Tag Archives: Chores

Schedules and Chores

August heralds the start of a new school year for most homeschooling moms. While your focus has necessarily been researching and choosing school books, there are two other practical foundations that play a major role in how successful your school year turns out to be. 

Those stabilizing pillars are a solid schedule and chore system. Without these, you both fritter and waste time that is critical to keeping up with school. You bog yourself down in daily household upkeep rather than having big chunks of time for education. 

The homeschool mom doesn’t have the luxury of starting through her day one task at a time, hoping it all gets done. She needs to hit the floor, knowing what should happen and when, not only for herself but for her children as well. With a plan, she can be as efficient as possible – with time and chores. She is no longer simply cook, housekeeper, and laundress, but also school teacher. That is a full-time job added on to another full-time job.

Some try to muddle through without a schedule and chore system, but they are usually the first to say that it is truly a muddle. I believe that the schedule and chore system is the undergirding to a powerful and satisfying homeschool year and well worth the investment in them on the front end.

The Schedule

“Schedule” may be an intimidating word and thought to you. It might bring back memories of your experience in public school with bells ringing and tardiness noted. Be assured that the homeschool schedule isn’t as rigid as that, but a written plan that is followed setting aside time for the vital parts of your day. 

If you don’t write your plan down but try to keep it in your head, it easily gets lost in all the other things you store in your mind. Paper and pencil or a computer – either works for documenting a schedule. 

You could be surprised at how quickly making a schedule goes. Just sit down to the task and begin putting the various pieces in place. You are probably living a schedule already for bedtime, wake-up time, and mealtime. Write that down on your schedule. Next fill in personal Bible time, chores, and the details of school. Then see what time is available to plug in extras. Simple!

The Chore Plan

As a homeschool mom, you won’t have time for as many housekeeping chores as the stay-at-home mom whose children are in school. Plus it is critical that you have as much help as possible from your children. That means being purposeful, efficient, and delegating. A chore plan is your tool toward those goals.

To simplify your chore planning start by documenting what is already happening in your home as far as chore assignments. After that, figure out what other chores your children are capable of doing and assign them. Write it all down so that everyone knows what is expected of them and give chores particular spots in your schedule. Set standards for the chore work. Figure out consequences for not doing the work or not doing it to the standard. Don’t forget to inspect the chores. 

Starting with the End in Mind

Finishing a homeschool year having accomplished what you set out to do is extremely satisfying. Reaching summer with books unfinished is disappointing and discouraging. A schedule and chore plan will facilitate your homeschooling success. The effort you put into a schedule and chore system before you begin your school year pays off. You are likely to reach the end of the school year having achieved your academic goals. Make it your priority now!

If you need more help with a schedule or chore systemManagers of Their Homes and Managers of Their Chores is designed to walk you through those processes step by step. 

Whose Work Is It?

Last month we discussed the tremendous value of a family chore team. That generated a question related specifically to those with older children, but certainly, those with younger ones will someday be in this position as well. 

Here is what was asked:

Managers of Their Chores was a helpful guide while raising my children. We are in a new season with young adults (ages 17 and almost 19) living at home while taking college classes, the oldest working very part-time, and the other pursuing interests related to her future career. Contributing to the household tasks and chores has taken quite a backseat on everyone’s priority list. I am worn out and sometimes feeling taken advantage of. Can you please share how the household responsibilities are managed now that you have adult children living at home? — Sandra

As my homeschooling duties lessened first with a couple of graduated children, then just older children homeschooling, and finally homeschooling was finished, I had time available. This was time that had been utilized homeschooling that then allowed me to pick up more of the household chores that were previously shared. 

Communication and evaluation of time usage are critical at this stage in family life. Perhaps this verse is a great guideline in a family for chore distribution: “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13).

We want our children to own responsibility in the home, and we all want to serve one another in love. Those who have fewer obligations in work, ministry, and study should then have more time to invest in household chores. 

I remember when our first son started a courtship. He invested much time in that relationship. We worked to make sure his chores could be flexible as to when they were accomplished. For example, he had the chore of unloading the dishwasher after dinner but before breakfast. That could be done whenever he chose to fit it into his life in the evening or early morning.

For several years, Jesse was the one who cleaned the boys’ bathroom. Each boy had that responsibility for a season of years, Jesse being the youngest of the five boys to end up with it. When all the boys were working full time, but the girls weren’t, we chose to take that job from Jesse and move it to the girls. That was not a decision Jesse asked for but one the girls offered. Jesse was still our lawn mower and could plan that around his schedule. 

At this point with four adult children still living here, each person is responsible for his own laundry. We divide the basic cleaning between we four women in the house, with me taking a bit more than the others. The kitchen work is managed and done by the one who has the most time available. The girls do it when I am writing a book. I do it when they have big projects, and sometimes we share it quite evenly. 

Jesse does the least, but he works full-time. The girls work part-time, generally, but sometimes work projects bump it to full time and more. All of them invest many hours each week in ministry. It seems reasonable that when I, as a mom, have fewer or no homeschooling responsibilities, and my children gain more responsibility whether with education, work, or ministry that I step back into more of the meal and housekeeping roles.

As moms, we want to be careful that we don’t expect our children to serve us when we have time to do household work ourselves, but also we don’t want to enable them not to shoulder adult responsibilities. Family communication in time management and household responsibilities help everyone come on board with the plan the family decides to put in place.

The Homeschool Chore Team

Are you a super homeschool mom? Can you accomplish homeschooling plus all the household chores by yourself? Most homeschool moms do best with chores when chores are a team effort. Don’t you love the thought of your children working together as a team for the good of your family? If your children are like ours were, though, they didn’t spend their days asking how they could help with what needed to be done around the house. I discovered I had to have a goal—chores accomplished daily by the family chore team and then make a plan to achieve it—chore system


Start simple to make it achievable. I watch moms get so caught up in developing a perfect chore system with every possible job listed and assigned that they never get beyond the planning stage.

Really and truly, keep it simple. I challenge you to list three chores—start with just three that each of your children are capable of doing every morning like:

  • make bed
  • pick up toys
  • fold pjs and put away
  • empty trash
  • wash breakfast dishes
  • wipe bathroom sink
  • clear breakfast table
  • sweep dining room and kitchen floor
  • wash breakfast dishes
  • dry breakfast dishes

Some of the chores will be the same for every child such as make bed. Others will be individualized based on the child’s age and capabilities. Even a three-year-old can be given a small squirty bottle with water in it and taught how to wipe out the bathroom sink. By the time that child is seven and hopefully mature enough to handle whatever cleaning agents you use, he will be prepared to tackle real bathroom cleaning. Look down the road when considering chores for little children. They might not be able to do much real work now, but you are equipping them with positive attitudes toward work and skills that will soon allow them to be productive members of your homeschool family chore team.


