Every mom’s spirit gets cluttered with chores sometimes.
We love taking care of our families, but we can hit our limit. We face yet another lunch to pack, or bed to make, or pet to feed, and something inside us rebels—can’t someone else do this, just this once? After all, part of our mommy job is to teach our kids to take care of themselves and their belongings, right? Absolutely. And as Christian Moms, we want to challenge our kids to help us out before our spirits get cluttered and overwhelmed!
One summer, I challenged my “big” kids (then 5 and 9 years old) to learn some new life skills by presenting them with Chore Passports. I explained the process to the kids and they were raring to go. Suddenly, they were excited it was Laundry Day—they couldn’t wait to put away their clothes and fold the towels!
You can make chore passports for your kids, too—
in fact, I have a free printable for you!
The Printable Organizing You Chore Passport
The cover has a space for your child’s photo (or a self-portrait!) so they’ll be ready to go!
The inner pages are dedicated to age-appropriate tasks your kids will learn to complete independently. Each task section lists three steps for you to initial: “Mom taught me how to do this,” “Mom helped me do this,” and “I did this all by myself!”
I’ve also included the “stamps” for you to cut out—you’ve got to have stamps in your passport, after all!—and a fill-in reward certificate for a job well done!
To earn the first set of initials, your kids will watch closely as you showed them exactly how you want the task to be done. The next time, they have to complete the chore with your supervision and occasional assistance. Of course, their “help” will make your chores take longer—but the extra time is totally worth it when they hit the third step! To earn the stamp, your child has to do the job entirely on his or her own, according to “Mom Standards” (which a smart mom knows are flexible according to her kids’ abilities), and from start to finish (including clean-up when appropriate). Once you approved their work, you initialed the page for the last time and gave them a stamp in their passports. Job well done!
The stamp itself is a great reward for young children, but I let my big kids earn rewards with their stamps. An industrious kid could earn an extra hour of computer time with two stamps, a treat at the Dairy Queen (chocolate for Mom, please) with three stamps, or a family trip to the movies with four stamps. The next time I hand out Chore Passports, I’m planning to give them one large reward for a totally completed passport, like a trip to an amusement park. You’ll have to discern what will work best for your family.
The fun family rewards are wonderful, but the best part of the Chore Passport Summer is helping your kids learn life skills they’ll need. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much you enjoy the time you spend with them as they learn their new skills, and by how proud they’ll be that they can make up a bed with clean sheets or pack an overnight bag or wrap a present.
Now, do I require my kids to do these chores every time they come up? No, most of the time I don’t mind my mommy responsibilities, and I don’t want to pile chores on the kids just because I can. But when I’m having a rough day and my spirit is getting cluttered with Why am I always the one who has to do this? or How am I going to get this all done? thoughts, now I know my kids are equipped to jump in and help.
If you’re interested in making Chore Passports for your kids (not your husband, I know it’s tempting, but you must resist), here are some ideas to get you started:
- make a sandwich
- pick up the family room
- change a toilet paper roll
- set or clear the table
- vacuum a room
- feed a pet
- tie their shoes
- dial a phone and use good phone manners
- put clean clothes away
- pack an overnight bag
- weed the flower beds
- floss teeth
- fold a towel load
- clean out the car
- sort coupons
- water plants
- write a thank-you note
- pack a healthy lunch
- wrap a present
- dust a room
- unload the dishwasher
- make up a bed with clean sheets
- take out the trash
- address an envelope
- use phone manners to take a message
- clean a bathroom
- do a load of laundry
- mop the kitchen floor
- mow the lawn
Happy stamping! I hope your passports take you many fun places… at least as far as your favorite ice cream shop.
Giving Thought to Your Ways (a la Proverbs 14:8)
- What are some life skills you’d like your kids to learn?
- What are some chores you’d like to be able to delegate on a busy day?
- What’s the right balance between chores and fun time for your kids?
Get the free printable Organizing You Chore Passport!
Would you like to complete your own chores more efficiently?
Check out my first book, Organizing You
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