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It takes love to make a house a home, but it takes lots of work and hands to keep that home running efficiently. It takes a chore chart! Notice I’m refraining from using the word clean. its not that my house isn’t clean, its just that with 9 people under one roof, that definition can vary. As the saying goes… my house is clean enough to be healthy and dirty enough to be HAPPY!
As far back as I can remember, I had my kids helping with chores. When my oldest two were just toddlers, They helped out by cleaning up their toys or helping me with making their beds. As they got older, so did their responsibilities. And as the family grew, different jobs were created to fit the needs of our home. It wasn’t until about 2007 that I started an official chore chart. I had 5 kids 10 years old and under… and only 2 of those kids were really able to assist with household chores. With 3 kids under 3, life was a smear of diapers and sleepless nights.
But with the 2 out of state moves within 6 months and the babies, things needed to fall into place… FAST! In came the daily chart. A big piece of cardboard with color coded squares taped on. Hourly blocks neatly told us what we should be doing at what times… and although the concept was great, I often got discouraged because instead of using the chart as a “guide” I used it as a “must do.” Fast forward a few years and I threw that system in the garbage and came up with a specified chore chart. I kept the color coding system.
3 years later, and the system is still going. I’m happy with the way its working, my kids know what is expected of them on what day and it can be changed with the swipe of a hand.
I found a perfect dry erase board and hung it on my closet right off the living room and kitchen. Starting in age order, everything is listed daily. I tried to limit each childs chore to about 10-15 minutes a day! That’s it! I often remind them that if they work quickly and efficiently, only 10 minutes of their time is taken. Of course their are every day just do’s that are expected and are not considered chores…
Those are making beds, picking up after yourself whenever your playing or eating and setting and clearing the dinner table. I think those are considered basic help with hygiene and courtesy and are NOT considered extras.
I like to have them completed before school starts if possible, but if the older girls have a heavy load of schoolwork and are feeling motivated to get started, I let them dive into the books and finish off their chores before their free time… (usually by afternoon.)
I do have one or two kids that consistently “forget” chores on a daily basis… and more times than not, it slips by me because I’m busy cleaning or dealing with the baby… If that happens, the rule is that they go to bed early… around 7 p.m. I also write their names on our school board as a reminder for me…
(Yes, I tend to forget who’s going to bed when because of what..)
Not only is it a reminder for me, but for one of my children, it just KILLS them to have their name up there… missing out on the evening family time makes them really upset.
My husband and I also decided that we would not pay to do chores. Our home is a blessing and its our responsibility to keep it clean. I don’t expect perfection and anyone who has ever been to our little red house knows its just barely clean enough… we DO on the other hand pay a small amount for extras… If I need someone to bathe the littles. That’s $2, cleaning up something extra like inside the dishwasher might be $2. We have found it to be a good way for my middle children to earn money for some extras thru the year. My older children babysit for family friends quite often and earn extra money that way.
Recently one of my teenagers had been complaining that they were sick of their chores and wanted me to switch it up a bit, so this past weekend I finally conquered the chore chart… It happened to be after midnight and after I got to Tuesday, I had to stop…so, it turned into my weekend project. Assessing what needed to be taken care of and which child it would be assigned to…
And now its done. fresh and new. neat and updated. I have seen some other ones that other large families use, but for now this works for us. Its simple and easy enough for all of the kids to read and know what is expected of them.
How many of you have chore charts?? And how many have found it difficult to keep going with theirs?? Don’t be discouraged. Every day is a fresh start, remember, it takes a while for something new to become habit. I have faith in you! You CAN do it!!!
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