What do chores look like in your home? Do you have a rhythm in place for doing what, when? Or are you more of a freestyle homemaker, fitting things in here and there when you’ve got the time and/or energy? Not that there’s a right or a wrong way, of course! These details are up to you. They way you care for your home is a personal matter, and the method in which you choose do so is more of a reflection of your personality than your ability to organize a closet or scrub a tub. I am someone who prefers to do certain things on certain days to break up my work so it’s more manageable, simplified, and enjoyable. I crafted this Daily Rhythm for Weekly Chores to help me flow during the week, serving as a daily reminder to slow down and root myself in presence amid the rushing chaos of life, and sometimes, life at home. It helps me, and perhaps it can help you, too.
Chores are notorious for getting slammed, being called “drudgery” (among other choice words) and creating resentment within the home. For these reasons and more, they tend to get bad rap. I mean, I get it to some extent, given that they are indeed repetitive, require little attention to complete, and are often done behind the scenes and between the lines, therefore without much appreciation. But why must we complain, complain, complain about them? What if instead, we chose to see chores differently? Yes, that would require some work on our part, but isn’t it worth it for the things we do everyday? I think so. Why not see these ordinary things we have to do within our home, as extraordinary things we get to do within our home? Who says we cannot change the lens? Or at least take the time to reframe how we choose to see home care from time to time?
It is for some of these reasons I’ve mentioned above (and more, I am quite sure) that many people tend look down on chores and end up cursing them in the process. While I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anyone get exceptionally excited about moping floors and peeling goo off the walls, I do think that attitude and intention is everything when it comes to doing anything, as it forms the way we see the world thereby shaping our experiences as we move through life.
This applies to chores too, mundane or otherwise. In light of this, it has been our focus as parents to help our three kids understand that caring for our home with mindfulness is another meaningful way we are caring for both ourself and our family. It takes a shift in perspective, but once you see how home care = self care, work done within the home becomes work done for the home and those who live there, therefore becoming more of a priority and less of a burden. And this doesn’t mean that your house should always be tidy and void of dust bunnies, no no no. What it means is that when you view your home, you can choose to do so with intentionality and gratitude, thus holding space to see the environment that you live in as a place that will nourish and nurture you, if you choose nourish and nurture it.
Homes are more than containers for our belongings and a place to rest our heads: they are a part of us, and can be tremendously life-giving if we open up to see them this way. This is a gift we can give our kids, and they are waiting to lend a hand. The sacred relationship one build’s with their home can either help or hurt, and showing our little ones the value in caring for their environment is a tangible way to teach this. You do not need to clean all the time becoming a martyr in your home to achieve such lessons. In fact, please don’t. I beg you. Home should be a place of work, play, and rest. Instead, choose to talk about chores in a positive tone, make them fun, and if you like, create a daily rhythm around such tasks to help remind and move you through them. You and your family can work together to create a nurturing space to grow and thrive in, and while small and seemingly insignificant, chores can and will provide everyday nourishment.
You’ve taken a moment to consider how you handle chores, but what about your kids? What role do they play in the daily or weekly rhythm of life at home? Perhaps you have little ones who are only able to toss soft toys in a basket, or maybe your little ones are more like little adults, inching towards independence and not too far off from making a home of their own? With age comes responsibility, along with the physical ability to handle and do more things. If you are finding that your home lacks a flow or rhythm with respect to home care, or maybe you feel that too much time and energy is being devoted to figuring out who does what when, you may find that this chore wheel can help.
It’s fun for kids to help create, and simplifies matters by taking the questing out of it. Each day is assigned one, two, or three chores (age appropriate) and each week, a helpful action. You spin the wheel each morning, and designate a certain time of day for your little one(s) to do their chores. It’s really that simple and adaptable. The goal is to help shape the family view of chores as a means of self and environmental care, with simple and helpful ways everyone in the family can chip in. In time, you’ll find that your kids will begin to sync with their daily rhythm, eventually doing their work on their own when they get a certain age. Below are the steps to make one, but know that what you choose to write on your little one’s chore wheel is entirely up to your family’s values, the needs of your home, and perhaps most importantly, their abilities.
Make a Daily Rhythm Chore Wheel for Kids
- watercolor paper
- mini paper fasteners
Step One: Have your little ones cover the watercolor paper with colorful designs, swirling the paint and water to create a plaster-like background. Let the paper dry.
Step Two: Using a plate as a stencil, draw a large circle on the watercolor paper and cut it out. Do this twice so you have two identical circles of watercolor paper.
Step Three: Trim one of the circles 1-2 inches around the edge, creating space to write the days of the week. On the trimmed circle, cut out a shape in the piece of a pie with the point facing the center. See my photos above for an example.
Step Four: With scrap watercolor paper, cut a small circle about 3 inches in diameter. This will be the center circle. Stack the circles so the largest one is on the bottom, the pie cut out circle in the middle, and the smallest one on the top. Fasten them together with a paper fastener by poking it through all three circles.
