Tuesday, Sep 15
Chores. Ugh. Easy to assign, difficult to carry out. We’re big on routines, and I find they bring so much peace to our home, but often, chores are intertwined with routines. So with our ugh attitude about chores, the routines don’t go so smoothly and I’m more frustrated than peaceful. The bottom line is that we want our children to contribute to running the household. We want to raise kids who know not only how to work hard, but also how to attain a goal with work as the driving force.
The children are expected to do certain things without a reward. They have to clean up their rooms, make their beds, put their clean laundry away, bring the dirty laundry baskets downstairs on laundry day, clear the table after meals, put away their toys when they’re finished with them, carry in the groceries on shopping days and assist with putting the groceries away. There is no reward for doing the things that are expected, and we expect our children to help with these things.
Recently, I made a big, big BIG decision that I never thought I’d make: I fired our cleaning lady. Yup. That’s right. We no longer pay someone to clean our house. I must be insane. I could write a whole post about this. In fact, I have, I just haven’t published it yet because it’s one of those First World Problem topics that can come across all wrong. All I can say is that the end result of no longer having our house cleaned by someone else was unexpected: I’m still not cleaning the whole house! The children are contributing collectively to the maintenance and cleaning of every room in our home and so far I am very pleased with their work! As a individuals, they’re learning responsibility and accountability through the Erin Condren FUNctional family system! Oh, I love Erin Condren’s products! Check it out:
- kitchen table: after breakfast and dinner, Smarty Pants (almost 11) sprays the table with Mrs. Meyer’s countertop spray and wipes it down with a wet cloth then dries it with a dish towel.
- vacuum: Dimples (9) vacuums different areas of the house six days a week. We have a Shark Rotator Professional Liftaway Upright Vacuum (how’s that for a product name?) that we bought at Costco. I love this vacuum and it’s easy for the children to use. The three older kids have no problem carrying it up and down the stairs. Bonus!
- empty dishwasher: this is something Social Butterfly (5) and Bright Eyes (7) do together. They require assistance when it comes to reaching up and putting glasses on the shelf, but other than that, it’s the perfect job for their ages.
- Windex: This is Bright Eyes’ (7) job. We have sliding glass doors and two windows right by our kitchen table that are magnets for dirty hands, so they need to be cleaned twice a week.
- small trash: Bright Eyes does this job too. The night before trash days, he collects all the small trash cans in the house and empties them into the large trash can in the kitchen before Smarty Pants takes the trash out and rolls the cans down to the curb.
- bathroom mirrors/sinks: This is a job for Dimples (9). She does one bathroom a day, and she really loves this job. I am in charge of cleaning toilets, showers, and tubs and I also mop the bathroom floors. Eventually, I’d like to train Smarty Pants (11) to help with cleaning the bathrooms.
- hangers: the night before laundry days, Smarty Pants collects all the empty hangers from all the closets and brings them down to the laundry room for me.
- large trash: Smarty Pants takes the recycling bins that we keep in the garage and empties them into the large recycling bin the night before recycling day. He takes the large trash bag from the kitchen out to the trash can whenever it’s full (if he’s here) and he rolls the large trash can down to the curb twice a week the night before trash days.
- dust furniture: Dimples (9) and Social Butterfly (5) do this job together. They dust the first floor on Saturdays and the second floor on Sundays. I am still training them to do this properly, which is why I’m having them complete these jobs on the weekend. I need to give them my full attention while they do this job, teaching them how to carefully move things so that they can wipe surfaces, and then carefully putting things back where they belong.
- sweep kitchen: this is something I like for Bright Eyes to do once a day everyday.
- pick up yard toys: A couple days a week I have Social Butterfly (5) do this, especially this time of year when we’re outside in the yard a lot. In the winter we’ll only need this chore done on snow days.
The thing that I love about this chore chart is that it’s a giant note pad, so I can change up our plans frequently. I can also save past charts and re-use them, rotating jobs and who does them if and when they get tired of a particular chore.
So when the tasks for the day are completed, they punch a hole for that day in their reward card, one card per week. We are on our third week of using this system, and so far we are rewarding each child at the end of the week with $4. Since the 2015 Football Cards just came out, the boys have opted for $4 in football cards. Starting next week, we are going to try two weeks of chores with a bigger reward at the end.
Well, that about covers it! Isn’t it such a great system? I am so happy that we are finally on top of this in our home. I know that this is helping me teach the children responsibility and accountability without a lot of effort on my part. What could be better?