Set aside a specific time for the chores to be accomplished. If everyone is working at the same time, the distraction of wanting to play with a sibling is eliminated. With just three chores each, it shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes for these chores to be done, 30 minutes at the most. 

Be a cheerleader for your chore team, encouraging them with positive words about working, telling them how happy you are for their help. Thank them for their work and accomplishments, and praise them for every step toward a chore well done. Work alongside them to mentor them in their jobs and fellowship with them in the process. Keep a smile on your face and sweet words on your tongue, and you can motivate your children to do much.

Build on the Foundation

When you have solidly established those three morning chores to where they are habitual for everyone, you are ready to build on that foundation. If there is more time in the morning, you can add another chore or two. You will likely assign chores at lunchtime and dinnertime. After school is another logical chore time as is just before bedtime. Everyone probably won’t need to do chores during all of those time frames. Use the morning when you are most likely to be on schedule to accomplish the bulk of your chores. Make sure meal preparation and cleanup is covered and then see if there are any holes. Most families find is helpful to have a tidying time just before Daddy comes home from work or as part of the pre-bedtime routine.

The Manager

Be a super homeschool mom by managing your homeschool chore team. What a beautiful picture to have children learning to work and all the character that goes with that while the tasks necessary to keep a home functioning are being accomplished. “It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth” (Lamentations 3:27). The more productive your team is, the more time you have for homeschooling and other pursuits God calls you to.

If you need help with a chore system, Managers of Their Chores is a resource you might want to consider.

Holly Homemaker – Part 5

The Holly Homemaker series has managed to draw itself out to encompass quite a few articles.

It started from a blog post on Titus2.com and a negative comment about that post. By now you are probably very familiar with the blog post and comment, but in case we have a new reader or you want to refresh you memory, here it is one more time.

5 Year Old’s Enthusiasm


From a recent e-mail: “I wanted to send this sweet picture of our oldest, Audrey, wearing herChorePack the first week and getting ready to unload the dishwasher. She RAVED about how she loved the chore pack because it reminded her of everything she needed to do in the morning instead of her forgetting things that needed to get done. We’ve loved the system so far! Thank you for creating it.”

“Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men” (Proverbs 22:29).

Now, for the comment:

“That poor little girl. She’s happy because she’s pleasing mommy—like all children do. She should be out playing with friends, playing dress up or let’s pretend, MAYBE a few small chores here and there—but CHOREPACKS? You people are going to kill that child’s spirit before she’s 7. God forbid she wants to be anything other than Holly Homemaker—do they have ChorePacks for future lawyers? Or Astronauts? I hope that she grows up to realize that she’s worth more than just an unpaid scullery maid/nanny.”

From the blog comment, we are left with the feeling that the author believes that if a child is given more than a few small chores to do, he will not have any playtime. This is really far from the truth. After the first Holly Homemaker Mom’s Corner, the mom who had originally sent us the photo of her five-year-old daughter with her ChorePack unloading the dishwasher wrote to us. She was a little taken aback at the assumptions that were made in the blog comment concerning her daughter’s activities. This is what she said.

“I was so sad to hear about the woman who commented negatively and was thrilled to see your response. The sad thing is that the commenter does not even know the full story. We also use your scheduling system, and there is plenty of time scheduled for my daughter to play dress up, babies, play with her sister and brother, do school, and crafts, etc. I think this woman has no idea what your ChorePack system is about and the time actually involved in them. My daughter DOES want to be a mommy when she grows up and like you, I think it honors the Lord for her to do so.

“As far as how much time the chores take, my daughter is five so she is responsible for eight things in the morning: praying (she can’t read yet), getting dressed, putting PJ’s away, making her bed, brushing her hair, filling the cat’s water bowl, unloading the top rack of the dishwasher, and brushing her teeth. ALL of this takes her less than 20 minutes in the morning; sometimes she even gets her little sister dressed in that same amount of time.

“We also have an afternoon ChorePack where she waters our two houseplants, makes sure her room is picked up, puts books and toys away, sets the table, and is the kitchen helper if it is her day (she trades off with her brother). I would say this one takes her a maximum of thirty minutes because she usually helps me train our almost two-year-old in picking up her toys as well. So chores ALL DAY take less than an hour which leaves eleven hours for fun and school since the children are up from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

“I didn’t even know how to turn on the washing machine when I went to COLLEGE. I had to have my mom come up and show me how to run it when she was visiting the first week. How sad! You would think my mom would be anti-chores since she did everything for us, but she loves the idea that we are training our children on how to keep up with themselves and be responsible, God-fearing adults.” The five-year-old’s mom

The precious, little ChorePack-using girl’s mom gives us a good perspective of what her daughter’s day looks like and how much of it she is spending doing chore work. The jobs are reasonable to her age and capability. Her mommy is helping her invest her time in productive activities like chores and school while allowing plenty of time for play.

To be honest with you, I wonder if the children who will grow up to be lawyers and astronauts aren’t quite possibly the ones who are learning to work at home rather than the ones who are addicted to TV, movies, and Xboxes.

I remember a conversation we had with one of our neighbors who drives a public school bus. She told us that she asked the children on her bus how many of them played outside. Only two raised their hands. She decided to give them a “play-outside challenge.” We had recently had a seven-inch snow, and there was still a lot of snow on the ground. She told her bus children that when she came to pick them up in the morning, she would give a reward to any child who had built a snowman by the bus stop. There was only one child who responded to the challenge of building a snowman that was visible on the route the next day. That child was treated to a McDonald’s Happy Meal.

When children are given chores to do, they are learning to apply themselves to a task that needs to be accomplished. They have something productive to do with a portion of their time. With practice at their chores, they become responsible, diligent, thorough, careful, and efficient. They also learn how to manage their time. All of those are qualities that a professional will need just as much as the Holly Homemaker needs them. The children who learn how to work at home will have the perseverance and determination to apply themselves to difficult tasks they will face in adulthood–whether that is starting a business, becoming an astronaut or lawyer, or raising a family.

Sadly, the children who grow up without being encouraged to work will likely choose to avoid work in their adult lives. They will perpetuate their childhood into their adult years and wonder why they struggle so much. Remember from the March 2011 Holly Homemaker Mom’s Corner where the professional couldn’t find young employees because none of those who applied for the jobs knew how to work?

