Chore Lists have a way of getting out of hand. We homeschool moms like to make lists so extensive and detailed that our poor children cringe when they see them. If we actually followed our crazy lists, no one would get anything accomplished in a day except all the chores we put on there; that is, if we could manage to implement these lists for more than one day. That’s right – we can’t actually make our chore lists work because they are beyond our children’s ability to stay focused and beyond our ability to stay consistent. These lists are TOO MUCH!
We have to stop seeing our chore lists as the place we write down our dossier of micromanagement. We have to create simpler lists that are easier to manage. And the place we need to start is our Morning Chore List.
Homeschool families have a unique morning life. We are not beholden to a bussing schedule or a school bell telling us when to do things; therefore, many of us have chosen to be more relaxed in our morning hours. However, sometimes our slower pace means we end up frittering away our entire morning. In response to this, we often overcompensate by creating long lists of things we and our children need to do in the mornings. Sure, the list gives us a sense of purpose; however, rarely are we able to accomplish everything on the list, and all too often, we find ourselves either skipping over school to do chores or skipping over chores to do school – and ultimately, we feel like failures.
It’s time to simplify this thing!
Over the years, I’ve had a lot of morning chore lists, but what I’ve found to be true is that some things naturally get done and some things require a little more prodding. This made me realize that my morning chores list needs to be less about EVERYTHING we should accomplish in a morning, and more about REMINDING us of the things we often forget to do in the morning.
For instance, my older girls always brush their hair in the morning. No one needs to remind them of that. My older boys always get dressed. Again, no one needs to remind them of that. And I certainly don’t need a chart to tell me to nurse the baby. These things are all natural parts of our routine. Putting them on a list would only clog up the list with unnecessary items.
Another thing I realized about our morning chore routine is that I have a bare minimum of things I need to have done in order to start our homeschool day, and no matter what the list says, those are the things I want done above all else. They are priorities. So, why in the world would I make a huge list I can’t stick to full of things that are not priorities? All that does is overwhelm my kids and stress me out.
(By the way, you CAN change your priorities, but the only way to do that is to have those things not previously priorities BECOME priorities. See how that works?)
So, here is what our Morning Chore List looks like:
- Make bed
- Tidy room
- Brush teeth
- Manage laundry
(I also sometimes have to remind the little boys to get dressed.)
Is this all we do in a morning? No, but THESE are the things that consistently get FORGOTTEN! Kids leave beds unmade and rooms a mess. They forget to brush their teeth (and their buddy’s teeth), and they forget to get their laundry to the laundry room. I need my morning chore list to be a reminder of the forgotten things.
So, how do you create your own simple morning chore routine? It’s super easy!
- Decide if chores need to be done before breakfast or after or anytime before your children start their school work. (We have chosen the latter.) Inform your children of your expectations.
- Consider what needs to be on your list. Ask yourself what things are most often forgotten. Ask yourself what things MUST be done before you can start school. Don’t try to add in a bunch of extras. Keep it super simple. You can always add in more if you find your list lacking later on.
- Decide how you will post your Morning Chores List. You can print it off and post it on a wall or the refrigerator. You can verbally run down the list. Or you can write it on your white board. (I do a combination of the latter two.)
Here are a couple of products that will help you create your morning chore routine. Click on the photos to learn more:
And if you don’t already have a laundry routine that works well, check out my huge post with tons of laundry routines to choose from!
I highly recommend you limit your Morning Chores list to 5 items to keep your kids from stressing out, and your own stress level at a minimum. Five things are plenty to accomplish before you start your school day. Any more, and everyone starts to feel like something has to give.
Also, feel free to give your youngers a different list from your olders. My big kids have learned exactly what needs to be done in the morning and it has become second nature…for the most part. You could also use this opportunity to instill new habits in your children. But remember, these habits will have to be priorities in your family for them to stick.
So, what does you Morning Routine look like? Do you feel like it is too difficult, too simple, or just right? Please share so we can learn from each other!