Wednesday, September 27, 2006

WFMW Classic - Children's Chore Helper

Hello ladies! Welcome WFMW - Classics Edition!

Today's tip was originally posted back in May. I debated on whether or not to post Get Real Potty Training, but I figured this might have wider appeal to a new crop of WFMW ladies who might not be ready for such a delicate subject on our first meeting!

If you're feeling brave, you can browse my sidebar for that one, and for a few other WFMW's of yore.

Thanks once again to Shannon at Rocks In My Dryer for hosting Works For Me Wednesday. Don't you just love her?

My tip this week is adapted from Bonnie’s Household Organizer, by Bonnie McCullough, my favorite author for homemaking and family organization.

This is a simple and fun way to teach children what they need to do to get ready for the day.

Instead of using charts (which tend to get lost or forgotten at our house!), we taught our preschoolers to use their fingers!

There is one “job” per finger. We like to use the word “job,” as it sounds more important and less tedious than “chore.”

The child holds out her hand and puts down a finger as the job is completed. If there are any fingers left, she immediately knows there must be a job left before the rest of the day can begin.

The morning “jobs” for a preschooler around here are:

Face (wash face and hands)
Teeth (brush teeth)
Hair (brush hair)
Bed (make bed)
Dressed (get dressed)

In the beginning, I made two charts, one for the morning and one for the evening and posted them at eye level for the kids. Mine are just 4x6 index cards mounted on colored cardstock. You will want to laminate them because they will be touched by sticky fingers many times a day!

After a while they did’t need to look at the chart and could just use their fingers to remember what to do.

Here’s the morning one.

The evening chart (on black cardstock with a pic of a moon) has been lost over the years, but has these five “jobs”:

Toys (pick up toys)
Story and Pray


  1. It’s easiest for little ones if you use just one word to help remember the job. When the child is small, the word “bed” might just mean pull up the covers with Mommy. As the child gets older, the word “bed” also means clean the bedroom.
  2. As the kids got older we combined the Teeth and Hair to leave one finger for “Morning Chore” such as feeding the dog, which we rotate weekly.

This is a fun and easy way to help your little one take responsibility (Work Before Play). It has made mornings go so much more smoothly around here for years!

Even my 2 1/2 yr old can hold out her pudgy little hand for her "DOBTH" (jobs)!

Preschool Activities, Chores for Children, Parenting


Jenn said...

Thanks Katherine!
that is so neat.... ;) hey, you have a pretty high-tech blog...LOL...compared to mine! I like how it's set up and you have the tags below your posts. Did you design it yourself, or did you have help?


Kelly Curtis said...

This is really excellent. I love the tip! I think part of the reason this works so well is it's visual. My WFMW is about autolink comments.

My new address:

annie said...

Good ideas! I will definitely use this.

Beck said...

That's so smart! I'm getting out paper and markers and doing that with my crew after school!

Anonymous said...

I love this idea! I will begin implementing it TODAY! You just gave us a craft idea for this afternoon!

Jenn @ Knee-Deep in Munchkin Land said...

I loved the idea then and I love it now!! Although we're not quite there yet; I know we'll be using a similar technique very soon.

Right now, chores just consist of her doing what we tell her to do. Picking up toys and brushing her teeth are about it right now. =)

moremorses said...

I've been reading your blog for a few months now and finally bought my own Bonnie book...but I'm only on Chapter 2. Thanks for the ideas!

Nettie said...

We are still using this and loving it! Although there is no actual visual chart anymore. My girls can still use their fingers and remember all their chores. We have hand chores for morning, for after school and for Saturday. It works great!

Joyfulness said...

Oh thank you, thank you. I think I can do this! I have three little ones, and I am continually struggling with setting a morning and evening routine. This sounds so simple and it's worth a try!