Thursday, August 14, 2008

"It Worked For Me" Link list: chores

So I read Annette Lyon's blog today and it inspired me, so without her permission (repentance later) I've decided to do a link list based on her idea and I hope you guys will play along with me (and Annette whether she likes it or not). It's kinda a meme, but more a way for us to share our tricks and tips about home, family, kids, etc. I'm always looking over people's shoulders to see how they make things work. Maybe that means I'm more clueless than most--I wouldn't argue that point. Still, I wanna learn from you're brilliance. So, blog about something you do that could be a benefit the rest of us--maybe it's how you clean the bathroom without puking, or the pie you make that everyone dies over, or how you keep from running over the bikes in the garage--whatever it is that "worked for you". Off to the side of my blog you'll see a link list. For everyone that comes back here and tells me they've blogged under the title "It worked for me" I'll go to your blog, capture the link and list it here so other people can find it. Hopefully we all end up a little better off and this will be an ongoing thing.


Chore schedules have been the bane of my existence for many years--basically since I decided I actually wanted my kids to do chores. I'd come up with something, it would work for a couple weeks and then it would fizzle. I have likely tried dozens of concepts--from earning points, to earning money, to earning TV, to earning a non-screaming mother. However, I've never had one that stuck--until now. And I didn't even come up with it myself. My friend Sam did and I promptly copied it, made a couple adjustments, and since implementing it I have had not one--NOT ONE--complaint from anyone, myself included, and the house is cleaner than it's been in a very long time.

HOW IT WORKS: Instead of each kid having three or four chores every day, each kid has one day a week where they do all the chores. In addition to doing all the chores, they each have an extra individual chore only they do on their day, they make dinner (they choose one meal and make it each chore day of the month--by the end of the month they can make it themselves), clean up after dinner, read the scriptures, say family prayer, and they get to sit in the front seat. On the days they don't have chores, they only have to do 10 minutes cleaning their room. On Saturdays they each choose 3 chores from the list, first come first serve, they get assessed extra time in their room if it needs attention (3 of my kids get an extra 30 minutes every week, the other one uses her 10 minutes a day well and gets out of extra cleaning). They get $5 a week in pocket money if they fulfilled all their obligations. If they didn't, I deduct accordingly.

  • I have one child a day to keep up with. If I have to remind them several times I threaten to deduct money. I've actually deducted twice, and they were appalled and cleaned up their act the next week (pun intended)
  • On their non-chore day the kids can't do anything electronic til they've done their 10 minutes, but that's easy for me to keep up on cause it's only one thing.
  • I get out of making dinner 4 nights a week and they are learning to cook, but I only have to help one kid at a time.
  • I still get to cook 3 nights a week.
  • Although I'm not big on allowance, I've cut back on buying them treats at the store, movie tickets and other extras I used to buy because they didn't have any money. Now they buy their own treats and they haven't even noticed that I'm buying less cause they are excited to buy their own stuff. It's evened up to be about the same amount of money.
  • They are learning to pay tithing on a regular basis--fifty cents a week.
  • They only have to worry about chores one day a week
  • Six days of the week they are "off"
  • They know exactly what's expected of them each chore day (I have a list in a page protector that they mark off with a dry erase marker)
  • They get pocket money
  • Mom isn't screaming all the time
  • They don't get blamed for someone else not doing their job
  • They all got to choose the day that works best for them and they can plan it in advance.
Now my friend that came up with this idea has three kids, so they each got two days a week and the whole family helps out on Sunday. I have four kids, so I opted to take a day myself (Monday so I can clean up after the Sunday Hurricane) and each of the kids get one day. They have more chores than my friend's do because they only worry about it one day a week. Her youngest child has less chores than his sisters and gets less pocket money--my 6 year old has kept up just fine and loves that she's considered as 'big' as her brother and sisters.

