Chores for kids in the summer is not the first thing that come to mind when school gets out. There are so many other things to look forward to - great weather, fun outdoor activities, and cookouts. Everyone (including parents!) would rather be doing something - anything - besides summer chores.
Plus there is the added hurdle of everyone's schedule changing. There is no more school, and camps are kicking into high gear. Keeping with a summer schedule that changes every week can be just as tough as keeping the homework and activities manageable the rest of the year.
Do you have this summer challenge with kids and chores at your house?
One of the best ways to deal with it all is to make it fun. Try some of these summer chores for kids ideas and salvage your summer . . .
Cut Back on the Number of Chores. What can you live without doing? The dog is still going to need to be fed, and the dishes have to be cleaned somehow. But does everyone need to make their beds everyday? Can the kitchen floor be swept every other day instead of every day?
If it's going to drive you crazy that it doesn't get done, then that should stay on the list. Otherwise, it might be a good one to take off or make it done less frequently.
Work a Reduced Schedule. If it works for offices to go to a four-day workweek, why not make it work with chores for kids in the summer? There are a couple ways to do this:
Option #1 - Only do chores on certain days of the week. If you have pets, this one would be hard to swing since they need to be fed and maybe walked each day. But otherwise, you can choose 3 days a week when chores get done, and the other 4 days are free.
Option #2 - Only have chores for kids done for a certain amount of time each day - and try to make it the same time every day. This idea works well if you and your kids do best on a routine schedule. You are still limiting how much work they have to do so it doesn't seem to take up the summer, but you are keeping a schedule going that might make it easier to transition back from in the fall.
Turn it Into a Game. Let your imagination run wild - just don't create lots of work with this. Most kids love to play games, and incorporating games within household chores done can work wonders. Here are some quick ideas for you to try:
The Amazing Chore Race. If you have more than one child, you will need to fairly divide up the chores in terms of how long they take to do. Then, get your stopwatch or timer ready to go. Have the kids complete their chores as quickly and completely as they can. Once time runs out, check to see how much and how well things got done. You can make up awards for each child based on what they did (Fastest, Most Creative in Getting Things Done, Most Thorough, etc.) If you only have one child doing chores, write down his time and keep track of "personal bests" for times, cleanest, etc.
Mythbuster Chores for Kids. This one can be a lot of fun. Make a list of common myths or questions about chores like "You'll get germs from touching dirty clothes" or "Which gets soap off better: hot or cold water" and try to disprove them.
Name that Chore. This works best when you have more than one child doing chores. In this game, there are several clues read aloud about a household chore. The first one to guess it can either keep it or give it away. Of course, the game shouldn't result in one kid giving away all her chores so each child will need to know that they have to keep some minimum number of chores (in other words, if there are 6 chores total and she gives away the first 3, she will automatically get to do the next 3.)
Feel free to combine any of these ideas to make them work for you and your family. If you are going to change how many household chores get done or how often they are done, don't forget to update the chore charts or chore contracts. And, if you have great ideas on getting summer chores for kids done, share them with all the other visitors here.