Raising Responsible Children

June 11, 2008

The Chore Bucket

Works for me Wednesday It’s true. My kids ask to do chores. Actually, they beg to do chores. Part of it I pass off to their ages – at almost 4 and 5 1/2, helping with the housework is still fun and novel. However, their continued enthusiasm day after day I attribute to The Chore Bucket.

Simple coffee can, lightly decorated, filled with colored papers, each one listing a specific chore job. They love it! Our goal is to do it once a day, M-F, sometimes on the weekends too. They are required to do one, but almost always choose to do 2 or 3. Sometimes we have “paydays,” where I pay quarters for any chores done after the initial required one. I used to have cards in the bucket that said “Free Day,” but I had to take them out because my kids actually cried if they pulled that card. What?
I presented this at a Kindergarten Readiness workshop at my girls’ preschool. It was one of many ideas for encouraging independence, teamwork, initiative, etc. Many families at our school went home and made their own chore buckets and have been enjoying the same success with eager helpers!
Here are the chores we currently have in our bucket. Sometimes I add new ones, or take ones out that don’t seem to be working.
  • dust a room of your choice
  • tidy the videos & dust the TV area
  • help with laundry
  • clean the bedroom & playroom closet mirrors
  • clean the art table
  • find 10 things to put away
  • dust the living room
  • look through a cookbook and choose a recipe for later in the week
  • tidy the bookshelves
  • clean off the refrigerator
  • tidy bathroom counter and wipe down
  • check snack cabinet and tell mom/dad what to add to list
  • put away all the stuff on the front benches plus shoes
  • help mom change the sheets on your bed
  • wipe down the kitchen table and chairs
  • help with dishes
  • mom’s choice
Keep in mind, they do not to these chores perfectly, but I do expect them to take their time and do a good job. If you have older kids, you could obviously use more complicated chores. The other plus is that I feel like I have to be a good role model and do my own chores while they are working on theirs. The girls have also decided to make a special chore bucket for chores they like to do with Daddy. It has things in it like sweep the front sidewalk, pull 10 weeds, help in the garage, fill the bird feeder, etc.
Hope you have a bit of fun doing chores! :)

Check out the hundreds (literally!) of other Works for me Wednesday tips over at the Rocks in My Dryer blog.



I also have my sons do laundry and help cook so that when they need to one day be off on their own in college inshallah they will be under less stress and be prepared to handle all what they will have to do and do it well and easily.  I also believe that girls need to know how to change a tire and check engine fluids on cars and make minor repairs around the house.  Beginning with small chores is a great way! Thanks to the above site for a cute idea!!


One Response to Raising Responsible Children

  1. m.c. says:

    An informative article. Kids chores were always a difficult job when I was growing up some 60+ years ago. Insightful and should be helpful to young parents. mc

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