Friday, January 21, 2011

Chore Strategy for 2011 -Updated Meal Helper

I'm so excited to be building on to a chore system that has already been working for us.  The kids have been in their routine for a year and have not switched once on their chores. They are each confident in what is expected from them every day at 7pm. In the summer time it is twice a day just because....six kids can be messy.  At least mine.

Chores were chosen to be age appropriate and are assigned
Above: The only thing changing this year is Ashley got added to the chore list and she gets the shoe chore. Every newbie gets the shoe chore once they turn 3.  She just has to find all the girl shoes and put in the bucket in her room.  She's pretty proud of her new responsibility.  :) Some chores did get eliminated because they were no longer needed and others added.  I have to say though that if you look closely (you can by clicking on image), I am only having the kids clean up after themselves.  None of them are doing any of my chores.  This is something I had to point out to my kids recently when one of them was complaining about chores.  I said what every mom says, "Well, if you picked up after yourself, you guys would have no chores."  I don't turn my kids into slaves while I sit and read a book.  They are merely taking care of their messes they've made that day. 

All the kid chores written out
Above:  What's new is my Chore shuffle. Sometimes kids need a breather just to make things exciting.  I wrote out all the chores and mixed them up.  Then folded and put in a basket. I had each boy pick 4 chores, Ivy 3, and Ashley only 1.  They have no idea who's chore they are getting but they love the change of pace.  They are only allowed to change one of their cards with a sibling if they didn't like what they got.

Folded in basket for Chore Shuffle
So there are 16 chores. One day Ryan counted the chores on the door and then got a brilliant idea. He said, "Mom, we have 16 chores.  Why not just have 16 kids and then we will each get only one chore!"  Yeah.... no.  I let him tell everyone his really cute idea till I explained to him later that more kids equals more mess to clean up. So then he said, "Let's have 50 kids and we'll almost eliminate ALL the chores."  I think someday he'll understand.  Ha ha.

Where Chore Shuffled is stored
My Chore Shuffler is stored above all the assigned chores where little hands can't reach. It has a heavy magnet holding it on the door.  We replace the assigned chores and use the Chore Shuffler on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  The kids love it!

My Daily Chores
Above: I know some of those cards are elementary but trust me, I can completely forget the simplist of tasks when I'm taking care toddlers, making money on the side, and trying to keep up on laundry and dishes. So yes, I even have one to remind me to make my bed. The ones where they say See Chart, it's referring to the last picture at the bottom.  When a card said to perform Special Chore of the Day, I check my other chart that explains what it is in detail.  If it's the kitchen that means I do more than just a quick wipedown.  Every Monday I completely sanitize and mop.  Tuesdays is sanitizing bathrooms. Same with Laundry.  Each person has an assigned day.  If you don't have your clothes in the hamper you want washed by your assigned day then you miss out. By the way, one of my cards that says Hot Spot Rescue means that I find an area of the house that needs special attention and then I clean it during a 30 minutes time.  It's actually supposed to only be for 15 but with toddlers, my time gets interrupted a lot.  This could be a pile of papers or laundry baskets to go through and put away. Whatever it is.

Where my daily chores are stored

Above: It took awhile to perfect exactly how to keep up on everything without going crazy and ignoring my kids.  I'm not the lady that has wild eyes while scrubbing every spot of the house possible.  I tend to get overwhelmed and just throw my hands up.  I have to have things written down.  Well, I used to have a chart where I put a check mark for each chore I finished. But then I constantly had to make a new one. Then I got the idea to make two small folders that hold each of those chore cards. At the beginning of everyday the cards go into the To Do folder.  Then as I do the chore, the card is placed in the Finished folder.

click on picture to make larger
The yellow card on top keeps us making sure things are done in timely manner rather than just losing track of time.  The pink card shows the laundry schedule and the bottom is the special chore chart for myself.  So this whole chore chart has been planned out to a science to make sure everything is done without finger pointing or confusion.  That way things can be run smoothly. 

 This one I just added because we needed a smooth system at meal time. By the time I set the whole table, the food would be cold and the clean up was horrendous. I also wondered how fast we could clear the table if we worked as a team. This chart is what we agreed on. I can't believe how fast the table and food got set out and then how fast the clean up was. Why didn't I think of this before?


Sometimes it's just fun to turn cleaning into a game. We made up one called:

Hide or Pick Up 5

It's basically Hide and Seek.  One person searches for everyone.  If you get caught in your hiding spot or while heading to the base, when the game is finished you have to pick up 5 items that need to be put away from anywhere in the house.  If you make it to base or are not caught, you pick up nothing.  If the person that counted does not catch anyone, he has to pick up 5.  The person counting never has to pick up unless he catches no one.

Well, with me and 5 kids playing, that's 25 items being picked up in every round.  That can add up really fast!  We have lots of fun while playing the game and getting house picked up at the same time.
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