Yes, the kids are getting older and more capable. The older 3 can all babysit, cook a meal, do their own laundry, and generally get things done when I need them to.
But they are also busier. Neal-16 is working 20-30 hours a week (will be 12-15 in the fall); Allie-17 is babysitting a lot. Libby-13 will have volleyball and lots of student council activities this fall.
So I looked up one day and realized my younger two (7 and 10) were living a splendid life of leisure. Yes, they did their own self-care, kept up with their rooms, were (generally) helpful when I asked them to do something.
But when it came to regular chores (meaning, the ones for the benefit of the family), I was still counting on the older ones too much. When the big kids were gone (which was ALL THE TIME!!), instead of regularly assigning a younger child, guess who ended up taking up the slack?? ACK.
Yep, I said I would never do it, but I had neglected to bring the younger ones into the chore rotation.
So last week I decided to resurrect the Chore Rotation that served our family faithfully during the elementary years. It sort of fell by the wayside the last 2-3 years when our schedule went crazy. All my "helpers" were home at different times and I thought I would just be frustrated making assignments that wouldn't ever get done. I was mostly relying on my Chore Clips, which are awesome, but at our house, those work best for "non-regular" chores, like organizing a drawer and "by the way, get your shoes out of the living room."
Here's how it looked then (3 weeks of rotation for 3 kids, ages starting around 6-10).
Now that they are 7 to 17, I decided to give each person a "chore buddy" for most things that absolutely must get done every day - feeding the pets, unloading the dishwasher, etc. That way they can work out sharing the job based on who's going to be home. My goal is really to have the younger two take the biggest load, since they are home the most, and they are the most cheerful workers.
Now our rotation is five weeks for five kids. Here's Week 5. My older kitchen helpers are going to be assigned one night to make dinner. I'm pretty pumped about that.I can't fit it on a 4x6 card anymore (rats!). I printed the 5 weeks on 5 pages and put them in page protectors on the fridge. We rotate on Sundays.
The kids have been surprisingly enthusiastic about this, probably because they like to know what's coming, and hate it when it appears that I "nag." Who me?
I'm also working on budgets, projects and menus - more on that later...