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It’s summer…has your tween to teen suddenly morphed into the professional couch potato? 

Vacation hits and we are so thankful the crazy busy school year schedule is over. Most activities wind down. Time is more flexible. We love to see our kids chill. 

Then a week (may be less!) later we are so over it. The professional coach potato has taken residence on the sofa–but only after he has exerted enough energy to crawl out of bed at eleven am.

We look around and see dishes, unmade beds, and feel a little (a lot) annoyed. 

So…how do we get our kids to pitch in during the summer? Here’s one sure fire way to get your kids to do summer chores:

Create a list of jobs to be done each day. These are some items I included on my daily list: Feed the dog, water the flowers, unload the dishwasher, pick up the dog’s poop. Also basic jobs like: straightening one’s bedroom and making the bed were on the list. Once a week I added house keeping items like:  dusting, vacuuming, and cleaning the bathrooms . I also would toss in  jobs I was willing to pay for: weeding, dusting the floorboards, or washing the floors (with the going rate next to the job). 

After creating the The List the masterful lounger must be moved to cooperate. The reality is without proper motivation, no young person is going to hop off the coach and jump into that job pool. Not. A. One.This approach does the trick:

  1. The night before tell all the children everyday there will be some things to accomplish before activities or lounging can take place. This is to insure everyone (including mom) has fun by sharing the household responsibilities.
  2. At the top of the list include how many jobs must be accomplished. For example: 1 small chore (unload dishwasher) 1 big job(vacuum).
  3. The sign up cannot take place until morning and not until one is ready to do the job. (No signing up then slacking off.) The first one out of bed gets his choice of jobs. (The job my kids vied for was unloading the dishwasher.) 
  4. The jobs are subject to inspection,  no substandard work allowed. It may not be a bad idea to have a space where mom checks in and then checks off the accomplished tasks. It’s possible you may need to do some on the job training so your kiddos know what is and isn’t acceptable. 

This was my all time best strategy to get my kids going in the morning. I wanted to train them in being an important part of the family by being a responsible participant in household jobs. Family life includes both fun and function.

I love summer. My kids love summer. By creating this list, we had more time for fun activities and through group effort the jobs got done. There was no mom nagging or kid whining. My kids would even race down the stairs to be able to sign up for the most desired jobs! When they would ask, “Can you take me to…?” or “Can I….?” My answer was always, “Yes, I’d love to after you have taken care of your items on The List.

Happy mom. Happy summer. 


headshot 2015Lori Wildenberg, mom of four young adults, licensed parent-family educator, national speaker, co-author of three parenting books including Raising Big Kids with Supernatural Love. You can find Lori’s books over at Amazon, Barnes and Noble,  or at the 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Store

Lori is currently scheduling for the upcoming 2016-17 school year. Click here to contact Lori for your next event. To find out more hop over to Lori’s website or her ministry page 


Photo credit: theloushe via Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-ND

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Lori Wildenberg

Lori  Wildenberg, is passionate about helping families build connections that last a lifetime. She meets parents where they are with her warmth, transparency, humor, and straight-forward, faith-filled approach. Lori is an author, licensed parent-family educator, co-founder of 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting ministry, lead mentor mom with the Moms Together Facebook Community, national speaker, and parent coach. Her 5th parenting book Messy Parenting: Powerful and Practical Ways to Strengthen Family Connections (New Hope Publishers) will be released in August 2018 and is available for preorder over at Amazon. The Wildenberg home is nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. A perfect day in Lori’s world is a hike with her Tom (her hubby), five kids (four plus a daughter-in-love), and Murphy– the family labradoodle! For more information or to connect with Lori go to www.loriwildenberg.com 

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