, but we’ve been doing it for years. The dishes are being washed through the night because I love nothing more than knowing that a machine is cleaning for me while I sleep! Then in the morning, the kids know they just have to unload one little part and it makes it super easy. I will refer to my children by their ages here because it might be helpful.

12 -year-old- unloads bottom rack

10-year-old- top rack

7-year-old- silverware

4-year-old- Tupperware

We just started implementing the Tupperware one this week. I am trying to stop babying the baby and gradually give her responsibilities. I chose the Tupperware because I keep mine in the very bottom cabinet so she can reach it and Tupperware isn’t sharp or breakable. We’ll see how it goes.

One last thing that I love about the unloaded dishwasher routine is that it forces me to get the dishwasher loaded and started at night. I try to have the family put their own plates in the dishwasher, but I am usually the one to truly get the loading job done. Anyway, some nights I don’t feel like it, but I do it anyway because I know that if I don’t start the dishwasher it won’t get unloaded in the morning.

Daily Chores

I have an app on my phone called Cozi, I’ve blogged about it before (you can read the post here) and it’s where I keep all of my To-Do lists. I have a list titled “Kids Chores” and they each have a checklist of what is expected of them that day.

We try to do chores every weekday immediately following the after school snack. This may not work for everyone, but they like getting it out of the way so that’s what we do. Some days there are fewer chores. Some days we don’t do any, but the four chores a day is pretty common.

Here is a generic list of jobs that I may assign them

12 -year-old


Take out trash (and reline trash can)

Sweep (I only make them do one room)

“Make couches look pretty” This is specific to our home and it involves fixing the couch cover and throw pillows and folding the blankets that go over the arms of the couches.

Clean bathroom counter and sink

Do a load of laundry


Put folded towels away

Bring garbage cans to and from the curb

Wipe down kitchen counters

Wash windows



Tidy up entryway (where the coats, backpacks, and shoes are)

Wipe down kitchen appliances

Set the table

Wash dishes

Clean up the toys in the play area

It gets changed up and I didn’t list everything because today, for example, one chore on my 10-year-old’s list was “clean up the basket in your room” so it can get pretty specific depending on what needs to be done. Almost all the elementary age kids can do all of the same chores, but I know certain kids are better at certain chores so I try to pair it up fairly and appropriately. Also, I didn’t even add the 4-year-old to these examples because she isn’t really helpful yet. We are still at the stage of teaching. It’s all very supervised and guided and often I even have to redo her work. The others can read and do stuff on their own. She’ll get there though.


I used to try to pay them for chores so that they could learn about money. Sadly, I have four kids now and I have run out of money. Just kidding… kind of. We do not pay them anything these days unless I have extra jobs. If there is company coming over and I know I have to spend hours scrubbing the staircase, emptying all of the little trash cans in each room, dusting etc. then I usually enlist helpers and give them each one dollar for going above and beyond. I know I am cheap. I have read what you all do for the tooth fairy and allowance and what not. Thankfully my kids haven’t complained and I don’t feel too bad. I would rather them learn to do it as a contribution to the family and good stewardship. Like I always say though, one day and one child at a time. It could change later.

That’s pretty much it for the Messy Mom’s clean up crew. If you are parenting school-age children I highly recommend the book “Cleaning House A Mom’s 12-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement” by Kay Wills Wyma. It was very eye-opening for me.

I’d love to hear your ideas and what works for you. I know every home is different and it’s nice to get ideas from one another.