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Chore Packs - Teaching Our Children to Work

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Women Living Well Blog: Chore Packs - Teaching Our Children to Work

Women Living Well Blog

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Chore Packs - Teaching Our Children to Work

Here are my happy helpers!

If you Google a search on the word "chores" you will find over 33,000,000 articles written on this topic. Is that not crazy? I think EVERY mom struggles with this at some point - so if you are struggling - do not feel alone! My mom just reminded me yesterday of my stinky attitude as a teen. Sorry mom!

Why should we require our children to do work? In Genesis, before the fall - God put Adam into the garden to work tending to the garden (Genesis 2:15). Work is not a result of the fall - but something that God created for man to do because we are created in his image and God works.

In Proverbs we are given many verses about not being lazy or slothful such as Proverbs 6:6 about how the ant works hard to gather food and Proverbs 21:25. In I Thessalonians 3:10 Paul says "If a man will not work, he shall not eat." I have never withheld food from my children, nor do I recommend it - but I will say that withholding all desserts and snacks are not a bad consequence for a child who refuses to work. When a child sees his siblings eating their Popsicles you better believe that the silent motivation might just help the child get his rear in gear!

Our final example is Jesus himself. In John 13 Jesus washed the disciples feet and then he said - "I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you." Jesus called his followers to serve one another and serving begins in the home.

The method I use is called the "chore packet" system. I first saw this on the Duggar's show with 18 children. I noticed that they were wearing a little name tag holder that has their list of chores clipped to their pants. In the Duggar's book, they explain their system so I decided to give it a try. If your children can read - making the packet is simple - just write the chore and a description of what the child should do and slip the cards for that day into the packet. If you have a child who cannot read - either print out pictures from the web - or do what I did - I took photos around the house - of the flowers - to have them water the flowers, of their beds to indicate they need to make their bed, of a broom to indicate they are to sweep - etc.

Each morning RIGHT after breakfast - I choose about 5 chores and slip them into their packet and then hang their packet on them. They are not to take the packet off until they have completed all the cards in their packet. As long as they are wearing their packet, they are not permitted to watch television, video games or play on the computer. I do not have to tell them what to do (or argue with them), I do not have to nag them and I do not have to check off charts - which I have found very challenging to do consistently. I simply look around for what needs done - and slip those cards into the packet for the day. I rotate who gets what chore daily so they both learn to do all of the tasks well. I always include making their bed and cleaning up their toys in their own room.

My children have progressed from working along side of me to being able to do many chores all on their own. This has developed their confidence (I praise and cheer and clap for them!), their sense of belonging, serving and is a testimony to my neighbors who have seen my kids working and doing their chores! Here's what the packets look like and some photo's of my kids working:
The blue cards with a star indicate a "bonus" chore. This may be a chore that I forgot to take a picture of or a special chore like cleaning out the garage or sweeping the basement. Bonus chores get a candy reward when they are completed. My children celebrate when they find a bonus chore in their packet!

They love laundry day! This is a "bonus" chore!

Watering the flowers! This saves me nearly 20 minutes a day and they love the outdoors and getting their feet all wet! I praise my son for the green thumb he has - he has kept these flowers along with some tomato plants alive! What an accomplishment! She is able to sweep the crumbs into piles but I have to sweep it onto the dust pan for her - she has not mastered that skill yet. Winding the clock!
So for all the moms in the thick of it - I offer just one method in the midst of 33,000,000!!! If my method cannot work for you -please do not be discouraged - go out there on the web and search - I know there has to be one out there for you!!! There are charts galore available - here's one link to a blog with gobs of links for chore charts and ideas!

Walk with the King!

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Blogger MommySecrets said...

Great post Courtney! In addition to following God's law, it's also important to teach children responsibility because it's one of the critical factors determining their success in school and in life. I love how you've made chores kind of like a treasure hunt. :)

July 23, 2009 at 7:38 AM  
Anonymous Kristi_runwatch said...

This is such a fun idea!!!!!! I believe I might be borrowing this when the kidlets get a little older!

July 23, 2009 at 8:23 AM  
Blogger Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

Great article, and sounds like fun too. :)

July 23, 2009 at 9:06 AM  
Blogger The Fox Den said...

They look great! Love the idea.

July 23, 2009 at 9:23 AM  
Blogger Regina Coblentz said...

I love this idea. I'm going to try it and see what happens. Thanks for sharing.

