I couldn’t wait till my kids were old enough to have chores. With babies coming every 1 ½ to 2 years, I just couldn’t keep up on my own, and my dear husband’s greatest desire was to have the house nice and neat and tidy. *sigh* Now, don’t get me wrong…he helped a LOT. I can remember one afternoon when our first was a tiny baby. I had actually gotten the baby to go to sleep in his crib instead of on my lap attached to my breast, and I was at the sink doing dishes. Bryan walks in from work, gives me a kiss, and goes to grab the broom to start sweeping the kitchen. I LOST it. “How can you expect me to get it all done?? I’m sorry!! I just hadn’t gotten to the sweeping yet!! I JUST got the baby down, and I don’t even know what we’re having for dinner!!” **sob, sob, sob** You know, those completely unrealistic expectations that you have for yourself when you’re a new mom.
But…wait…now I have seven kids, I’m almost 15 years into this gig, and I still had those same feelings yesterday.
Enough about MY issues, let’s get down to the meat of things. I HAD to have a way to get my little guys who turned into bigger guys with more little people coming up behind, trained in the ways of keeping a house running. You know and I know, I DEFINITELY can’t do this all on my own, not even with a broom-wielding husband!!
Generally, you get on the “chore chart” when you hit 6-years-old.
(if you click on the image, you will be taken to the editable google doc)
You’re paired up with an older sibling till you are 7, then you are on your own. Since mealtimes are the messiest, the chores are done after each meal. Mom and Dad are in charge of Saturday’s chores, and everyone pitches in on Sunday. I have a four-week rotation of chore charts, so you never have to do the same chore for more than a week. I also have an “alternate” Week 3 chart, as the fifth child kind of throws things off. Apparently, dusting and sweeping and lunch dishes are the “best”, and dinner dishes, laundry, and bathrooms are the “worst”. Tee hee hee!
I have also had to make additional checklists for individual chores that didn’t seem to be getting done completely, a.k.a. the bathrooms. I’ll print it out and stick it to the wall of the room that needs correct attention for about a month. That seems to do the trick. Well…until the next time I have to print it out and stick it back up there. I’ve thought about doing it for every chore sometimes, as I feel like I spend a lot of my time calling people back to finish a chore correctly, but everything takes time that I don’t seem to have a whole lot of!!
Now before you think everything runs smoothly all the time at my house, let me just say that I still have to chase children down to get their chores done. Especially my angelic, 10-year-old daughter when she has vacuuming for the week! It’s not till the middle of day that my brain catches up and I think to myself…”hey, she never ran that vacuum this morning!” My kids also know that evening TV or rainy day video games are NOT going to happen unless all chores get done. I get to nag them a lot less because of these consequences. Generally, everything runs pretty smoothly, and I don’t get dishpan hands! (I HATE DISHES!!)