Those who haven’t learned how to work will not be qualified to be the leaders of their generation because they have set their hearts and affections on fun and games rather than industry and service. Chores and working don’t kill a child’s spirit, instead they develop, enhance, challenge, and produce the kind of spirit that will make that child successful as an adult. It is the children who are left to sit in front of the TV with their XBoxes whose spirits are being killed. Those spirits are being sucked into the mire of self, mindlessness, and entertainment. Could it be that these children are developing the appetites that will make them be “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God (2 Timothy 3:4)?”

Here is one more comment that I wanted to include in this series:

“When we learn to work together and when the children work before they go play, we are all happier plus Mom might be freed up enough to play with them.” Mom O

I agree with Mom O that as the children pitch in to help in their homes, Mom’s workload is lightened. This allows her not only her more time to play with her children, talk to them, and read to them, but it also helps facilitate a more joyful, content overall attitude. A happy mom is often the foundation of a happy family.

In the past, Steve and I listened to those, like the negative blog commenter, who would want us to choose not to give our children chores but rather simply let them play and have fun. We also evaluated the results of that kind of parenting, and we didn’t like the results. We saw appetites developed for self and entertainment but we desired our children to have appetites to serve. Working helped our children toward the servant’s heart found in Scripture. “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13).

Others, as they have shared through this series of articles, have seen the bad results of children not learning how to work, as well. This was usually from personal experience in the area of not having been given chores as they were growing up.

When we did a survey of Christian families before writing Managers of Their Chores, overwhelmingly we heard back that these families wanted to teach their children how to work. About 75% of the respondents came from families where they were not required to do household chores, and they felt that decision by their parents had hindered them as adults. They didn’t have the skills they needed or the attitudes toward work that they wanted. They simply weren’t equipped for what they would face as adults. These families are making different decisions for their children, decisions that include a positive attitude toward chores and teaching their children to handle chore responsibility.

I think in this series we have now covered each of the concerns the negative blog commenter had about a five-year-old having a ChorePack to help her do some household chores. I am happy that I can be a Holly Homemaker and that one of the things I can do being home with my children is to teach them how to work. We want our children equipped for their adulthood through the skills they are learning when they work in our home plus the work ethic that comes with chores as well. May we be women who look beyond the cries of the world that says a child’s days should only consist of fun and choose to prepare our children for life.

Holly Homemaker – Part 4

This month we delve once again into a comment that was left on our blog in response to a blog post. We didn’t approve the comment on the blog, but we saved it so that we could address the concerns that it was raising. If you’d like to read the previous articles in this series, please do so. Here is the blog post and the comment that is the basis for this series of articles.

5 Year Old’s Enthusiasm


From a recent e-mail: “I wanted to send this sweet picture of our oldest, Audrey, wearing her ChorePack the first week and getting ready to unload the dishwasher. She RAVED about how she loved the chore pack because it reminded her of everything she needed to do in the morning instead of her forgetting things that needed to get done. We’ve loved the system so far! Thank you for creating it.”

“Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men” (Proverbs 22:29).

Now, for the comment:

“That poor little girl. She’s happy because she’s pleasing mommy—like all children do. She should be out playing with friends, playing dress up or let’s pretend, MAYBE a few small chores here and there—but CHOREPACKS? You people are going to kill that child’s spirit before she’s 7. God forbid she wants to be anything other than Holly Homemaker—do they have ChorePacks for future lawyers? Or Astronauts? I hope that she grows up to realize that she’s worth more than just an unpaid scullery maid/nanny.”

I have addressed the benefits that I have found in my life of being a Holly Homemaker and how we would like our daughters to choose to be Holly Homemakers when they are married. Last month we started evaluating the part of the comment where the author indicates that she/he doesn’t think a child should have more than a “few small chores here and there.” Obviously a five-year-old unloading a dishwasher is beyond the chore criteria that the blog commenter would feel is reasonable. In the previous article, we observed that in real adult life everyone will have daily, household responsibilities. Learning to do chores as children simply prepares our children to handle those tasks as adults and to have positive attitudes toward them.

One mom wrote to me and listed the chores her children are doing and why it is critical to her that her children learn to work. Here is what she said.

“Today, my four-year-old washed the breakfast dishes and loved it. My six-year-old also does dishes, some sweeping, and setting/clearing the table. Between them my ten and nine-year-old sons sweep the kitchen, keep the house vacuumed (except for the master bedroom and basement), do the garbage and recycling duties, clean the garage, do other yard work as asked, clean the bathroom sinks and toilets daily, take care of the dinner dishes most nights, and sometimes cook a simple meal here and there.

“Recently a neighbor asked if the two older ones would be interested in helping her clean the stables of her little horse farm. She’s getting older and is unmarried. They were very enthusiastic even when they had no expectation of reward. I doubt that if it weren’t for the chores they have to do at home that they would be very eager to perform what they know will be reasonably demanding labor. “Our ‘chore life’ is not perfect, but it’s a long way from what I grew up with. I can remember moaning and fretting about small tasks until my mom gave up, and in the end, I don’t think I had any household responsibilities by the time I finished high school!!

“Anyway—all this to say: CHORES ROCK!” Mom I

When I e-mailed to ask permission to use Mom I’s testimony about chores from her childhood and chores for her children, she sent me a bit more of the story. This is what she said.

“After I emailed, I was thinking also about how my mom said when I was in my early teens that I should make a meal once a week. I just sort of ignored that, and nothing happened. Some time later my mom suggested maybe I should make a meal once a month. I didn’t pursue that either and eventually the whole matter was dropped. At the time I was thrilled. So of course when I eventually needed to make meals, I was quite lost, and still had the sense that this was ‘not my job.’ Perhaps that’s some good coming out of the fact that my mom didn’t persevere in having me do chores—it made me realize that it’s important to me that my children learn how to work! :)” Mom I

From Mom I, we have the perspective of growing up in a home where the children were given no chore responsibility. However, coming to her adult years and motherhood role, Mom I was not prepared. From this experience, she is choosing to raise her children in a different manner by teaching them how to work at home. From that decision, she is already experiencing children who can contribute a substantial amount of help to the household chores, and they are also being sought after for their diligence and skills by others even though the children are only nine and ten. In addition, these nine and ten-year-olds are excited about working to help the neighbor even though they aren’t expecting to be paid. “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13). Don’t you think that those are children who have the potential to be whatever the Lord Jesus calls them to be in their adult lives?