July 23, 2009 at 9:26 AM  
Blogger Jennifer Thorn said...

Great idea Courtney. I one of the many who has tried over and over again to use charts and it always fizzles out. I started using 3x5 cards, but I love the idea of hanging it around their neck so their don't lose the cards. I am going to have to use your idea. Awesome.

July 23, 2009 at 10:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing your tips with us. Your posts last week and this week have really made me examine how I do things around the house, and I find myself changing a lot of things and having the need to apologize to my husband for how poorly I've been running things. I LOVE the idea about the chore packs! Where did you get the packs that you use to put the cards in? Thank you again for being such an encouragement and not just for making me find the need to reevaluate but also giving me the tools and ideas to make the necessary changes. Your blog has truly been a Godsend! :)


July 23, 2009 at 4:00 PM  
Blogger Courtney said...

Traci - I got these pack neclaces at Staples. The clip on plastic name tags were quite expensive - while these necklaces were $3.50 each!!! It was a good investment!!! :-)

July 23, 2009 at 5:40 PM  
Blogger Samantha @ Mama Notes said...

wow, how wonderful!!

(I found you on MBC.. cute blog!) :)

July 23, 2009 at 5:42 PM  
Blogger Lori said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog! I love this idea and am also a fan of the Duggars' book. It's awesome that you're referencing scripture when teaching your kids about chores. I'm going to jot down that verse as well - thank you! :)

August 7, 2009 at 3:00 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

I just found this today, and I love it! I have only one little one, who is 4, and he is such a great helper around the house. I love that you reference so many scriptures and to find other moms that have their kids learning a great work ethic early! I'm excited to see what else I can find here!

February 17, 2010 at 3:11 PM  
Blogger amanda said...

i found this link on the duggars page. i have never heard of the idea. my oldest two could for sure do this. and it'd probably be more fun for them even though they're doing the same work!!

February 18, 2010 at 9:19 AM  
Blogger Michelle said...

actually they use the Maxwells system for both chores and schedules. I do too. (I've done a blog post on the schedule if you are interested.)

My kids dont complain, EVER, about their chores. But I havent gotten to the place where they do anything extra. Bummer!

March 16, 2010 at 9:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My kiddos do many chores around the house. Mine can't sweep the crumbs into a dustpan (I can barely do it). They absolutely love using the dustbuster though. I let them sweep or dry dust the floor and suck everything up with the dustbuster or vacuum. Our pastor last week said his kids are great at delegating to each other. He had the 4yo vacuuming, who passed it onto the 3yo who passed the chore onto the 18 mo old, who proceeded to push the vacuum around. I wouldn't recommend that, but a duster or a rag with water to "help" with dusting or wiping spills are great for little helpers!

March 20, 2010 at 3:11 PM  
Blogger sunshinemama said...

Courtney I Love this! I am so excited to go make these for my 9 year old son and my 5 year old son and start implementing it! What a great idea, whatever you need done for the day by looking around and seeing what needs to be done, you get help with that! So encouraging and I just am SO excited! Thank you :)

March 27, 2010 at 9:57 AM  
Blogger Mallory said...

Stopping by from Kelly's Korner...

I love this idea and plan to implement it when I have children! Thank you for this! :)

April 2, 2010 at 11:36 AM  
OpenID thelumberjackswife said...

Great idea! I think I need this in my life.

April 2, 2010 at 6:41 PM  
Blogger Rona's Home Page said...

I love your tips.
I have to be organized. We very busy and if I don't put appointments on the calendar well, it's not pretty.
Today, I forgot that I had a doctor's appt on Wed. Ugh!
Have a great weekend.

April 3, 2010 at 8:55 AM  
Blogger Tara G. said...

I think that there is a book out called Managers of Their Chores that uses the same principle. My friend had told me about it and we promptly made cards. I have picture cards for my preschooler with magnets on the back- he looks on the fridge for his "to do" list. I found a neat little broom and dustpan set at Bed Bath and Beyond- it's a short broom and the dustpan has the same size stick so it'll stand up- makes sweeping a little easier. :)

April 3, 2010 at 2:18 PM  
Blogger Courtney (Women Living Well) said...

Tara - yes, you are right! The Duggars have followed the Maxwell's book "Managers of Their Chores" and it works! I love the refrigerator magnet idea! Good thinking!!!


April 5, 2010 at 3:53 PM  

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