Monday, December 1, 2008

Chores In Our Family

One of the most time consuming things about having a larger family is the chores. Since we all live in this house all day long, it gets messier than the home of the family across the street, where everyone is at work and school all day long. We must clean up and do it often!

One day a few years back, I sat down with chores in mind. I broke each job down into its componants and wrote detailed lists. Then I decided which chores were most appropriate for each child. The smaller children got the easier parts, of course and the older ones, the harder.

My husband created a spreadsheet with all the chores listed on the left-hand column and names of all the children (rotated, so they are in different places) in four columns toward the right. One child has a certain aspect of each chore for a month. On the first day of the month we change to the next column. Everyone has a new job. After four months, we are back to the beginning. Each child has learned each job completely.

An example: The kitchen is cleaned very quickly after meals in this manner. I wash pots and handwashables and put away food, one child sweeps, one clears and wipes the table, one wipes down the chairs and pushs them in when the sweeper is finished, one clears and wipes the counter and stove. The smaller children wipe the table legs, clean the front of the dishwasher, stove and fridge. One picks up any toys or big things on the floor for the sweeper.

I can now call on any one of the six oldest children to do a job by themselves or with a partner and it gets done well!

Our 'jurisdictions' (to borrow a term from the Duggar Family) are: kitchen, bathroom, living and family rooms, bedrooms, playroom and animals. We have had the same chart for a couple of years now, and I am planning an upgrade. The children and I have taught all the little ones the chores, so it's time to 'graduate' the older ones to new assigned chores and allow the six and seven year olds the responsibility of the 'big kids' chores.

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