This is another testimonial that was sent to me after the first Holly Homemaker article where the mom was raised in a home without being taught how to work. She shares the results of that kind of childhood and what she thinks about a five-year-old who is learning to do chores. “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise” (Proverbs 6:6).

“I want to thank you for your ministry. I have several of your books and the scheduling has refined what I was already doing immensely. I also have the Chore book and the online ChoreWare program which has helped me tremendously. It has helped me not just with the kids’ chores but with my own housekeeping and getting organized. Which leads me to this month’s Mom’s Corner.

“I was raised by a single, working mom. She was too tired at the end of the day to care about the house, dinner, or even me. I was an only child. When I was asked to help out around the house, which was rare, I was defiant and lazy. When I got married and then had children, I found that I had to learn EVERYTHING on my own about how to clean and maintain a home. It has been hard.

“This five-year-old girl that you used as an example—what a blessing for her to be taught the basic things any person (man or woman) will need to know in her grown up years to maintain a home and feed herself and her family. In her childhood, she will become so engrained in dishwashing and laundry and mopping floors and staying on task, that she will be free in her grown up years to pursue other interests or even schooling and a career if she should choose without losing her school papers because she never learned to be organized, without eating fast food hamburgers because she never learned to prepare herself healthy meals, and without wearing her clothes for the second or third day in a row because she never learned to keep up with her laundry. Our culture says that children need to be free to play and do what they want to do when they are little, but then complain if they grow up to be lazy and living off welfare.” Mom J

The next testimony comes from the perspective of observing the results in young adult’s lives when they haven’t learned the basics of how to take care of themselves when they are on their own. As I read this testimony, I wondered about how gently a Marine Corps soldier would teach a new recruit how to clean his barracks room versus a mommy working with her little children.

“Today I read the Mom’s Corner for March and have to total agree with Teri about teaching ALL children responsibility. Whether we stay home and are ‘Holly Homemakers,’ love this name, or our daughters and daughters-in-law stay home and are ‘Holly Homemakers,’ all our children need to be taught to clean up after themselves and others plus be a team player. As a Marine Corps wife of eight years, I have seen MANY a young Marine come in and have NO idea how to do any of their cleaning or laundry because Mommy always did it for them. I’ve watched my husband have to in-detail train a nineteen-year-old Marine how to clean his barracks room—a task that our seven-year-old son and three-year-old daughter already know how to do in our home. I pray and hope that the Maxwell Family will continue to encourage families in training their children in simple things like chores and responsibilities and that we moms will continue to raise godly children who know how to clean up after themselves!” Mom K

The final comments I want to share with you have to do with the value of chores in helping children develop a servant’s heart. “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him” (Colossians 3:17). Mom L wrote after she read the first Holly Homemaker Mom’s Corner and the negative comment about the blog post.

“How sad to think of children trained to self serve. What a giant chain and ball parents are putting on their children when they choose not to teach them to work and serve others. Thank you for ChorePacks and the helps you give to families.” Mom L

“I have enjoyed your articles about ‘Holly Homemaker.’ When I read the negative comment, I thought about my college roommates. These people never felt the need to pick up after themselves, do the dishes or their laundry. Needless to say, our home was a pit, and I was very unhappy. If the mess had been limited to their room, it would have been fine, but it even poured over into our shared space. Many times I waited for them to feel the need to do the dishes, to the point of them stinking up the whole house. It never bothered them. My point is this—everyone learning to do their share is important because someday we are going to live with others—whether it be a college roommate or a spouse. If we can learn to think of others by picking up after ourselves and sharing the load, it is just one less area of potential conflict. I don’t want my children to be the inconsiderate roommate or the person who expects their spouse to pick up their dirty socks off the floor. Chores can teach a lot about life and living at peace with others!” Mom M

As our children learn to work in our homes, we are teaching them how to work throughout their adult years. This life preparation will be transferrable to many areas in their lives. In the process, they will be learning positive attitudes toward work and developing a servant’s heart. Teaching these skills in our homes makes the transition to independent living for our children easier and less stressful because they know what needs to be done and how to do it. In addition, they are not waiting for others to take care of them. May we be mothers committed to giving our children the tools they need to be successful adults, including teaching them how to work.

Read Part 5.

Holly Homemaker – Part 3

We are continuing a series of articles inspired by a comment that was made in response to this blog post that we had on our Titus2.com blog. Here is the post if you care to refresh your memory, and the comment follows.

5 Year Old’s Enthusiasm


From a recent e-mail: “I wanted to send this sweet picture of our oldest, Audrey, wearing her ChorePack the first week and getting ready to unload the dishwasher. She RAVED about how she loved the chore pack because it reminded her of everything she needed to do in the morning instead of her forgetting things that needed to get done. We’ve loved the system so far! Thank you for creating it.”

“Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men” (Proverbs 22:29).

Now, for the comment:

“That poor little girl. She’s happy because she’s pleasing mommy—like all children do. She should be out playing with friends, playing dress up or let’s pretend, MAYBE a few small chores here and there—but CHOREPACKS? You people are going to kill that child’s spirit before she’s 7. God forbid she wants to be anything other than Holly Homemaker—do they have ChorePacks for future lawyers? Or Astronauts? I hope that she grows up to realize that she’s worth more than just an unpaid scullery maid/nanny.

In this article, I would like to move into the realm of whether or not chores are important for a child. I had planned to address this topic as the series continued, but the responses to the first two articles were quite articulate. They provide other voices and other experiences beyond my own so I will start with what some of them shared with me.

