Sunday, August 07, 2011

Resurrection of an old friend

Every year about this time I start panicking looking at how I can make things go more smoothly at the Raising Five house.

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...


mholgate said...

Perfect timing for this post! The kids start school in two weeks and I need to edit my chore chart rotation to fit our new home. :)


Rachel said...

STEALING THIS! I've really been driving myself crazy trying to figure out how to train my children in doing their share of the chores and making sure that when I send them into the world they will be able to take care of themselves.

Debbie said...

Aack! Need help big time. My kids start school in 11 days. Need to do better w/ chores & training. And not dumping everything on the already busy olders. It's time the youngers started taking up the slack. Do you have any files you can make available? How do you do this rotation thing?

Katherine@Raising Five said...

Debbie, I will send the word doc to you. If anyone else wants it just email me =).

As far as rotation, I've found that my kids do better keeping the same job for a week - less forgetting and less arguing. For each page, I just scooted everyone's name over one place from the previous week's assignments. It beats having to write everything down on a whiteboard every week!

Jennibell said...

Wow, LOVE this!!! We have monthly chores (that usually drag into 2 or even three months) with assigned $ amounts so basically they can choose what their allowance is going to be that month based on how many chores they sign up for (or we sign them up for). This is such a simple chart -- love it!! I need to be better about end-of-the-day stuff. . .thanks for the simplicity of showing us "counters, sweep, etc." Good luck! I think you're right -- less arguing when it's in black-and-white and they know what to expect. . .so much easier.

Demetria @ Christian Homeschool Moms said...

Good idea on the chore rotations! I have been looking for some ideas on how to make this work for my family--thanks for posting.