Monday, November 28, 2011

Our Chore System

The chore system we use, like most everything I do, bears the distinctive hallmarks of somebody-else's-system, jury rigged and stuffed, slightly crooked, into my fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants style of managing things.  I figure if it works, that's ok.

Sooo...here is what we do for chores.  I think I've mentioned before that I like Managers of Their Chores by the Maxwells.  Their chore card system is extremely helpful, and a little over a year ago I sat down with it and put it all together for my four oldest kids. 

Wait...did I say four?  Yes. And yes, there are only two in the picture.  Here's why.

For a lot of years, I felt terribly guilty, because I have never been good at teaching my tiny ones to do chores.  Sure, the toddler sometimes can be persuaded that putting away blocks is fun.  My four year old is now pretty sure that putting his shoes away means he won't have to search high and low for them next time he needs them.  My five year old, bless her born-organized little heart, makes her bed every morning even though I have never asked her to - or *blush* even taught her how.  I do call them to help put away toys they left out, and we all work together on lots of things.  So I'm not a total slacker or anything, here. ;-)  But routine chores....mmmm, no, not really.  Not for the littles.  I wait until they are older - around 6 or so - before introducing routine, written down, daily chores that they are accountable for.   So I made up little chore packs for them, but never really used them.

I used to do this by accident, and feel guilty.  Now, as I have seen that it works out well for us, I do it on purpose.

So, the chore cards.  My oldest two daughters use them, and they are really quite wonderful.  The book has you write down the things that need done, divvy them up to different children, and then print off cards to go in the chore packs that clip on to the kids' clothes (good for the forgetful child).  I love that part of our schedule is morning and afternoon job time; the girls know what they need to do, and since they have had the same jobs for a long time, they are getting quite good at them.  It puts the whole thing on autopilot, and saves me quite a bit of brain power, thinking of what all needs done.  I do have to remember to check on them, because quality will slide if I don't.  They tend to start skipping the weekly type jobs if I'm not paying attention, too.

The book includes wonderful resources for keeping tabs on everything in a more systematic way, which is great...but like I said, other people's systems.  My distinctive, less-than-systematic touch. :)

We also have evening jobs, but we don't have cards for that.  I think we used to, but since it's pretty much helping fix dinner, set the table, tend the baby while I cook, and help clean up, we don't really need them.

The kids really like doing things this way, because they know I'm not normally going to jump on them with a list of jobs out of the blue.  They know what to expect and when to expect it.  I think it is because of that, at least partly, that I never hear any complaining about job times. 

I know that as my littler ones get older and get added into the job time crew, the job packs will be even more helpful at keeping everyone's assignments organized, doable, and remembered.

Do you have a chore system for your kids?  Do share!




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