“I have just read this month’s Mom’s Corner, and I wanted to say thank you for the great encouragement you are to all of us, ‘Holly Homemakers.’ Yet, another thought crossed my mind as I read the negative blog comment you had received. The idea that ChorePacks (or chores in general) are for the purpose of training up future homemakers, or even strictly for the purpose of getting the housework completed, is absurd. Are there ChorePacks for future lawyers and astronauts? Absolutely! Those ChorePacks are filled with things like . . . unload the dishwasher, do the laundry, clean the windows, take out the trash, make your bed, and other things. Chores are not designed for the sole purpose of lightening Mom’s load and training up Holly Homemaker. In assigning chores, we are teaching CHARACTER, not simply achievement and tasks. We are giving our children the tools they will need to succeed in becoming whatever God calls them to do. I would be completely negligent in my duties as a parent if I were to send my grown sons off to university (should the Lord require it) to become medical doctors if I had not first taught them how to cheerfully, and without reminder, make their beds in the morning and set the table for dinner. THAT is why, even at 5 years old (and younger), EVERYONE has chores at our house, the future professors, doctors, lawyers, missionaries, and, yes, even my little Holly Homemakers in training.” Mom F

“I just read the Holly Homemaker article. Thank you! It was interesting also that my twelve-year-old son was here and noted my response to the negative comment. He isn’t particularly fond of chores but does them willingly. I pointed out to him something that you didn’t even mention. My job as a mom is to teach my children, not only school (we homeschool) but life skills. One day my sons will leave this house—whether with a wife or on their own—and they need to be able to keep their home clean and running properly. They need to learn how and one day be able to do all the things that I do. If they can learn to enjoy chores, the better off they will be! This is true of a woman who decides to be a lawyer or astronaut also.” Mom G

“The first thought that came to my mind when I read that negative blog comment was, don’t future lawyers and astronauts need to learn how to do dishes, too?  Don’t they need to learn the values of hard work, self-discipline, or consistency?

“People these days are continuing to lie to themselves if they think that having a ‘carefree (irresponsible, child-centered) childhood’ really develops good leaders and professional workers. My husband is a professional engineer with a tremendous amount of responsibility and many employees. He handles vast amounts of taxpayer money every year. He is a rare find, as he takes this responsibility very seriously, and invests enormous amounts of time to make sure he is making the best possible decision for all of his fellow citizens affected.

“Notably, in the past two years, he has hired about seven new employees . . . five of whom were RETIRED professionals. He has had to find older men who take pride in their work, because there are no younger men with the expertise or work ethic he requires. The other two new hires did NOT have college degrees, but were men who expect to work hard to earn a living and respect authority . . . rare qualities these days. I bet all of these people had chores to do as children!

“Interestingly enough, it is my husband, the ‘professional’ who most often cleans the pots and pans after dinner for me. It is an expression of his love for me and takes one thing off of my never-ending list of things to do, as a stay-at-home mother of five young children.

“ALL children need to be brought up in a way that will help them enter adulthood with the much needed (and much lacking these days) life skills of taking care of themselves, their belongings, and their surroundings so that those things are second nature, habits. That way they will have more time to learn other things and devote to making ‘a difference’ in this world, whether it be by staying home and raising the next generation or if it is as the business or government leaders of our nation. No one is as effective as they can be when they were taught irresponsibility as a youth.” Mom H

I would agree with these ladies who wrote to me. Our children need to learn to do chores in our homes because these will be skills they will be using throughout their lives in whatever capacity God calls them to. “It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth” (Lamentations 3:27). Helping with household chores is really not even a very big yoke to be born. I want my children prepared for their adult lives and to look back on their childhood with gratitude for that preparation. May I encourage you not to let the world convince you that work is harmful for your children but rather to evaluate the reality of life and set them on a path toward success. Next month we will continue our discussion with more about the importance of teaching our children.

Read Part 4.

Holly Homemaker – Part 2

Last month Holly Homemaker, Part 1, I began addressing a negative comment that resulted from one of our blog posts on Titus2.com. If you missed it previously, here again is the blog post and comment following it.

5 Year Old’s Enthusiasm


From a recent e-mail: “I wanted to send this sweet picture of our oldest, Audrey, wearing her ChorePack the first week and getting ready to unload the dishwasher. She RAVED about how she loved the chore pack because it reminded her of everything she needed to do in the morning instead of her forgetting things that needed to get done. We’ve loved the system so far! Thank you for creating it.”

“Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men” (Proverbs 22:29).

Now, for the comment:

“That poor little girl. She’s happy because she’s pleasing mommy—like all children do. She should be out playing with friends, playing dress up or let’s pretend, MAYBE a few small chores here and there—but CHOREPACKS? You people are going to kill that child’s spirit before she’s 7. God forbid she wants to be anything other than Holly Homemaker—do they have ChorePacks for future lawyers? Or Astronauts? I hope that she grows up to realize that she’s worth more than just an unpaid scullery maid/nanny.”

While we didn’t have any trouble discerning the disdainful bias of the comment, we actually liked the term Holly Homemaker. Holly Homemaker sounded warm, loving, and inviting to us—the type of mother I would like to be and a title I would embrace. We want our daughters to grow up in a home where when they are adults, they would choose to stay home with their children, a Holly Homemaker, rather than pursue a career. No amount of salary can compare to the value of nurturing a heart in the Lord Jesus Christ. I know that choice begins with the atmosphere I cultivate in my home and the role model I set before them.

After writing last month’s Mom’s Corner, I had some responses that I thought would be an encouragement to many of my readers, who can sometimes not feel valued. Here are a few of those comments.

“I am a ‘Holly Homemaker’ literally. My name is Holly, and I am a homemaker, wife, mama, homeschooler, manager of the home, and all that is included in that. I LOVE what I do even though it is the hardest job I have ever had! I am so blessed to have been given this career! I cannot think of any other career that has a higher calling! It is AWESOME!!!” Mom A

“I am blessed to be home with my children. I have a Master’s Degree in Public Policy and previously worked as the Legislative Director for the now-Governor of my state. Four years ago, my husband and I adopted two young children out of the foster care system, and I’ve been home with them ever since.

“It is my privilege to raise them in the Lord, homeschool them, and keep our family’s home. Some days I do feel unappreciated, but I wouldn’t want to be any place else.”Mom B “I was only a few hours short of my doctorate in education curriculum and design when I met my husband, and we got married. Previously, I’d made a handsome salary, had traveled abroad extensively, and was very successful in my career. I did not pursue any of that out of choice, but necessity. I was 37 years old before God brought my husband and me together. Upon our union, I immediately became a stay at home wife, and later a homeschooling mother to our son, who is now 15.

“While I was raised by wonderful Christian parents, they did not raise me to believe my place in life was in the home. God brought me to this realization Himself. There was nothing in my past life that equals the joy being a wife and momma now bring.

“The whole time I was single, my dream and prayer was to one day be standing in an old farmhouse doorway, with a baby on my hip, a toddler clinging to my calico dress, as we watched the older children out in the front yard playing—swinging from a homemade swing, climbing trees, and chasing each other as they dodged the chickens running in between their legs.

