Thursday, July 5, 2012

Our chore system...explained!

I have posted about our chore system in a generic facebook post and have had many ask for more  here it is!
First you must know this about our family...we are all messy...and we are out of the house OFTEN! When we are here daddy works from home and we homeschool so we have extra mess plus less time! Also know I LOVE charts and points and allowances...wait a minute.....hmmm I love the IDEA of these things. I have tried and FAILED with many systems because the "system" was more work than the help I was getting.

Let me elaborate on why other systems may not have worked for our family.
  • The good ole daily chore tasks (ex. Tuesday we dust, Wednesday we vacuum) never worked for us because there are days we are not home long enough in a given day to accomplish those tasks. which just throws a kink in the entire system. Or it never failed that the day Carson needed to wipe the table he was at g-mas....resulting in not only an un-done chore but "it's not fairs" from the rest of the gang.
  • We tried one day of cleaning where each child had a specific chore (ex. Carson dusts, Maddie sweeps, annie mops...) well guess what Maddie had to wait on Carson and Annie had to wait on Maddie etc.
  • My second issue with the individual chores was that I would walk into a room and it still was "incomplete". The dusting was done and the baseboards were done but the couch pillows were a mess or there were toys in the room etc. Those little things that fell the thru the cracks of the "system".
  • Toys always seem to be an issue too. Whose it is and who brought it into the living room never seem to be the same person.
  • Lastly, laundry has always been a beast and RULED my home. It was never the washing and drying but the folding, sorting and putting away part that ended up with laundry baskets of clean laundry and couches of towels waiting to be folded.
SO what is the answer for us?? Jurisdictions (doesn't that sound fancy?!)!

First of all I wanted something simple, yet I needed it to cover a 3 story house worth of chores and shared bedrooms etc.
I made a list of the rooms (or jurisdictions) in our home: (splitting it 5 ways!)
  • kitchen/dishes/floor
  • Kitchen table and floor (and hearth room floor)
  • Living room and foyer
  • Laundry/mud room
  • Powder room/stairs/upstairs hallway
Next I made a list of laundry chores:
  • Gathering all dirty laundry and sorting it by color
  • Washing/drying laundry
  • Folding towels and putting them away
  • Sorting laundry and taking it to the correct rooms
  • (I did need a 5th laundry chore so the last spot is actually the basement clean-up)

Then I tried to pair them up with easiest to hardest. For instance the kitchen and dish duty is the hardest jurisdiction so it paired up with folding the towels.
After that it was just assigning the first months chores out. Oh yes I forgot to mention..they keep the chore for 1 full month.
The benefits of the system for us so far:
  • The kids learn how to successfully work top to bottom to complete a fully clean room.
  • They no longer have to wait on someone else to complete their own chores.
  • They recognize keeping up with it all day instead of waiting.
  • If they have a sleepover etc its no big deal, they can pick up when they get home (all but the dishes really).
  • I easily remember each childs chores without referring to charts and can say Cam I think you need to come straighten up the mud room..etc. 
  • We are relaxed in that we have tried knocking the chores out in the am  over the summer , this may change once school is back in session. However these days we have been at the ballfield 7 days a week there are days we just let all the chores slide for a couple days.
On top of the above the children each have bedroom/bathroom duties. The little boys share a room and a bathroom with Carson and the girls share a bedroom and bathroom. We often had the "she made the mess" in the bedroom and cleaning it was always a fight between each other. So this has also eliminated these fights. Maddie has the bathroom and Annie has the bedroom for the month..etc.

So the month looks like this for each child:
Carson: age 11
Laundry:Fold towels
Bedroom/Bathroom: Clean bedroom, toliet and floor of boys bath.

Maddie: age 8
Jurisdiction: Powder room/stairs/hall
Bed/bath: Girls Bedroom

Annie: age 6
Jurisdiction:Living room/foyer
Laundry: wash and dry
Bed/bath:Girls Bath

Camden: age 6
Jurisdiction: Mud room/laundry room
Laundry:Gathering dirty laundry and sorting
Bed/Bath: Boys Bedroom

Lincoln: age 4
Jurisdiction: Kitchen table and floor
Laundry: Sort clothes and distribute to rooms
bed/bath: Boys bath sink and tub

I have a cute "chart " that is the making and I will post as soon as it is complete.
Also note the first week of these chores may just make you crazy! It was an undertaking to train the children on how to do each thing correctly but after a week it was getting easier, by the last week I did NOT want to have them switch because everything was running so smoothly and they were all doing their chores without prompting etc. Once we switched I had to begin retraining each child all over again..I have friend who actually has the chores last for 1 year at a time!! (I can totally see the benefits of this too!)

Lastly we were dealing with a certain child who was being lazy and continually not giving his/her best and really bordering dis-obedience so that child did not get to switch, they kept the same chores.

I hope this helps someone out there!!!