Changing of the chores (Part 2)

Did anyone notice in the previous post that Ella has been assigned the laundry chore?

As in The Laundry.

All of it.

Let me back up a minute to say that for the most part, we try to keep the same chores for our children. For instance, Isaias has been doing the garbage chore for a good long time, and I hope he'll still be doing it when he's a teenager. I like the whole idea of the kids taking ownership and responsibility over a particular area and diligently working at it, day after day- making it their own.

Ella has, up until now, been my primary helper in the kitchen (sweeping, emptying the dishwasher) along with her other responsibilities. I love that. But I also want her (and our other girls, as they get older) to become familiar with other duties around the house.

Hence, the laundry.

For this season, anyway- Mark and I have appointed Ella our Laundry Manager. Her responsibilities include sorting, washing, drying, and keeping the laundry room orderly. [The rest of us are still helping her fold, at least for now.]

It took me about two days, standing by her side, to instruct her how to work the washer and dryer. For a few days following that, she'd call me in occasionally to ask a question. But for weeks, now- she's been doing all of our laundry- three loads a day- and managing it quite well. At some point last week I scanned the laundry room to find the laundry ALL DONE. Empty hampers! And I raved about how she was better than mommy, even, at getting caught up on the laundry!

The only challenge for her has been figuring out how much laundry to put in, and whether what she loaded was a 'medium' or 'large' or 'extra large' load. But that knowledge will come with experience.

The only challenge for me (aside from being bested by my eight-year old in the laundry department ;)) has been something I've apparently taken for granted all these years: When you do the laundry, you know where things are! [And when you don't, you have no idea.] On several occasions lately, I have wanted a particular item of clothing for myself or one of the kids, and I had no idea if I should be looking in the hampers waiting to be washed, in the washer or dryer, on the clothesline, or in the clean hampers. Ella is getting better at remembering when she did what, so that's helpful.

I am so thankful for children who help with chores!

P.S. Ella *loves* her new chore!


  1. Go Ella, it never occured to me to have Journey doing the laundry like that. Interesting idea.
    I have 4 colored baskets in the laundry area where I fold right out of the dryer and put in each basket. Each morning the kids put their clothes away. I could definately get her to do the folding once in awhile.

    We do the same things with chores over the summer. It helps to have them solidly in a habit before the formal learning starts again in the fall. Just this weekend I wrote out a summer schedule (even though it's half way over)to get us back on track with habits and some diligence. My Isaac is the recycling man in our house. He has just started pulling the bins in from the street..what a little man :o)
    Have a great day friend.

  2. You said you wanted your girls to become familiar with other chores about the house, but what about your son? It is just as important for sons to be able to do laundry, cook, clean the kitchen etc... as it is for daugthers. What if God calls him to a life of singleness, he'll have to do it all himself anyway. Or what if he is married and his wife becomes ill during a pregnancy and goes on full bedrest.

  3. Sandi~
    I'm fully impressed that you fold as you pull the clothes out of the dryer. My kids fold everything and put their own things away, too- but we're not nearly on top of it as *that*! :)

    (GO, Isaac!)

    My sons will become familiar with other chores around the house! They already work with me on cleaning the kitchen, and someday will know how to do laundry and the basics of cooking (they help alongside of me now, as all the kids do.)

    My primary motivation for teaching our girls is this particular passage:

    That doesn't mean my boys won't know how to do other chores in order to teach them responsibility, and to help serve our family or theirs someday, but it does mean that I will be more focused with my girls on such things!

  4. My link isn't working, I see... so I'll just cut and paste the passage here:

    Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

    [emphasis mine]

  5. Oh my... what a dream! I can't wait to have help with the laundry!

    I just switched the kids chores up a bit too. Jack is now in charge of garbage, and Delaney is in charge of watering flowers and sweeping the front porch. They LOVE their new jobs. When people come to our house, the kids ask our guests to watch them do their chores. Ha! We sure know how to show people a good time. ;)

  6. Oh, and thanks so much for your sweet comment on my blog the other day. I do miss blogging. I hope to get back to it soon!