Step Five: On the outer circle, write the days of the week, spaced evenly. Draw an arrow above the pie shape, and turn it, writing chores on the largest circle in the blank space. Move through the days of the week, moving the second circle as you go. See chore guide below for age appropriate ideas.
Step Six: On the smallest circle, write 5-6 helpful actions your little one can do from week two week. I choose things like setting the table, clearing the table, and feeding Gus, for example. You will rotate this every Monday.
Step Seven: You’ll notice some stars above. Those stand for free days where the kids get to choose their chore or helpful action. I placed several around the rhythm wheel to keep things fresh and to give them freedom in choosing how they want to help that day.
Step Eight: Decorate and write on the middle circle, adding the name of who it belongs to, and anything else you’d like.
Step Nine: To use, rotate the middle circle each day to reveal new chores, and rotate the smallest top circle every new week or month to reveal new helpful actions. You can change these easily by making new circles as the seasons change and your little ones grow.
And lastly, here is an age appropriate chore guide to give you some ideas if you are wondering how your little one can help. I have yet to make Alfie’s, but he will have one simple task a day, something he demanded once he saw his big brother and sister getting a rhythm wheel! 😉
Age Appropriate Chore Guide
- Water plants with pre-measured amounts
- Put toys away in baskets or bins or oh shelves
- Gather diapers or other small items
- Throw trash in the waste bucket
- Put pillows on bed
- Spray table after mealtime
- Pick weeds
- Meal prep with safe chopper and supervision
- Put dirty clothes in hamper
- Mix ingredients in bowls
2-3 Years (+ all the above):
- Dust with socks on hands
- Wipe spills
- Stack books
- Water garden
- Sort laundry into piles
- Carry light grocery bags in from car
- Clear dishes after mealtime
- Chop food with supervision
- Take scraps to compost
- Gather eggs from coop
4-5 years (+ all the above):
- Set table
- Bring in mail
- Match socks
- Feed family pet
- Put clean silverware and other reachable dishes away
- Pick out clothes for the next day
- Fold blankets and towels
- Pick up bedroom
- Scrub dirty dishes
- Wipe dirty walls, doors, cupboards
6-7 years (+ all the above):
- Empty trash bins
- Clear and clean the table after mealtime
- Dust and help polish wood furniture
- Fold laundry (as well as they are able) and help put away
- Make their bed
- Take laundry to designated rooms
- Sweep messes
- Wash windows
- Help prepare lunches
- Help organize drawers
Is this rhythm wheel something your family will use? And if your little ones do chores, how does that look in your home?
Veronica - I am happy to see I am doing it right with my 18months old boy. Thank you for sharing the next steps we can go through: cleaning dust with socks is brilliant! 🙏🏼
Kirsten - My 18 month old LOVES LOVES LOVES doing chores. I don’t have a chore chart for her cause she’s the only one and she just helps me with whatever I’m doing. She loves “folding” clothes, pushing laundry into the dryer or putting it into the hamper, “sweeping” (my mom gave me the idea to put a tape square on the floor so she can try to get stuff into one area – she’s a bit young yet but I love the idea), throwing things away in the trash or compost, and helping me vacuum by pushing around the canister.
Christine - My kids have always done chores alongside me, from their first interest in folding laundry to the tiny broom and dustpan we bought so they could sweep the kitchen themselves. As they are now 6 and 8, they’re quite useful to have around, but now they tend to complain over their assignments. We switched from a weekly chore chart with stickers or funny faces to a daily, 10-minute tidying time. We play three upbeat songs – The Jackson Five works well for this! – and we practice looking around to see what needs cleaning, sometimes our own rooms, sometimes laundry. I’m sure I’ll wander back and forth between ways to organize my home, but for now this is exciting and working for us. I love your beautiful charts, however, and, really, any charts at all. Checking off a few boxes makes me feel so productive!
Jenn - My 5 yo son has a chart that he made. I thought 5 chores for his 5 years he’s accumulated on this fine earth, but he wanted more! We do pay him for chores (which is probably why he asked for more work.)
The biggest earner is $0.25 which is to bring in the empty trashcan from the street on garbage day and feed the cat, both weekly tasks. Once a week the family does a big toy room cleanup together. He has several daily tasks as well, setting the table, dirty laundry in the bin, and making his bed. It keeps the momentum for him AND me. Once his coin jar is full he can spend half and save half. He’s currently saving for tickets to a water park this summer. Counting coins is a great math exercise. Just wash your gross hands when done!
Seeing your ideas for toddlers sparked some ideas on how we can get our daughter involved as well. She loves to help and I can see how I’ve just done it myself for speed’s sake instead of taking the learning opportunity.
April Best - This is such a beautiful way to organize chores. Thank you so much for sharing!
HOMESCHOOL BASICS - ROUTINES, RULES, AND RESOURCES - WITH LOVE - […] The chore wheel I refer to is here! […]
How to Get Everything Done as a Mom | Kid Safe - […] We have a chore wheel in the kitchen that gets spun every day, and we have a limit of 2 chores per person per day. That way, nearly everything (or actually everything) does get done every day. […]