Growing up, I did lots of chores. Living on a farm meant house and outside chores, including feeding the animals and shoveling manure. It was never a very fun part of my life, but it was a necessity and taught me diligence and work ethic.

Although we currently live in town, I feel that it’s important that my kids learn to do chores, even at the youngest of ages. But sometimes doing the same thing over and over again can be a drag. My children can be reluctant to pick up their (very) messy rooms or dust the furniture some days, and that makes this momma a bit grouchy herself!

A grumpy attitude on everyone’s part leads to a very unpleasant experience, and while I don’t expect my children to love doing chores (let’s face it, I don’t love doing them!), I think that it’s okay to bring in something new and different to shake things up and make clean-up time more pleasant.

“In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You’ll find the fun and–snap!–the job’s a game.” Mary Poppins

I want to share with you four ways to make chores more fun! I’ve used these methods with my own children (7, 4 and 2) and hopefully they will work for yours as well!

Four Ways to Make Chores More Fun for Your Kids

Chores by Flashlight

Here’s how the Chores by Flashlight method works.

  • Find a messy room {the easiest part!}.
  • Darken the room if possible.
  • Take any old flashlight and shine it on the object you want put away.
  • Name said object and mention where it goes if needed.
  • Repeat until the room is clean!

The first time we did this, it was a very long process, mostly because there were a lot of little things to put away. But because my children are four and seven, they sometimes need directions one step at a time, instead of just saying “put away all the horsey stuff” or “line up your books”.

There was quite a bit of giggling and silliness at first, but that’s okay, as long as things eventually get done. Even if mom needs to help a little :).

The Two-Minute Tidy

One way to do a targeted job very quickly is with a method we call the Two-Minute Tidy. I read about something similar to this a few years ago and decided to make it work for my family.

Basically, what we do is find a task that needs to be done and then assign a small part of that task to each person. For the front closet, my 7 and 4 year old worked together to put away shoes, hang up jackets and line up other shoes. My 2 year old maybe put away one shoe, but it was good for him to see the others working and to learn from example!

Each time, I set the timer for two minutes and call out “GO!” My kids somehow find it hilarious to put things away in crazy mode, so this method has been successful so far!

The Job Jar

For The Job Jar, just cut up some small pieces of paper and write a chore on each piece. Then fold them in half and let your kids pick a chore, one at a time, out of the jar. I use these over and over, adding or subtracting jobs as necessary.

Sticker Charts and an “Allowance”

This is the method I’m actually least fond of, as I seem to either forget to apply the stickers daily or give them the money (sometimes they don’t ask!). However, motivational tools like a chore chart with a cash incentive can be very effective, especially when used with older children who can understand the concept.

The way we handle chore money in our house is this:

  • The kids have chores they do on an everyday basis as part of the family. These include making their bed, putting away clothes, clearing and setting the table, brushing teeth, wiping up little messes, picking up toys, loading/emptying the dishwasher (others added if necessary). We use the  job jar, flashlight and two-minute tidy for these types of jobs.
  • We have extra chores that, if done well and without excessive complaining, are rewarded with money. The amount varies based on age and the difficulty of the task. These might include things like raking the yard, yard cleanup, mopping the floor, vacuuming, cleaning the bathroom, dusting rooms and more. Many of these still have to be done with help but we are teaching them with the purpose of independence! As our children get older, the tasks they can earn money for can change, depending on their age and skill level.

What’s your biggest struggle in making chore time fun for your family?

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