August 22, 2011

Chores, Nobody likes them but they need to be done

One of the things I've been working on is having the kids help out with the household chores.  I almost always had them help when I worked full time outside the home.  But for some reason (probably cause I can be a bit of a control freak) kids chores have slacked.  I been feeling increasingly overwhelmed with the amount of work it takes to run our household, keep the house looking decent, and have some kind of order.  Several months ago I redid the chore chart. 
Since we are restarting with chores I felt it would be best if I didn't give them kids more than 1 or 2 jobs a week.  It's never good thing to overwhelm them.  So I picked the six things I needed taken off my plate and that they were all capable of doing.
  • Setting the table for dinner.  Including wiping off the table before clean dishes go on it
  • Cleaning up after dinner.  This one is tailored to each child's ability.  Youngest helps clear dishes and wipes off table.  Middle child clears dishes, wipes off table, and helps with loading dishwasher.  Older children clear dishes, wipe off table, and load dishwasher.
  • Unloading dishwasher.  Again slightly tailored.  The youngest can't reach everything (even with a step stool) so he gets some help.
  • Sweeping the kitchen floor.  They sweep after dinner, so any and all food on the floor is cleaned up.
  • Taking out the trash.  With the size of our family this is almost a daily task.  Also tailored.  Youngest needs some help.  Middle child needs a little help sometimes.
  • Taking out the recycle.  Another almost daily task.

This is our family's chore chart.  As you can see it's a very simple layout

You can't believe how just taking six things off my daily to-do list lightens my load and my stress level.  I also think it's important for the kids to help out around the house.  They're learning about helping out their family.  And learning skills (although minor ones) that they'll need when they have their own home.  I do plan to add to the list in time.  Here's some of the things I'm thinking about and have started already.
  • Put away your own laundry.  I wash it, I fold it, I shouldn't have to put it away too.  This one is a hard one for me.  It drives me insane when the clean clothes aren't put away neatly, so I just want to do it myself.  So yeah, I'm having them do this again.
  • Washing their own clothes.  (a venting rant is about to start)  I am so sick and tired of washing my girls clothes.  I'm constantly washing stuff that doesn't need it.  Ex: A winter/stocking hat during the summer, that they keep putting in the dirty laundry, bathing suits in the winter.  I'm fed up and done.  They will do their own laundry.
  • Folding laundry.  I think that all four kids are old enough and capable enough to do this, or at least help.  I'm not certain if I'm capable of letting go of control.
Yeah I know the above list is all about laundry.  I'm doing laundry five days out of the week.

I've found it's most important to keep it simple.  You don't need a fancy chart to know who has what chores.  Starting small and adding more works well for our family.  Especially if you have older children who haven't done much around the house to help out.
Happy cleaning!
~Earthy Mom

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