I’m going to tell you all a secret.
Managing a household is no joke!
Ok, that probably isn’t much of a secret but the fact of the matter is that is the truth. Growing up I knew that houses needed to be cleaned because I helped with cleaning the house I lived in. I knew laundry needed to be done because by the time I was old enough to reach the nobs on the machines I was doing my own laundry (for the most part). I knew food needed to be purchased, prepared, consumed, and cleaned up after because well…I ate the food and often helped clean up from it. These are all things I KNEW needed to be done because I lived in a well-lived in house.
However, it wasn’t until I was in college and having to make the decisions on how things were managed that I really began to understand the amount of work that goes into the process. It wasn’t until I was married and started having kids that I began to truly understand the reality of decision fatigue. And now that the kids have gotten older and are more capable of helping out with the things that need to be done in the home they live in am I beginning to understand just how important it is to teach them how to manage things on their own when the grow up, move out, and have to handle home management themselves.
Recently, in an attempt to help make things a bit easier on myself I made the decision to revamp the way we handle chores here in our house. Before this new system each of the kids was in charge of their laundry and keeping their bedrooms cleaned up consistently. Then on a Friday or Saturday I would assign a room or task and we would work together to get things cleaned and organized. With this new system I am working toward helping not only eliminate the decision fatigue of choosing who will do what chore and when but also help the kids to begin to learn and develop some personal time management, responsibility, and ownership of something.
Our Chore Chart
While we were still living in Fort Worth I happened upon this cute little calendar board. While we were in Seminary I used it as it was intended to be used, as a calendar. I wrote down our BIG daily events so that Dusty and I both knew what was happening that week. When we moved the purposed changed and it became a menu board. And now, it has been repurposed again as our chore chart, with the help of some paint and the use of a Cricut vinyl cutting machine.
Each room is given it’s own square and then we also have two spaces that Dusty and I can add “chores for hire”. I have assigned each person their own room that they are responsible for maintaining. This room will be their responsibility for the entire month. Once the month is over we will rotate the chores and each person will become responsible for a new room for a new month. There is also a large space for bedrooms where we will include any big bedroom changes that might need to be done, like when we will declutter toys and clothes, when we will move big furniture and clean under, and anything else that isn’t a regular occurrence.
One of the ways I am working toward each kid being able to be responsible for maintaining their assigned room properly is by creating a check list that they can follow that has been placed in each room. These check lists include things that must be done daily as well as things that must be done weekly. I also have a separate list of items that need to be done monthly that I will help with when the time comes for those items. The lists are laminated so they are able to use dry erase markers to check things off as they have been accomplished. Once they check the list off that tells me I can come check the work that has been done. If it is done correctly we move along, if there is something that could be done better I will walk through that with them, have them complete the task, then we move along to the next activity.
Home Hacks to Make Things Easier
Along with the rotating chore chart there are a few things that we have incorporated to make sure things stay mostly maintained making the cleaning process easier. The first thing we have done is that each person is responsible for washing their own plate/bowl, silverware, and cup after each meal. This helps keep the counter clutter down and minimized the amount of dishes the kitchen cleaning person has to do. We also work on trying to do as much “wash as we go” work when cooking meals. Secondly, we have limited the amount of clothes that each of us has to roughly 2 weeks worth of clothing a piece (plus a couple of special occasion items). We also have a set day of the week that each person’s laundry gets done and then a set day for towels and sheets. This keeps our laundry to one load a day, usually started first thing in the morning. Everyone is responsible for doing their laundry on their day (I help the girls since Madilynn is still just learning the process). This means that, for the most part, if it comes down to them having run out of clean clothes to wear it’s really only their fault because they knew when they needed to do the laundry. And then, lastly, we have a 15 minute “straighten up” period right before bed each evening. This helps us make sure everything is neat and tidy for when we wake up in the morning as well as helping us begin to tell our bodies and our minds that we are getting ready to settle down for the night.
It is my hope that as we work through this process not only are the kids learning to take ownership of this home that they live in but they are also developing standards and practices they will take with them when they launch out on their own one day. I often say I’m not raising children, I am raising future adults and it is my job to make sure they have the tools in their tool box that they need to be successful in the world, and efficient, effective home management are part of those necessary tools.
So how do you help your kids manage their chores? What are some best practices or home hacks that you find works best? Let me know in the comments!