These are the chores we do at our house:
  • Feed & Water dogs
  • Put Dogs in at night and out in the morning
  • Feed chickens & gather eggs
  • 5 minutes upstairs bathroom
  • 5 minutes downstairs bathroom
  • 5 minutes straighting the basement
  • 10 minutes misc. cleaning (ask mom)
  • 5 minutes straightening mud room
  • Empty red basket (this is a basket at the top of the stairs where I put all the stuff that goes in their bedrooms downstairs)
  • Empty and sort recycling bin
  • Put away your own laundry (they each have their own shelf in the laundry room)
  • child #1--fill chickens water container & do own laundry
  • child #2--bring in milk & do own laundry
  • child #3--pooper scooper (he actually volunteered for this one)
  • child #4--organize mom and dad's shoes (this one was my idea :-)
    • NOTE: My kids get a laundry sorter for their 11th birthday and are expected to wash their own clothes from that point on.
Anyway--for all of us at the Kilpack house this has worked great for the last six weeks. I've done a little workshop each week on how to prioritize their time in each room and they are improving, and I'm yelling less, the daily things are getting done every day and I'm loving it. I'll be adapting it a little bit when school starts, but not a lot as the kids love that they get it all over with in one felled swoop and then don't think about it again for a week. I do still end up with plenty to do around the house--I'm basically in charge of the kitchen, other than dinner, and I do a lot of the deeper cleaning, but I was doing that anyway AND having to do a lot of the daily straightening while yelling at my kids and trying to figure out where we were on the old chore charts. This certainly hasn't made it so I do less, only that what I spend my time on is more effective. My kids are learning to manage their time, cook, clean, and stay focused. For now, that's good enough for me.

So, that's what's worked for us. I'm anxiously awaiting what's worked for you.


Annette Lyon said...

You're brilliant! Both for the link idea (I'm sure I'll be back to read others' and--maybe if I find something else to talk about--add my own) and for the chore idea. What we're doing now is sort of working, but I feel like we limp along a bit. Your method might just do it, and we've got the same number of kids, too.

Time for a shake-up, maybe . . .

Autumn said...

So cool! Thanks Josi {And Annette}!

This sounds like a great way to try chores. I'm going to try it for sure.

I will make a post on my blog as well and link yours. This is going to be neat to read all the things that really work for real moms with big families! {We have 5 children}

Marcia Mickelson said...

Great ideas. I just blogged about what worked for me.

Michele Holmes said...

Great blog, Josi. You and Annette inspire me. I do have a system that has worked well in our family for quite some time. It's basically assigning one area of the house to one child each week.
Kind of like your idea, it's less for me to keep track of (we have a list on the fridge that tells me who's on bathroom, kitchen etc), and I know right away who has or has not taken care of their responsibilities. I'll blog about it as soon as I get through your edit!!

Anna Maria Junus said...

Hmm, I'll have to try this. And I'll have to think if there's anything that i do that works.

Jewel Allen said...

I love the laundry sorter idea at 11 concept. I've been wondering how to share this chore with the kids :-) Thanks for the tips!

Stephanie Humphreys said...

What a great idea. I blogged about this tonight.

Julie Wright said...

Josi and Annette are brilliant! I don't know if I do anything useful that anyone would want to emulate. Hmm. I'll get back with you on that

angela michelle said...

Wow, that's a great plan. We do two chores every evening, one you keep for a week, one changes each day of the week. I bet my kids would love having some days off. I love the idea of "workshops" to improve quality. I've been thinking of scheduling rotating "QA" days when mom shadows you during your chores and evaluates quality.

Don said...

This is a great idea. I've finally figured out something we're doing right so I can contribute!

2sisters said...

This is a great idea! Thanks for sharing it. We have been in a bit of a blogging slump. Any chance we could talk you into guest blogging for us? This would be a great thing to share (and of course a little bio to go with it :). If (after reading your post about your last year) life is too chaotic, we won't take it personally. You have a busy life.

Holly JS said...

I'm really interested to know if the chore system is still working well or if you've tweaked it.