Pure genius: Kids helping with chores

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Since our kids are over that infant/toddler-must-be-watched-at-all-times phase, we’ve made a habit of keeping toys upstairs, for the most part. Of course, during the day the kids wander downstairs with toys or books, to make a hideout fort under the dining room table or just because they don’t want to let something out of their sight while doing something else. So at the end of they we have them make sure all their toys are taken back upstairs – and as you can imagine, they often miss a few.

It’s been a constant hassle – sweeping up stray legos, stepping on matchbox cars (or vice versa). So we had this great idea that instead of returning their toys to their rooms when we find them, we’ll put them in a clear container that they can see but not touch.

When they want something back, they have to buy it back with a task from the buy-back jar. Here’s our list of tasks – some are easier than others.


Practice karate for 20 minutes
Play outside for 20 minutes
Make your bed
Fold laundry
Vacuum 1 room
Sweep the kitchen
Clean up all the toys in your room
Find toys and books downstairs and put them away
Sweep the hallway
Clean downstairs surfaces (light switches, door handles, window sills) with a wet wipe
Clean the bathroom counter (upstairs) with a wet wipe
Clean one toilet
Sharpen pencils
Clean up someone else’s room
Read a book to Bruiser
Do 20 minutes on IXL (math practice website)

A couple of things to note: we keep non-toxic Seventh Generation all purpose wipes on hand, so I’m not putting a bleach- or ammonia- based cloth in their hands. Bruiser can’t do quite all of these, but he can do most. I put a little red dot on all the things he can do, so when he needs a task I make sure I pull out one with a red dot.

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