The last one lasted the longest at about a month (then we tried to make it work for quite a few months after that but it was really hit and miss when we would use it) but only because we had worked so hard to make it I didn't want to see it fail. But oh it failed. I think I tried about every program out there. Until one day it dawned on me that it wasn't that they weren't all good programs it was just that none of them fit my personality.
I'm not a hovering type of Mom.....I believe that freedom and responsibility brings more freedom and responsibility and that natural consequences seem to bring the most learning and growth. Don't we all remember things better and grow more when we learn from our mistakes.
Just yesterday it was a beautiful day and the kids were all excited to go to the park. When it was time to go there were a number of chores that had not been finished so they missed out on the opportunity to go to the park on a nice wind free day (those are few and far between around here this time of year). Kids are fast learners and they catch on pretty quickly when it comes to learning what it takes to get what you want.
So I started to think long and hard about what type of system would fit my personality as a Mom and teach my children responsibility. It took my quite a while of thinking and planning but I eventually figured out a system that has worked and we have maintained it for over 7 years now.
Every six months to a year I update it and change things around but this only takes about 30-40 minutes. Once the initial time commitment and planning are taken care of it takes very little of my time to maintain. My favorite part is that we don't count up points or keep track of silly little motivational gimmicks.
I'm not the kind of Mother that follows through with such things. I like natural consequences. Like if you don't do your dishes well on your dish day you get to do dishes again the next day on someone elses day. Or things like the park example above. They seem more natural to me and there is no bribery or allowances involved.
Alright here it is my favorite method:
Years ago I sat down and listed all the household duties that needed to be done to maintain order and cleanliness in our home. Then I divided them up into Daily and Weekly items. It went something like this:
These first few are fairly self explanatory they all do them every day.
Clean Room – I used to be more of a stickler about this being a daily thing. But now that they are older and their bedrooms are in the basement so I kind of let them be in charge of how they want to keep it picked up. They don’t keep toys in their rooms so usually it doesn’t usually get too bad. They are required to clean their rooms up really good at least once a week before we vacuum.
Dishes – Each child has one or two dish days a week, depending on age and ability. On their day they are responsible for keeping up with the dishes and keeping the kitchen in order. Of course everyone helps but it is mainly that child’s responsibility.
Sweeping and Mopping – This also needs to be done frequently so each child who is able is assigned one or two days a week. We sweep more often then we mop. We mopped a lot more often when the kids were younger.
Garbage taken out – Again this is done often I have assigned this to the boys and they basically take turns taking it out.
Basic Picking up – This can’t be done often enough. I used to assign different rooms out to each child and rotated it every time I changed up the chore chart. Now that the kids are older I don’t have this assigned they just know it is up to them to keep stuff picked up. Sometimes they are better at it than others. If it gets bad I can usually just ask one or two of them to pick up a certain room that needs it and they can pickup really quickly.
Laundry – Yep I’m one of those who has a weekly laundry day and we dig in, do it once a week and get it over with until the next week. It works for me! Each bedroom has a laundry basket that they put their dirty clothes in. They are each assigned a bedroom to get the laundry basket from and take it to the laundry room and sort it. On their chore list they are each assigned specific loads of laundry they are in charge of. They take care of that loads washing, drying and folding. Then they all put their own clothes away.
Dusting – I change this up sometimes I have one child in charge of it all the time. Right now each child has a week that they are in charge.
Vacuuming and Bathrooms– This happens every Friday. One Child does the upstairs one does the basement. Then the other one with the help of the youngest (who can’t quite use a vacuum yet) cleans the bathrooms and vacuums the stairs with the little vacuum. This just rotates every week.
Less often items are part of Thursday Rotation. Which I will explain below. Thursday Rotation is a concept that I came up with that I love! It takes the pressure off spring cleaning and the like.
I just take this list and divide everything up and make a list for each child that looks something like these:
This is my favorite part of my system. I know if the kids are following their chore charts and then we take a little time once a week (obviously we chose Thursday) to do what I affectionately call Thursday Rotation....then I know that our home is staying pretty well maintained, cleaned and even for the most part deep cleaned without much time or effort on our part.
Here is a link to my list in Word or click on Icon Below. I will take and assign (by putting their name in bold in front of each item) each job. Even Dad has his name by a few items on this list. I have deleted our names but this is the current list we are using. At the bottom of the page you will see our family motto and this years scripture.
That pretty much covers it. As you can see it's nothing fancy and very practical but I have found it works really well for me. I hope I explained it well but if you have any questions please feel free to ask in the comments below!