“While God did not see fit to bless us with more than one child, I am believing in a quiver full of grandchildren one day! My son is being prepared to be the sole provider for his family, knowing being home is God’s highest calling for any woman. I pray he will seek out God’s best for him, in the form of a godly woman who puts husband, children, and home above all else.” Mom C

“I too am a Holly Homemaker and love it. I love the title since my youngest daughter’s name is Holly. I can’t imagine playing the world’s game and having to leave my family every day to serve someone less important than the people I love most!!!

“My earnest prayer is that my daughters will grow to be godly women who enjoy staying home with their families and serving them. They all say that is what they desire, and I am overjoyed that their hearts have been set this way by our wonderful Lord.” Mom D “I consider my role at home priceless!” Mom E

When we think of being a Holly Homemaker, keep in mind Titus 2:4-5: “That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.” Here we see a list of what the Lord Jesus is directing a young, married woman to have as the emphasis of her life. There are three aspects identified that I can fulfill much better by being a Holly Homemaker than by having a career and those are to love my husband, to love my children, and to be a keeper at home.

By being home I can maintain my house so that it is the haven I desire it to be for my husband and children. I have time to keep up with the household chores like laundry, meals, dishes, and cleaning so that they are accomplished. I am not stressed trying to fit them into a couple of evening and weekend hours.

Staying home allows me to focus on being a loving wife when my husband is home. I can arrange my time so that I am free for family activities and interactions when my husband is available. I am not distracted by other things that need to be done.

Because I have chosen not to have an outside-the-home career, I am able to more fully love my children. This includes having time to spend with them throughout the day. It also means that I can provide them with a home education, which would be difficult, if not impossible, if I had a full or even part-time job.

Perhaps the greatest way I love my children is by bringing them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). I am Steve’s helpmeet in this vital assignment from the Lord. By being home all day with my children I have that many more hours to impact their lives for Jesus Christ by sharing Scripture with them, praying with them, talking about the Lord Jesus with them, ministering with them, helping them apply Scripture to their lives, directing them in godly responses to each other, memorizing with them, and all that is involved in a loving, daily life in a Christian home.

I was quite drawn to the statement from the mom who said she felt her role at home was priceless. If all that we can accomplish in our homes were to be hired out and given a price tag, we could somewhat quantify it, and it would likely add up to quite a sum of money each month. However, the eternal impact we have on our husband, our children, and those around us in our ministry at home is most certainly priceless. Even if the world doesn’t choose to value what Holly Homemaker is doing, may we be women who embrace that calling and joyfully fulfill that role.

Read Part 3.

Holly Homemaker – Part 1

Not long ago we received an e-mail with a testimonial from a family who had just started using ChorePacks, a chore system detailed in our Managers of Their Chores book. We used that e-mail as the basis for a blog post on Titus2.com. Here is that blog post.

5 Year Old’s Enthusiasm


From a recent e-mail: “I wanted to send this sweet picture of our oldest, Audrey, wearing her ChorePack the first week and getting ready to unload the dishwasher. She RAVED about how she loved the chore pack because it reminded her of everything she needed to do in the morning instead of her forgetting things that needed to get done. We’ve loved the system so far! Thank you for creating it.”

“Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men” (Proverbs 22:29).

While we had several positive blog comments about ChorePacks from other ChorePack users, we had one negative comment. We chose not to approve that comment on the blog, because there was so much we wanted to say in response to it, and that required a greater investment of time. Here is the blog comment:

“That poor little girl. She’s happy because she’s pleasing mommy like all children do. She should be out playing with friends, playing dress up or let’s pretend, MAYBE a few small chores here and there–but CHOREPACKS? You people are going to kill that child’s spirit before she’s 7. God forbid she wants to be anything other than Holly Homemaker–do they have chore packs for future lawyers? Or Astronauts? I hope that she grows up to realize that she’s worth more than just an unpaid scullery maid/nanny.”

The world devalues the woman who chooses to forgo a lucrative career to stay home and raise her children. People often hold the same derogatory attitude that is portrayed in this blog comment. Their thinking is that the woman who wants to be home with her children is, as this blog commenter described, nothing more than an “unpaid scullery maid/nanny,” indicating she has no value. Untrue! The raising up of a precious life in Christ is of far more value than the highest paid executive’s take home pay!

However Scripture holds up another standard. “That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed” (Titus 2:4-5).

Holly Homemaker: I really liked that title! I delight in being Holly Homemaker, and it brings me joy when my daughters say they want to be wives and mothers. I don’t view myself as an unpaid scullery maid/nanny even if others do.

In reality, I don’t think I am the only one who values being home with my children and chooses that over a career. Here is a recent e-mail I received.

“I am writing to update you as I had asked for prayer several months ago regarding selling my chiropractic practice to become a full-time ‘keeper at home’.

“Guess what, a wonderful young doctor bought my practice! I am now at home full-time and no longer employed outside the home. I am thrilled! And, I’m very, very thankful to God for allowing this and orchestrating the details as only He could have done. Now that I am home, I realize how much I have to learn! But I am excited about being home and being more engaged and available as a wife and mother.”

This is an educated, professional woman choosing to give up her career for something she sees as more important than that career–being home with her children. She doesn’t sound to me like she would consider herself an unpaid scullery maid/nanny. However, I think she would happily don the title of Holly Homemaker. I regularly hear from women who are giving up all that their higher education earned them in a career as a doctor or lawyer to become a Holly Homemaker. They are esteeming the riches of full-time investment in their children’s lives to be greater than the accolades and financial rewards of their professional career.

With the unprecedented growth of broken homes, we Holly Homemakers have the opportunity to offer our children the security and nurturing that even secular psychologists say is important. We avoid the time pressures that working moms face of trying to accomplish everything at home plus be at work for eight hours or more each day. We are our own bosses, and we set our own schedules.

I know there are many working women who are doing so because they have no other choice. They long to be able to be home with their children. They pray that the Lord will provide a way for them to do so. If circumstances allowed, they would instantly become a Holly Homemaker filled with joy in doing so.

For those of you who are Holly Homemakers, we want to affirm the decision you have made to invest your life in the lives of your children. We hope you will take joy in that role and not let the world devalue in your heart what you are choosing to do. For those who would like to be a Holly Homemaker but can’t at this time, we pray that the Lord will soon open those doors for you. We have heard many wonderful stories of Him answering those kinds of prayers. Next month we will continue this discussion.

Read Part 2.

The Kitchen Cleanup Dilemma

This Mom’s Corner comes from a request that we had for practical advice concerning how to get children to do what they are supposed to do. Here are the details:

“My concern and quest for help begins in the kitchen. A background on my children is that they are EXTREMELY happy children, almost to a fault. What I mean is that they do not know when to STOP laughing, giggling, and being silly, in order to get down to business. We have used your ChorePack system and for the most part it works wonders in keeping my home clean and well ordered. I especially love that the non-readers can have responsibilities without my prodding constantly.

