Updated Chore List for Our Large Family

Having twelve people living in our home it is important for everyone to pitch in and help with everyday tasks.  This allows us to serve others, do fun activities, projects and trips.  I wrote about the importance of chores, how we train our children to work and what types of chores we give at what ages in my post Daily Chores.

We rarely switch chores around.  We generally do it only as little ones and middle ones get old enough to take on more responsibility and during those times of “restructuring” we try to rotate the children so that they get experience with different tasks.

Our idea is that we would rather have them doing the same chore each day, week, month, so that they are good at doing it and we know that they know how to do it, so our standards can be pretty high. Whenever we switch chores it takes a while for everyone to learn their new duties and takes training to teach them, so for us it is just easier to keep things the same

We have 3 separate chore assignments during the day: Before Breakfast Chores, Regular Chores and Table Chores. Before breakfast chores happen before breakfast, duh. Regular chores are done  immediately after breakfast and table chores after dinner each evening.  (For table chores see our chore assignments from last year.)

You can see how these chore times fit into our daily schedule and also get a glimpse of what our schedule was like with 4 kids 3 years and younger.

Before Breakfast

Scheduled for 30 minutes each morning. During that time each child  makes their bed, cleans their room, gets dressed, brushes teeth and hair and then:

Amber (13) – Makes breakfast
Kaitlin (12) -Cleans downstairs bathroom
Matthew (11) – Empties top and bottom rack of dishwasher
Alyssa (9) – Feeds dog and fish and tidies front porch and back deck
Carter (8) – Vacuums two upstairs area rugs (in family and living rooms)
Sadie (6) – Sets table and helps with breakfast
Savannah (5) – Makes mom and dad’s bed
Colby (3) – Empties silverware rack of dishwasher
Nicholas (2) – Empties trash cans from bathrooms
Isabella (3 weeks) – Prevents mommy from getting a shower

Regular Chores

(30 minutes immediately after breakfast)  Most children have an area for which they are responsible.  They tidy and do basic cleaning tasks everyday, in addition they have a specific deeper cleaning task each day.  The goal is that everyone is able to complete all of their tasks within thirty minutes.

Amber (13) – Clean kitchen
Kaitlin (12) – Clean master bathroom AND Monday – wash windows, Tuesday – sweep and clear cobwebs off front porch and back deck, Wednesday – clear and dust rain gutter bookshelves, Thursday – clean out fridge, Friday – wash sliding glass doors.
Matthew (11) – Downstairs – tidy, dust and sweep
Alyssa (9) – Family room – tidy, dust and sweep
Carter (8) – Monday, Wednesday and Friday – vacuum downstairs.  Tuesday and Thursday – vacuum and sweep in kid’s bedrooms and vacuum stairs.
Sadie (6) – Dining room – clear and wipe table, tidy, dust, vacuum and sweep
Savannah (5) – Kid’s bathroom – wipe down mirror, sinks, tub, and toilet, shake rugs outside and sweep floor
Colby (3) – Living room, entryway and hall – tidy, dust and sweep (using the dust pan and brush)
Nicholas (2) – help mommy
Isabella (3 weeks) – Wreak havoc with our plans and keep mommy from getting bored.

Interested in what our chore assignments were a year ago or what table chore assignments are?  Questions?

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25 Responses to Updated Chore List for Our Large Family
  1. Amanda
    July 28, 2010 | 9:00 am

    Can I have Isabella’s Chores ? I love hers. 7 days till I have two of those lil sweeties with those chores too.


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Wow, my kids have prayed for twins since they found out that some people have two babies at one time. I hope that things go well and that you have the help that you need.


    Amanda Reply:

    Thank you. We have twins on both sides of our family. My boys didn’t know anything about 2 babies before. They are 5 and 3 and extremely excited for two sisters. Maybe your kids with get theirs next time.


  2. Nicki
    July 28, 2010 | 9:49 am

    That’s the way to do it! I haven’t washed dishes in a LONG time, and I’m not missing it! We have a schedule similar to yours (i.e. different cleaning chores for different days of the week). It sure helps to keep everything clean.


  3. Jenn
    July 28, 2010 | 11:23 am

    Oh, funny. 🙂 Laughing at Isabella. She must be very proficient at her chores already! My 3-wk old is pretty good at hers already, too. 😉


  4. Jenn
    July 28, 2010 | 11:54 am

    Wow! I can’t even imagine what’s it’s like to get that much housework done in one day and every day -and not even do any of it myself! I would have to send my 3 kids (3yrs and under) to Grandma’s and then work all day hoping that baby in the womb doesn’t protest 🙂 Ah, someday, someday!


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Yes, your time is coming.

    Another thing to realize is that we NEED to do all of that each day, with 12 people in the house, 11 of them in it all day, it gets dirty quickly. 🙂 It is still much easier now than when I had to do everything myself.


  5. Kim
    July 28, 2010 | 12:28 pm

    WOW! You have an army! That’s awesome.


  6. Sarah
    July 28, 2010 | 2:42 pm

    Any thoughts on starting older children with chores? We started home schooling just over a year ago. We didn’t take the eldest two out as they are in the last few years at school so they don’t have much time to help. Our younger children aged 10,3 and 1 are home educated. The little ones are quite keen but the 10 year old finds chores difficult as he didn’t have to do much when in school (he didn’t get home until late and then had homework). We’ve been working up gradually and he certainly helps more than a year ago but nothing like the amount that your children do.
    Would be grateful for ideas.


