Family Chore System

February 2, 2009

dscn2108I recently revamped our chore system…twice!  I have always had trouble figuring out exactly what I should expect from my kids at their various ages and ability levels and how to combine all the responsibilities to make a clean, fairly straight, smooth-flowing home and routine.  Adding in a baby  and a new house this year made everything even more complicated!  I realized about 2 weeks ago that we had lived in our new house for almost four months and we only had a few routines in place (such as Kitchen Helper of the Day) and it was time for more!  So, I figured out a plan but the more I thought about it, the more it seemed that something wasn’t right about it, so I went back to the drawing board.  I thought back over some of the things that have worked well for me in the past (some of FlyLady’s concepts) and some blog posts I had read from moms dealing with this same issue and I also thought about what I wanted the kids to learn from doing chores and helping around the house.  I knew I wanted something simple and flexible and I wanted something that combined individual responsibility with working together. (Kind of a smaller scale picture of how we live in the body of Christ…taking care of our own families but helping the body as well).  So, I started making notes on a scrap of paper while I was cooking one afternoon.  Then I typed it all up, explained it to my family, and we have now been doing it for a week.  So far, so good!

Just in case you might be wondering about the details, here they are:

First of all, we kept the Kitchen Helper program we had already instituted.  This person (rotating between Alley and Liam right now since some of the duties are too difficult for a three year old) helps set and clear off the table, they put away the plastic “kid” plates and cups from the dishwasher, they take the kitchen trash to the garage can and they take the small kitchen-sized recycling bin we have to the bigger recycling bin in the garage.  They also help with any other jobs that come up in the kitchen throughout the day when asked.  Dresden is asked to help here as she is able.

Secondly, I came up with 5 morning and 5 evening responsibilities for them to do on their own.  Each item on the lists begins with the letter “B” for easy memorizing.  The “Beginning B’s” are Bed (make bed), Body (get dressed), Breakfast, Bible, and Bathroom. “Bathroom” refers to a quick cleaning of an assigned bathroom.  They remove any dirty clothes, toys, etc and straighten the counter and towels.  They check the trash can and empty if necessary, and they wipe down the sink, counter and toilet.  When they are done with these jobs, we all meet together to begin what we call “House Help“.  (Similar to “room rescues” that we have done for years when things are getting a little out of hand).  I set a timer for 3 minutes and we each go to our own bedroom, where the bed is already made, and straighten until the timer goes off.  We call this Bedroom Boogie. Then, we meet again and do the Family Room Frenzy for 3 minutes.  Then, we do the Hall Hurry which includes the entry and bedroom halls and the stairs.  Next is Living Room Limbo and then Dining Room Dance.  This gets the house basically straight and then we spend about 15 minutes doing what we call Deep Clean Determination.  For this we have divided the house up into zones and we clean one each day.  Today was Living Room/Dining Room so we dusted and vacuumed those rooms, as well as wiping off the chalkboard and the dining chairs.  Tomorrow we will dust, sweep, and mop the family room and on Wednesday we will work in the kitchen, wiping the appliances and sweeping and mopping.  Thursday is the bathrooms (a deeper cleaning of the toilet and tub and floor) and Friday is the bedrooms.  In the evening, they have a list of “Bedtime B’s” to do before bed.  They are:  Bath, Boogie (this refers to a quick straighten of the office/craft/play room and putting their laundry away), Body (putting on pajamas/brushing teeth), Book (I read outloud to them for about 15 minutes), and Benediction (our prayer to end the day).  On top of this, I am mostly responsible for the kitchen (a work in progress!) and I try to do a load or two of laundry every day.  So, far this has worked well for us.  We sit down to our schoolwork with a clean house and it seems to make the whole day go more smoothly.  I like this plan because Dresden can jump in and help with quite a bit of it, even though she is not capable of doing as much as the older two, and she is learning about doing it together.  Also, if one child is sick, the rest of us can very easily make up for their absence by just picking up a few more items and spending a few minutes in a bathroom.

I have also noticed that everyone is more inclined to pick up after themselves throughout the day when everything is already neat and tidy.  Alley and Liam have both commented on this new system and they think it is fun and easy to do.  Time will tell if it will truly work in the long run but I am hopeful at this point!dscn2105

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5 Responses to “Family Chore System”

  1. Jane B. said

    Great idea and very organized…wish mine were young enough to try it…you should sell it!!!

  2. mom said

    I agree with Aunt Jane, wish I had done this years ago! Maybe you could sell it! Sounds like an absolutely wonderful plan!

  3. Dad said

    Very creative and organized. Hope it continues to work well as the novelty of something new wears off.

  4. Jana said

    Tara, I am sure once I have a house I’ll need to implement something like this to stay on top of things. Right now I am able to clean my entire house from top to bottom in just a few hours, but I have a lot less to clean than you. I like the letters you used to help everyone remember what they are supposed to be doing! Good job!

  5. Heidi said

    Love it!! I will have to call you in about 4 yrs and ask for a refresher on this one 🙂

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