Wednesday, October 29, 2008

How are we doing? and the Five Minute Chore List

Whew! I think I might be caught up with email requests for the chore spec sheets. If you asked for one and haven't gotten it yet, please email me AGAIN, because it got buried in the email onslaught!! Ack! Where's a good secretary when you need one? =)


I am very excited, because I'm seeing results already from getting my family back in a better routine - one we've had before, but have let slide as my kids have gotten older. I've justified my lack of leadership in this area: "They 'should' know what needs to be done!" (They should? Then why aren't they doing it?). Or how about this one: "It's not that bad!" (Oh really? Will their college roommate or their future spouse think so?).

Anyway, I hope you are seeing some improvements, too!

I'm always amazed at my ability to tell myself, "I don't have time" to get ahead of my family, but sheesh, it's a drop in the bucket compared to the wailing and gnashing of teeth it takes when I'm parenting reactively instead of proactively. Such a better way to live.

When our kids were little and we were teaching them their "jobs" on their fingers, we had a spare finger for a "five minute chore."

This was an ongoing list of things I could assign as the last "job" to be done each morning and night. It was also a handy list to refer to when children were caught loitering around the house and needed to be engaged in something more productive, or for me, when I was on the phone and wanted to multi-task (hey, when I'm talking to my sister I can lose all track of time!).

I've lost my list over the years (just think of all the opportunities I've wasted!) so I thought I'd enlist your help in putting it back together.

Here are some of the items on the original list:
  • Empty bathroom trash
  • Polish mirror
  • Straighten pillows on sofa
  • Feed pet
  • Wipe table
  • Sweep porch
  • Empty dishwasher (yes, we've timed it, and it CAN be done in about five minutes. So WHY do I put it off so often??)
Can you think of some other things that can be done - even by little ones - in five minutes or less?

Kids love a challenge, so anytime you can set a timer (or just count, for little ones) it's a way to keep the drudgery out of work. Check out this fun post by Jamie at Purposeful Pursuit for some great "working" games if you need more inspiration!


Livin' out loud said...

Kathrine.....(sing-song voice)'ve been TAGGED! :-)

Livin' out loud said...

ops! forgot your "e"....hope you'll forgive me!!!

Christy. said...

Dust a specific section of the house.

Bring laundry to the laundry room.

Put away a load of laundry.

count it all joy said...

Thanks for the ongoing inspiration re family chores. You've given me a fresh perspective, when I had just about given up hope!

Maureen said...

I have definitely seen improvements as far as my little ones go. In fact when I asked my 5 year old today what he was doing in the kitchen, he replied "following the rules". He was cleaning up after his snack, I was elated.

When it comes to my 15 year old and 18 year old that is when things fall apart. It seems they are never home. Between school, work and extra curricular activities I find that I have to pick up the slack and do their chores because they aren't around.

So, instead of giving them things like clear the dinner table since they aren't eating with us sometimes, I have stuck to their rooms being clean, doing their own laundry and helping with the lawn or babysitting or whatever helpful thing they can do when they are home.

Anyone else have this dilemma?

living in organized chaos,

E. Tyler Rowan said...

Here's my five minute chore that I keep putting off - cleaning up doggy doo. Sigh.

Wash one light fixture.

Windex all the mirrors. (My kids just love helping with this - nothing is more fun than spraying the windex.)

Vacuum your main/living room (sometimes that's all that really needs to get done).

Wipe down light switches or door knobs.

Tidy the bookshelf.

Wash the pots/pans in the sink (I hate this one, and usually put it off till I'm cooking and need what's in the sink).

Thanks for reminding me of these! I need to stick a note on my fridge so I can take care of some of these while on the phone... I, too, can talk for a long while with some people. :)

Jamie said...

Oh, I love the idea of the '5 minute chore'! So many things can be done in just 5 minutes time. I'm going to put some thought into this one and implement it in some way at my house. With teens around, they aren't always home for big chunks of time, but surely they could do a '5 min. job' before they have to rush out of the house.

Anonymous said...

Great ideas on chores. I'm inspired again. I'll have to think about 5 minute chores for my little guys (I have 4, ages 6 to 1). Thanks for the ideas!