Sunday, March 24, 2013

My (Current) Chore System


I’ve tried a slew of ideas, some have worked better than others, sometimes I change because of the ages and abilities of my children. Anyway, this seems to be working for now.

I put the above chore chart in a sheet protector and it lives on the side of our refrigerator. I made some temporary circles from construction paper and use tacky putty to stick them where they go. I made this to be a 4-week rotation and each week’s allotment of chores includes 1 kitchen chore (to be performed after each meal), 1 bathroom chore and 1 Room Of Focus chore.

In the example above, Mom (purple) empties the dishwasher after each meal (or whenever the dishes are clean if there is a lot to wash), cleans the tub and mirrors, and keeps the living room tidy (everyone is responsible to put away their own things, then I sweep, vacuum, and tidy up what’s left);

Eli (green) sweeps the floors in the kitchen and dining room after each meal (or at least as often as necessary to keep things neat), sweeps the bathroom floor and wipes up any grubby spots on the floor or around the toilet, and helps all of the rest of us with our chores (at least 5 minutes of hard work for each person who is actually doing their chores);

Geo (blue) loads the dishwasher as soon as I unload, keeps the toilet clean, and keeps the front of our house picked up (tosses trash, puts bikes and scooters in carport, etc.);

Nina (pink) keeps the counters and table cleared, wiped and everything put where it goes, the counters and sink clean in the bathroom, sweeps the hall and keeps it clear of things and keeps the music room tidy (music straightened, piano turned off, etc.)

And last, but not least, Ana (4) checks to make sure our dog, Lucy, has food in her bowl and water in her dish, helps make the bed and keep her 1/2 of her room tidy, puts “hair and teeth things” away, and helps Eli with is chores (when she isn’t bothering him so much that he asks for me to keep her out of his way, sigh).

I made the chart pictorial, not because most of my workers aren’t readers, because they are, but because I can see from across the room what any given person is supposed to do. Also, I tried at the very beginning to change chores daily, but it got to be too hard to remember what chores we were on so I changed it to weekly chores which works much better. After the first day, I can remember what I did the day before and don’t even have to look at the chart to know what I’m supposed to be doing. It’s a real time-saver.

The number next to each row of chores is the order of evening showers except that my number trickles down to Ana. I have been trying to get the younger 2 to take their baths/showers earlier in the day so there’s not such a bottleneck during supper/shower time, but that might not work as well in the summer when there will be more playing the dirt, even in the later hours of the day.

Since I don’t always have time to (1) do all the chores by myself or (2) check everyone’s work myself, I came up with a way to designate. If I can’t check someone’s work to make sure they are done, I made this little wheel chart (which I can change every week based on my rotation schedule below). It helps us all know who should check whose work. So in the example below, Eli would check Nina’s work and on around the circle.


I came up with schedule because a certain older sister has a problem doing the dishwasher duty with a certain younger brother every other week (because he is “so slow”) so I came up with this chart to keep things “fair.” (I also made the rule that if the unloader takes too long, the unloader can expect to also be the loader, that helps too).


We try to do a “Family 15” every day outside of “chore time” and that helps a lot to keep things mostly tidy. If any of my crew doesn’t do an adequate job in their area and it requires my help to get the job done, I do their chores for them, but they know I don’t come cheep.

I’m a good worker and I do a good job and I expect the “workers” on my crew to do the best that they are able to do (I understand that they each have their own best and it’s not anyone else’s best, though I do try to help them improve their best when I can). When I don’t think they did their best or didn’t even try to do their jobs, I either put on my red bandana, or just inform them that I’m working for them (sometimes I give them a few minutes warning), set my stopwatch and go like crazy. It usually doesn’t cost them more than $1 when I do work for them, but there is a certain worker who seems to be taking a long time learning the lesson of diligence and hard work. I feel bad, and I have discounted my fee to him since he is less experienced than his older siblings and still in the training phase, but I want him to understand that there is a consequence to not doing jobs in this house.

I have recently started “hiring” help when I don’t have time to do someone’s chores. They all know that they can be hired to help Mom and that if they don’t do a good job or do their chores, Mom will hire help to work for them. I don’t pay them my going rate as I don’t think they work as fast or as well as I do (yet), but at least it’s something and it gets the job done. It also tends to cut down on the “No fair! You’re stealing our money!” complaints if they can turn and earn some of it back working for someone else.

So, I say this is my current system, it probably won’t last forever, but for now it seems to be working pretty well for us. I’ll post again if I come up with anything better.

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