Morning Chores :: How I managed to get my kids moving in the morning on their own

Somewhere around the time when my kids were entering the preschool stage, I realized that our mornings were a mess.  They were staying in their pajamas too long, forgetting to brush their teeth, watching too much TV and generally falling into the undisciplined, stay-at-home stereotype that I badly wanted to avoid.

So I came up with a super simple list of what each kid needed to do every morning.  And I called it “morning chores” because that sounded better than “get your shiny hiney off the couch.”  In the years since then, we’ve seen lots of charts and plans come and go, but the morning chores are still going strong.  So I thought I’d write about it, in case this idea can be helpful to any of you.

Morning Chores

Am I the only one with a serious shoes-by-the-door crisis?

What do you want your kids to do every morning to start their day?  Write those things down on a piece of paper (cute printable or chalkboard paint not required, thank you Jesus).  Post them somewhere in the house. Choose an approximate time you want them to start and finish.  Then each morning, make it happen.  This will take lots of consistency and repetition. (I’ve decided about 90% of good parenting is comprised of those two words).  But over time, all you will need to do is say, “Okay, precious cherubs, it’s time to start your morning chores.”  To which they will respond with, “Yes dearest parent” and skip away, whistling while they work.  Well, something like that.  But seriously, the day will come when they will even start this process without your nagging prompting.

Want some ideas?  Here’s what my kids’ lists look like:

My almost 12 year old

  • brush teeth, hair, wash face
  • get dressed, put away pj’s
  • eat breakfast
  • sweep kitchen floor
  • clean off school table
  • clean up shoes by the front door
  • 25 sit-ups, 15 push-ups, 25 jumping jacks
  • read one chapter of the Bible and pray

My 10 year old

  • brush teeth, gel hair
  • get dressed, put away pj’s
  • eat breakfast
  • take out the kitchen trash
  • empty the dishwasher
  • pick up the kids’ bathroom
  • 20 sit-ups, 20 push-ups, 25 jumping jacks
  • read 10 Bible verses, pray

My 7 year old

  • brush teeth, gel hair
  • get dressed, put away pj’s
  • eat breakfast
  • clean breakfast table and chairs
  • clean up remotes, cords, controllers, games, dvd’s
  • 15 sit-ups, push-ups and jumping jacks
  • read 5 Bible verses, pray

My 5 year old

  • brush teeth and hair
  • get dressed, put away pj’s
  • eat breakfast
  • empty the silverware from dishwasher
  • push in the dining room chairs
  • put away blankets and lovies that were brought out of bed

My 3 year old

  • brush teeth
  • eat breakfast
  • put away blankets and lovies that were brought out of bed

Morning choresSince my kids generally like to greet the rising sun, this happens between 8 and 9am around here.  And it really helps if we don’t watch TV in the morning.  The only thing kids hate to hear more than “do your morning chores” is “turn off the TV and do your morning chores.”

Beyond helping us get our mornings started, I’m hoping that these routines will have long-term benefits.  Wouldn’t it be great  if they got in the habit of starting off the day with good hygiene, exercise and worship?  Isn’t that a pretty cool benefit of parenting?  Being able to instill good qualities in the next generation, no matter how basic?

Now if only I would make a similar list for myself….



  1. Our system is pretty similar and it does work great. Why didn’t I think of adding exercise and Bible reading?! Genius! Making some new non-cute lists today!


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