Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Chore time!

Confession: I am not super woman.

Now, if you know me, this should not be surprising. If you don't know me - you should also not be surprised. I cannot do it all.  I melt sometimes. I cry often. I like a clean house but it often explodes upon itself...

Clothes magically fly from their bins and disperse around the room. Toys are ejected from their buckets and strewn on the floor. Dishes are constantly dirty. Goobers are always tracked in. Coats are never hung.  

I know I have 4 young children, but this mess was going to cause a mental breakdown (which would not be hard since I'm borderline crazy already). 
In short, I either needed to 
1. hire a maid 
2. get rid of EVERYTHING in our home 
3. teach my children about being a part of this family. 
I picked number 3.

I've had my people make their beds (as well as they are able) since they could pick up their blankie. They know where all the toys go. They know it is a "pull one toy out/put one toy back" kind of house. 

Which is not as neat as it sounds...because I have 4 children. It can get dicey at times. 
Although they do work it out eventually. 
I think they can safely put "mediator" on all of their resumes one day. 

We have had chore charts in the past...but, honestly, I lacked the self-discipline to keep up with it. Training children is often just as much about training mommy. 

So far, this has been a fabulous routine for us. 
Today is our second day.
But - I'm happy. The house is being tended. The Big girls are happy. And the little two are DYING for me to get to their chores!
I'd say that is an overall win. 

Here is the nitty-gritty....

1. I get stressed out VERY easily when trying to teach a child to do something that I could do in 30 seconds....and 30 minutes later it is finally accomplished...poorly. 
2. I get even MORE annoyed if I'm trying to teach more than one at the same time. (And yes, a post on how home schooling went down "for real" should probably be written.)

SO...I changed how I introduced the charts. In the past, I've gone nuclear and introduced a chart/system to all children at the same time with all of their chores on it and spent an entire day educating them on how to do everything. 

Not very effective. 

Yesterday morning, I showed Jumping Bean (5 1/2) her chart. Just her. String Bean was already at school and Bitty Bean and Boy Bean were watching a show. We went over every item together. Most of the things she already is supposed to do - and has been taught - but struggles to remember. Those are:

Make bed
Put away clothes (jams, dirty clothes, clean laundry)
Brush teeth
Pick up toys (in room and one other room throughout the day)
AWANA (study verses every day)
The new chore yesterday?
Take out the bathroom trash. Every morning. 
I went over the procedure and had her do it yesterday. Today she did it perfectly. :)
So this morning, we added in:
Bathroom Sink - she is responsible for their bathroom sink and trash. Once she masters that, we will add other things I know she can handle. But right now, I want her to  
- get into the routine of doing her chores
- find success in accomplishing her jobs well
- pay attention to her specific areas and know what they are to look like clean. 
Jumping Bean LOVES it. LOVES the stickers. Loves being in charge.
Loves knowing how to do something and no one else can touch her job. :)

Last night, it was String Bean's turn. She is 7 1/2 and can handle more. (Jumping Bean will get more eventually - but I am not going to overwhelm her at the moment) So, she has a similar "normal chore" list:

Make bed
Put away clothes
Brush teeth (why is that so hard to remember???)
Pick up toys
New Chores explained last night?
Downstairs bathroom (Lysol wipe the toilet, spray the bowl with cleaner, clean bowl with toilet brush. Wipe down the sink - at the moment just a wipe, eventually it will be with cleaner. Check the toilet paper levels - reload if necessary. Make sure the towel is clean and tidy.)
Dishwasher (Unload clean dishes before school - as much as time allows. Load dishwasher with the dishes from one meal of the day)
Bring kid laundry basket downstairs every morning
String Bean LOVES it. Everything about it. The responsibility. The helping. The stickers. And also loves knowing how to do something in the house and nobody else can do it. :)   In fact, as soon as String Bean walked in the door after school she said, "I've gotta check my toilet! Want to keep it clean!"

Tomorrow, I will work with Bitty Bean on her chart, it will include the same normal chores (minus homework) and cleaning the mirror in their bathroom. 
I'm still trying to figure out what to do with Boy Bean...he WILL have a chart - I'm just not sure yet what it will consist of.

Courtesy of My Love leaving, I really NEED the kids to pitch in - I can't float being both parents and keeping up the house. And the kids know that. I'm thankful they want to help - and I feel bad that I've not drawn them in to aid with the house more often. It is normally me prodding and harassing and begging them to clean - but with it clearly explained and written out, that seems to be much less of an issue. 

They do not get paid for the chores on the chore chart. 
They are a part of this family, and need to participate in our upkeep. I know there are many people who do pay for chores - and I have no issue with that. But we don't.
In the next week (or so) I will make a list of EXTRA chores - and the amount they will earn for doing them. Those will be things that can be done ONLY if your regular chores are completed, and will be kept in a separate place. (Guess I'll have to write about that later, huh?)  

Oh - one final thing: Chores are to be done both QUICKLY and HAPPILY. If I have to hound you - or you stomp about and do it with a nasty attitude - there will be no reward. No sticker. No money. 

Hopefully, I'll be able to keep up with this - because I am a million times happier when I'm not doing it all!  

Isn't that why you have kids anyway? 
To make yourself happy?  ha!

~Whitney Copyright 2013


  1. A mom that I sit for has a marble jar instead of paying for "extra" chores they get marbles. When the jar is full they get an experience that they want - sleep over, movie out, swimming pool, hiking etc. They really like it and if they don't do chores marbles are swiftly taken away.

    1. ooooh.....that is a really good idea!

  2. LOL..... Yes, that's why we have kids - that and it's such a character refining experience! xoxo P

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


Thank you for your thoughts and encouragement!