“My trouble is in the kitchen. They are each assigned a task to do for ‘KP’. They complete this task after every meal. I am there to inspect after it is done, and during the task I am there to ensure that they are doing it. The trouble is that they do the task sloppily, they goof off half the time, and I feel as if I am nagging them to continue.

“I have tried different approaches to solving this problem, including various consequences. Some seemed too harsh for the offense, while others just didn’t work. I have tried offering rewards. That didn’t seem to motivate for the duration either.

“The other day I had a wrapped gift I had found as we unpacked our boxes from another move. I set it on the table, and everyone was very interested. I told them that they could open it if everyone did their KP WELL and without talking. I left the room to go unpack boxes. They enjoyed their usual meal filled with giggles and noises, and then all of a sudden my house was QUIET!! Not too long after, I heard one or the other begin giggling and chatting, and I thought, ‘Oh well, that didn’t work too well.’ I walked out to find a PERFECTLY cleaned kitchen!! I was not only floored but somewhat disappointed that it took a wrapped gift on the table to accomplish that for which I have been striving for YEARS!!

“I asked my eldest son later (age 12), ‘What could I do to get my children to clean quietly like that when there ISN’T a reward waiting?’ He wisely said, ‘Well, this is just an idea . . . but you could ask a woman who has older children and has some more ideas than you!!’ Here I am asking you for some ideas, advice, and prayer!! I am seeing that I am training my children to disobey me, not the goal for any of us. I have gone to the Lord through James 1 and am believing that He WILL give me the wisdom I need to train my children in the way they should go!!”

I opened this Mom’s Corner with all of the details from the question we received because I felt that most of us could relate to the mom’s situation and struggles. She has tried many ways to get her children to do what they should do, but she isn’t having the success she would like to achieve. This then can easily lead to discouragement for Mom.

She has started right where she needs to begin—by depending on the Lord and crying out to him. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. . .” (James 1:5-6). We know that when we are weak, without answers, the Lord Jesus is strong. “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. . .” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

I believe what is being dealt with here is very normal childish behavior. Scripture speaks to this in 1 Corinthians 13:11. “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” Children are simply children—full of life, excitement, and most certainly childish ways. We can expect them to act like children while they are children. Our goal is to help them mature into a godly adult with a heart to serve and obey Jesus. “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).

This is a gradual process best facilitated little by little with loving encouragement, gentleness, and consistent consequences. Here are two verses that support this approach, “The wise in heart shall be called prudent: and the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning” (Proverbs 16:21). “For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little” (Isaiah 28:10).

What we want to have happen as we disciple and teach our children is to tell them what they are to do, demonstrate it for them, watch them do it, encourage them, and then have them do it perfectly from then on. However, that simply isn’t the way it always works. Remember with me and say it to yourself again, “They are just children.” It takes a mom’s ongoing time, effort, and consistency to achieve the desired goal.

In this case, as in almost every case that involves children’s behavior, consistency of consequence is more important than the actual consequence itself. It isn’t the exact consequence that matters most, but it is the utilizing of the consequence every time it is needed. It is likely that even though this mom has been in the kitchen with the children, she hasn’t been consistent with her consequences.

Let’s take a very normal problem and assign it a consequence. The problem is that a child isn’t doing his cleanup job but instead is reading the mail sitting on the kitchen counter. If we have designated ten minutes of sitting on a chair during free time as a consequence for a child who isn’t doing his kitchen work, then we would give that consequence. I am certain that if the consequence is given and utilized EVERY time the child begins to read the mail, he will soon stop doing it and stick to his task.

What happens, though, is that we remind the child to get back to work or he will receive the consequence. He stops reading but soon is back to it, and again we remind him to do his job. We would do better in teaching our children to be responsible by giving them the consequence right away and giving it consistently every time. If we make it a simple consequence like sitting on a chair during free time, we are more likely to actually use the consequence. If the consequence is difficult to implement or if we feel it is too hard, we will tend to continue with the reminders to help the children avoid it.

We know the children in the example can do what they are supposed to do because they did the job the mom wanted them to do when she had a reward for them—a wrapped present to be opened upon the successful completion of KP. A reward like that is okay once in a while, but we desire that our children learn to do what they should do simply because they need to do it, not because there is a reward for it. This mom found through her little experiment with the package that her children were very capable of doing what she was asking them to do, doing it well, and doing it in a timely fashion. Now she just wants to continue with her training and discipline to bring her children to maturity in doing these things without rewards, reminders, or consequences.

Personally, I would work toward having the children become responsible in their jobs but allowing them to talk and enjoy each other’s fellowship as they are in the kitchen together. In our family, this is one of the greatest blessings of tackling a job as a group—being able to talk as we work. While the children are fellowshipping through their KP duties, their work will go much more quickly and they are building those lifelong relationships. Our family loves working together. However, talking can lead to goofiness, which undermines the task at hand, so there have to be consequences that are set in place for playing rather than working and for not doing a good job.

Consider making the consequence for poor quality work having to redo the job during the child’s free time. Since this is an after-lunch cleanup, if a child is required to redo several of his jobs, it will most likely mean he isn’t ready to start the afternoon’s schoolwork on time. Then are two choices. The first possibility would be to have him redo the poor or undone work right then, and begin school later. For however much later school is started, it would go that much later in the day. For example, let’s say it is 12:55 when Mom inspects the kitchen and sees a child’s work that needs to be redone. She calls her child to redo the work, and it takes him until 1:15 to accomplish the tasks. School was to begin at 1:00, so he now has to go fifteen minutes later in the afternoon with school than he normally would go.

The second possibility would be to begin school at the scheduled time, and then when free time arrives, have the child redo his work. For example, if the child didn’t load the dishes into the dishwasher after lunch and some of those dishes are needed for an afternoon snack, he could be required to wash and dry the dishes by hand. However, if the dishes aren’t needed until dinnertime, there might be opportunity after school for him to redo his job. Which way to work the consequence would depend on whether the chore has to be accomplished correctly for other aspects of the day to continue.

If the consequence, consistently used, isn’t working, then one raises the impact of the consequence. In this case, the mom could begin adding extra time doing other jobs, doing schoolwork, or for a younger child, sitting on a chair. If that isn’t working, add more time. But remember with me, and say it to yourself again, “I have to be consistent.” If your consequence isn’t working, reevaluate whether you are being consistent.

