Batch cooking gives future you a gift. -Katie Kimball

98: Routines vs. Flexibility in Chores and Batch Cooking

Some organizing and parenting bloggers say you can’t survive without a routine. They have fancy charts and timetables, and they totally stress me out!

On the other hand, it’s TRUE that I can’t survive without a routine — of some sort. Mine just has to have a good dose of flexibility built in to fit my personality.

Today I wanted to share some of the strategies we’ve implemented in our family to share responsibility and chores since quarantine hit:

  • Our initial “code red” chore system so Mom and Dad didn’t go nutso with 4 kids home all day, every day while we tried to work
  • Our summer “household manager” strategy that shifted more responsibility to the kids, since they had no school, no extracurriculars, and no excuses
  • The “batch cooking” system I’ve always used to save time and increase nutrition in the kitchen, but that doesn’t need an extra slot on the calendar for a prep day



Can’t see the video? View it directly on YouTube here!

No time to watch the whole video? Here are the notes!

Routines and Chores for Kids Video Time Stamps

  • 0:35: Today I’m talking to you about some strategies and routines I’ve put in place for our family since the COVID quarantine started.
  • 1:08: I am not good at sticking to a schedule! It’s just not in my personality to be rigid with an hourly schedule, but I definitely need some routine to keep our family running smoothly. The key is to be flexible.

Why Are Routines Important?

  • 2:47: We have a finite amount of decisions we can make in a day, having a routine in place will eliminate a decision. I don’t think and decide whether or not I’ll brush my teeth before bed, I just do it because it’s my routine.

Routines save you the effort of making decisions. -Katie Kimball

  • 3:18: Routines can help kids especially avoid anxiety throughout the day. Many people like to know what is coming next, if there’s a routine, you don’t have to wonder or worry about it.
  • 3:37: Creating routines batches your thinking. You can sit down and make several decisions all at once and then set routines in motion that will prevent you from having to think about each decision each day.
  • 3:59: Routines can feel restrictive to some people so we need to temper them with flexibility. Being rigid can be a big stressor.
  • 4:41: There are so many things up in the air during the COVID pandemic. This situation definitely requires flexibility. Listen in here for the family motto we’ve been repeating to help remind ourselves to be flexible.

Chore Systems for Families

  • 5:34: The first routine I want to share is our “Code Red” system. I made a simple chart listing 9 things each of us should do every day with checkboxes for each family member. Listen in for the list of 9 things we prioritized.

daughter doing dishes with dad

  • 7:36: We instituted a meal chore rotation to keep the kitchen in order once we had all the kids home for lunches and snacks every day. We have 4 after meal chores that the kids take turns with at breakfast and lunch.

“Mooooom, I’m hungry!!”

How many times do your kids ask for snacks each day? Wouldn’t it be a relief if they were empowered to prepared their own snacks, instead of coming to you and whining about how hungry they are?

Download and print:


Delegate Management to Your Kids

  • 9:09: When summer started we brought in another new routine. We set up a household management system to involve our kids in chores since they were home 24/7 with no schoolwork to occupy them while my husband and I still had to work.
  •  10:06: I explain how we ran the household manager system.
  • 12:24: My kids learned responsibility and leadership skills over the summer through this system.
  • 12:42: We also have a family chore checklist. It’s super flexible. We have a list of weekly and monthly chores. We kept them small and doable (i.e. wipe bathroom counter is one, clean a toilet is another).
  • 14:59: Anytime you pass a responsibility on to a child, you can give them the gift of doing that chore for them sometimes and they learn a new appreciation for the work that goes into running a household.

You need to use a chore system that works for your family. -Katie Kimball

boy washing dishes in sink

Real Food Batch Cooking

  • 16:07: Lastly let’s talk about getting real food on the table. I’ve tried batch prepping meals once a month or once a week but those systems just don’t work with my planning personality.
  • 16:54: I do a multi-tasking integration style of batch cooking. As I cook, I make extra to use later that week or freeze. For example, I made 2 spaghetti squash yesterday instead of one, and now I have a meal worth of frozen spaghetti squash.
  • 18:42: Listen in here for some ideas of how you can integrate batch cooking.
  • 19:56: One final strategy is to make dinners that work well as lunches and make enough to eat leftovers for lunch the next day.

Just try a new routine and see if it works for you! If it doesn’t, then shift it! -Katie Kimball

Resources I Mention for Routines and Chores

Routines and Chores for quarantine

What You Should Do Next:

1. Subscribe to The Healthy Parenting Connector

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About Katie Kimball

Katie Kimball, CSME, creator of Kids Cook Real Food and CEO of Kitchen Stewardship, LLC, is passionate about connecting families around healthy food. As a trusted educator and author of 8 real food cookbooks, she’s been featured on media outlets like ABC, NBC and First for Women magazine and contributes periodically on the FOX Network.

Since 2009, busy moms have looked to Katie as a trusted authority and advocate for children’s health, and she often partners with health experts and medical practitioners to stay on the cutting edge. In 2016 she created the Wall Street Journal recommended best online kids cooking course, Kids Cook Real Food, helping thousands of families around the world learn to cook. She is actively masterminding the Kids’ Meal Revolution, with a goal of every child learning to cook.

A mom of 4 kids from Michigan, she is also a Certified Stress Mastery Educator, member of the American Institute of Stress and trained speaker through Bo Eason’s Personal Story Power.

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