  7. That takes some pretty amazing attention to detail. I imagine that you probably have rules about your shirts, like this one needs to hang dry, this one can go in the dryer. Amy has a lot of hang dry only shirts and it seems like one mistake and the shirt is ruined.

    That would be too much pressure for me.

  8. Jodi~
    That is the.cutest.thing that they want to show everyone! :) So proud of themselves! I love it! Kids are so great.

    Nah. Our laundry isn't that complicated. ON PURPOSE: Hardly anything we own needs to hang or be washed specially, and if it does, I keep it out and do it myself in the evenings. But that's very RARE. So Ella might not like doing the laundry at your house very much. :)

  9. I did catch the part where you said Ella was doing the laundry and have been thinking on it the past few days..."did she really mean all the laundry? Wash sort wash and dry? Put in the soap?" My oldest is almost 9 and I have failed quite a bit in chore training (taking the time to make sure they do the job and know how to do it well) It got me thinking that he is most likely for more capable of doing things then I let him get away with. Although I don't throwing laundry in the mix with out requiring regular responsibility with other chores would be a good idea, I am inspired to be more diligent in teaching him and my others so soon I can require (and maybe just maybe he can enjoy) doing the laundry. I also want to train up my daughters this way and believe there is a bit differant call for them in this area from my sons, however my two sons are the oldest, so until their sisters can do a bit more than make messes, they will get lots of training! Thanks so much for your blog, I enjoy and am encouraged by it SO much!

  10. So great that Ella is doing this. I remember when I first started washing & drying clothes. It gave me a sense of maturity and responsibility that I needed and wanted. How great that she has an area of her home to look after and take pride in.

  11. "mommybarnhart" :)~
    It's the greatest thing! I think chore training around here picked up for me when it became NECESSARY: as in, I couldn't do it all by myself anymore! But I am so thankful I did because now we have children who cheerfully serve our family and take pride in it! [And little ones who ask for their jobs and want to help, too!]

    Just think: if you train your oldest, you can have HIM train your younger ones with minor assistance from you! ;)

    Thank you for your sweet comments about the blog, too- you are so encouraging. And it is comments like yours that keep me going during seasons where I think I may just close down the blog altogether. :) Thank you.

    Yes. I think that's why she likes it so much. It is fully "hers" and she loves being the one to organize it her way and be responsible for the whole of it. It's fun to see! :)

  12. Yay Ella! It is so great when a chore really is a help! We have some chores that are the beginnings of chores someday being helpful and others that truly do lighten my load.

    Ava loves to help me with the laundry and knows how to run the machines (something my boys do not yet know). And just this morning Aidan, Luke and Ethan made their own eggs & toast. Hooray!

  13. Wonderful work, Ella!

    I wonder if she knows just how much she blesses you with this gift of hers?!
    Personally, I'm sure I don't praise my oldest enough when he has replaced me in a certain task that is serving our family. I'm going to try to do that more this week. :)

  14. Well I should say "the goal" is fold straight out of the dryer. It doesn't always happen. When I stick to the routine it does cause I am down stairs when I need to be :o)

    I loved how your response to anonymous was simply the truth of scripture. No further explanation needed :o)

    On that thought...both my boys like being in the (kitchen) mixing bowl so maybe they will be chefs one day....or maybe they just really like chocolate chips.

  15. Oh and if you close down your blog..EVER. I will form a revolt :o)

  16. Love the ideas!! My two oldest have basic chores such as setting the table, helping with some of the dishes, picking up toys. I never thought to actually assign and train my children to their own jobs. My husband and I are now working on what jobs we want to give them! Thanks for all of your great ideas!! Just today I was getting stressed, feeling like I could not get everything done around the house and feel like a good mamma to my three little ones- now I will have some help!! :)


  17. Have I mentioned that I LOVE reading about the things you have your children do? Lena sorts the laundry for me, so I hope she'll be queen of the laundry in the future. I love your ideas, and I'm filing them away in my head for later.


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