This mom might try to give her children an incentive to move through their work in a timely fashion, such as free time before the next scheduled activity. For example, breakfast cleanup could be scheduled for a half hour, but you know it should only take fifteen minutes. If the children are working efficiently, they will have fifteen minutes of free time before school starts. However, if they goof off during their meal cleanup, they would be using up their free time. If that happens, then it really doesn’t matter much because it was just their free time that was impacted. Just be careful, though, not to always use rewards and thereby teach your children to work only if there is a reward.

I have regularly dismissed all the kitchen helpers and left the work to one child whom I observed not doing his work. Extra work for our children has been a good consequence that I can use consistently. I would also consider using extra work for the child who isn’t doing a good job with his task—give him a sibling’s job in addition to his own work—particularly if this could reward the child who is being thorough and diligent with his work, releasing him from it for a day or two or more.

After sharing, in a much briefer fashion, these thoughts and suggestions with the mom who wrote the introductory question, she responded a short while later with this result:

“I have really taken your counsel to heart, especially the encouragement to be consistent and the ideas to add more work for those trying to sneak out of work!! I can assure you that these, perhaps obvious, thoughts have truly brought PEACE to my home after each meal!! It was really helpful for me to hear from you that my children WILL grow into maturity!! I believe this is true AS LONG AS I train them in that right direction.”

Using consequences consistently is vitally important to gaining results in teaching our children to do what the need to do. We also want to remember that they are children and not expect adult behavior from them. Look back at their level of responsibility two years ago, and it is likely there has been progress. Two years in the future, it will have progressed even further. May I encourage you to lovingly, gently, and consistently tackle any areas with your children—like KP—that have had you discouraged? I believe you will be happily surprised with the results.

Bickering, Complaining, and Time Pressure – Part 3

(We hadn’t realized we never completed a series we started earlier this year! So, here is the final part.) This month I want to finish the response to the questions contained in this e-mail:

“I was just reading your latest Mom’s Corner and was wondering about you addressing something in the future. We are trying to raise five children, ages six years down to eight months, in the way God would want. I am having difficulty with bickering, bickering, and more bickering. The children complain about having to do chores and not getting enough play time because they have to do school. We are homeschooling. I try to explain that we help each other and should treat each other as we would have others treat us. Also of note . . . I feel my time is so divided, especially with twin eight month olds. I don’t feel like I have the time to do all the things that need to be done such as when it comes to getting the children to listen and be kind to each other. I know that this should be the priority, but it seems too hard.” Mom to Five

You can read the first two parts of this series of articles here.

To tackle the complaining about chores, doing school, or not having enough play time, much of what was shared in parts one and two of these articles will apply. In this case, once again, the consequences have to be consistent and effective. The children who complain about chores could be given more chores to do, which is a very natural consequence. However, with little children it can be difficult to come up with additional chores that they are capable of accomplishing since they can do so few chores on their own in the first place.

When our younger children complained about chores or school, I often used chair time as a consequence. Since their grumbles were linked to their desire to play rather than do what they needed to do, the consequence was designed to impact what they preferred to do while at the same time making it counterproductive to complain. If it wasn’t convenient for them to sit their chair time right at that moment, I wrote a note so that at lunchtime or later in the afternoon, the child would have his consequence.

As would frequently happen in our home, a child would likely make an excuse for his complaining, tell me he wasn’t grumbling, or argue about his consequence. I usually started with five minutes of chair-sitting time. When the excuses or arguing began, I said, “The time is now ten minutes.” If it continued (as often happened because the first try didn’t work), I would say, “The time is now fifteen minutes.” We had a couple of times where a child worked his way up to forty-five minutes. However, we felt the consequence was reasonable and so much better than becoming entangled in an argument with the child.

These two verses were the main ones we used with our children concerning complaining and why they shouldn’t grumble. “Do all things without murmurings and disputings” (Philippians 2:14). “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Colossians 3:17). The first verse is the directive not to complain, and the second verse provides the instruction of what the child’s heart attitude is to encompass.

Something to take into consideration concerning both the children’s bickering and their complaining would be other influences. The more time children spend playing with friends, the more likely that they will be dissatisfied with their sibling playmates. They come to prefer their friends over their brothers and sisters. In addition, they are usually learning negative attitudes from their friends that they bring home and with which they begin to afflict their family members. Influences that cause unkindness among siblings might also be coming from other activities where our children are around other children. Being exposed to the typical child’s foolishness can lead our children to mirror that same foolishness in their lives with their brothers and sisters.

The same problems would go for the amount of time children spend watching TV. TV impacts children’s attitudes toward each other adversely, and it fosters a spirit of complaining when the children are required to do activities like chores and school that take away from TV time.

This mom also indicated that she doesn’t feel like she has time to stop and teach the children when a problem surfaces. She knows, though, the vital importance of investing time in the discipleship process with her children. I want to encourage this mom in the use of a daily schedule so that she is more productive and has time available not only to give her children consequences when they bicker but also to teach them how to be sweet to each other.

With five children, including twin eight month old babies, this mom most certainly has plenty to keep her busy. It is no wonder that she would struggle with time pressures and not think she has time to instruct her children when they are bickering. I firmly believe that a schedule is the key she needs to help her have the time to keep up with her household responsibilities, homeschool her children, and interact with them when they are not getting along well.

Our book Managers of Their Homes has much more information on scheduling and includes a Scheduling Kit (colored squares and sticky tac). Especially for those who don’t think they can schedule, it is designed to make the process as easy as possible. Daily, we receive testimonies about how this book is being used as a tool to transform families. To read some of them, just click on product testimonies at the above link. Even if you haven’t felt you could ever make or use a schedule, if you have a need in your home, I encourage you to consider a schedule as a solution.

Life with little children will bring bickering between them, complaining about responsibility, and time pressure for Mom. We know the importance of raising our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, so addressing these problems is vitally important. As a mom whose children are much older than the mom who wrote the introductory e-mail, I know firsthand the necessity of praying for ourselves and our children. I encourage young moms to expect the process of discipling their children to be a long-term project and to willingly invest their hearts into it. Then you want to look for consistent consequences that you can give with a loving attitude while evaluating any influences that may be undermining the work you are doing with your children. May I encourage you to be a mom who puts a schedule in place so that she will have the needed time to continually instruct her children in the way they should go. Let us run with patience the race that is set before us (Hebrews 12:1).