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:


    I would just start out slow, make your expectations clear, and be consistent.

    Younger children are always more keen on doing chores than those children in the middle years. I find that our kids have a hard time with chores between the ages of 7 and 10 (depending on the child). Girls seem to ‘get it’ earlier than boys. 🙂


  7. Jerilyn
    July 28, 2010 | 5:37 pm

    lol at Isabella’s chores!


  8. Deirdre
    July 28, 2010 | 9:25 pm

    Have you ever read the “Country Bunny and the Golden Slippers”? A non-Jesus “Easter story”- about the only one we own. It was a favorite of mine when I was small. The mother bunny has over 20 bunnies and they each have jobs.
    Thank you for sharing your lists.


  9. Sara Greco
    July 29, 2010 | 1:10 am

    Well, this is good timing for me! I need to get going on being more intentional with our time. My oldest will be starting 1st grade in the fall (officially homeschooling now) and baby #5 will be arriving shortly thereafter (Nov.), we’ve got some work to do! I’ve been enjoying learning about your family and friends (4 moms)! Thanks so much!


  10. Mom To A Four Year Old
    July 29, 2010 | 5:20 am

    Wow! Looks like everyone will get their share. I only have one daughter and it’s really very difficult to get her to do her chores. It gets to my nerves, but your post reminded me that if you can lead an army, I can convince my only daughter to do her share. Sigh!


  11. Serenity
    July 29, 2010 | 1:02 pm

    I asked my husband to read this post and when he finished I asked him what he thought. He said “I think our kids need more chores!!!”. We have been working on the “chore” issue for a while so this was helpful. My biggest issue was wondering what was reasonable to ask of my kiddos at certain ages. This gave me great ideas so thank you!!!!!!
    PS: Are you going to be writing about homeschooling with a newborn? I have a two month old and he REALLY like to nurse:) I have never tried homeschooling while nursing and I am uncertain about how well it will work. Any tips?


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    That is a good question Serenity. Isabella also nurses a lot and to partially answer your question we haven’t started back to our full homeschool schedule yet. I told Mark the other day that I feel a bit overwhelmed at everything I have to do.

    That said, generally homeschooling with a nursing baby isn’t too bad. My schedule goes something like this.

    Listen to beginning reader read while nursing the baby.

    Read aloud to big kids while nursing the baby.

    Read aloud to little kids while nursing the baby.

    Answer math questions while nursing the baby.

    I’ll mention this topic to the other 4 moms, since 3 of us have newborns it may be a good time to cover this topic.


  12. Alice
    July 29, 2010 | 2:49 pm

    Froggy went a courtin he did go…. on a walk with some kids. Thanks for the challenge


  13. Leslie Blair
    July 29, 2010 | 4:44 pm

    How do you think it would be different if your three eldest were boys? Would you teach them to cook and meal plan?


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Good question Leslie. We have some good friends who have 9 kids and only one is a girl (their third). Kara says that her boys do menu plan and cook.

    Also, Matthew (our 11 year old) has had making breakfast as his chore and Carter (8) often makes lunch, so they do cook and work in the kitchen. If we had more outside work that they could do we might make more of an effort to have them do those types of chores, but we live in a neighborhood and have a yard that is too steep for an 11 year old to mow.


  14. Jeanne
    August 3, 2010 | 12:42 pm

    PLEASE HELP ME! We are a Christian family where most of my children are grown. WE adopted a little girl who is now 12 and hse has been such a blesseng (has been with us since 6 1/2years old). I am trying to train her to become a young lady and she is fighting me tooth and nail. I have to break her bad habits without breaking her spirit but do not know how. SHe is so strong willed and refuses to conform. Please help me to know how to get her to be obiedient and to grow in gods word for this. She wants to rule the home and I feel. How do I stop this.


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Hi Jeanne,

    I’m probably not going to be much help since I don’t know you or your daughter. I would suggest that you seek counsel from your husband, pray, pray, pray and follow the principles laid out for us in Scripture. God tells us that His Word is sufficient and He promises to bless our obedience.


    Mom of 6 Reply:

    Make a list of what your 12 yr old does well [put it on the fridge!]. And – heap on praises even if it is a small thing. (I have several strong willed children, When I intentionally do this, it does help.
    Example: if I notice “wow, you listened to mommy, high five! Thanks for listening” … then there tends to be more listening).
    Example #2: “Wow, you made your bed!! Doesn’t it feel good to have bed made nicely?”
    Footnote: sometimes it is *very* hard to not focus on all that is done wrong, or all that is not done to the extent mommy desires.


  15. […] morning after chore time and before I tackle school work with the older children I spend some time with our youngest […]

  16. Jessica
    September 1, 2011 | 2:59 pm

    I would suggest seeing a counselor, for her, or if you want to be more discreet, for you. I have recently started seeing a therapist (focus in cognitive behavior therapy) and it has helped me so much, and I am surprised to see that it has helped me teach my difficult 5 year old how to think more positively and sort out his feelings.


  17. Jessica
    September 1, 2011 | 3:02 pm

    that suggestion was meant for Jeanne, but I hit the wrong ‘reply’ choice.


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