Is it discouraging to you when you hear about families where the children WILLINGLY and CHEERFULLY assist their parents in household chores?
It is for me... especially because I don't have children that jump out of bed in the morning willing to serve around the house.
I have GOOD kids, but a system of organization - especially for completing the daily necessities of life - was lacking. We all need this - not just children!
After a long walk alone with my husband in which I poured out all of my frustrations, he came home and took the bull by the horns.
He loves me in spite of my many flaws, and a lack of organizational skills is one of those.
God bless the man to whom I am married - he came up with a great system and I'll share that with you today.
Start With the Bible
I love how my husband, Hal, framed his discussion with our children. He sat them down and read from the book of Proverbs. You can't debate the Word of God (at least in my house you can't!) and when we need parenting advice, this is the first book we consult.
You lazy people, you should watch what the ants do and learn from them.Ants have no ruler, no boss, and no leader.But in the summer, ants gather all of their food and save it. So when winter comes, there is plenty to eat.You lazy people, how long are you going to lie there? When will you get up?You say, “I need a rest. I think I’ll take a short nap.”But then you sleep and sleep and become poorer and poorer. Soon you will have nothing. It will be as if a thief came and stole everything you owned. ~ Proverbs 6:6-11
We are focusing a lot on DILIGENCE and FOLLOW THROUGH this year in our homeschool, can you tell?
This isn't so much an issue for younger children, but as the mom of an almost teen I'm seeing they are naturally inclined to more "relaxation".
A Simple Spreadsheet
Rather than purchasing a system or searching around online for something he could print (believe me -- Google "Chore Charts" and you will be overwhelmed with the possibilities!), Hal created a simple Excel spreadsheet for each child.
Included on the chart are 8 daily tasks, and one weekly task.
You can see that some of them are easy (don't we all like to check things off without a lot of work?) - like brushing your teeth and getting your daily exercise.
Others chores included straightening your room each morning, taking the dog out, emptying the dishwasher, and (I like this one) - helping mom with one thing.
The weekly task is expected to be completed on Saturday. For Anna that task is cleaning the kids' bathroom. For Grant it is weeding a big bed by our firepit in the back yard.
A close-up look at the tasks on the chart:
The full chart - you can see my children check off each day what chores they have completed.
Make it Positive
This is my favorite part!
I love how my husband phrased the "rewards" section of the chart:
"I will maintain these privileges if I maintain my daily chores"
"I will earn these bonuses if I finish all of my chores cheerfully and on my own."
Cheerfully and on my own -- brilliant!
Privileges maintained for Anna include use of her phone, iTouch, and television time (at mom's discretion).
Priviliges maintained for Grant include LEGOS, Loom Bracelets, and Wii time (at mom's discretion).
Now, here's the controversial part. We have never before offered an "allowance" to our children. But, my husband and I felt it was time they started earning their own money and being responsible for how it is spent.
To that end.... Grant will earn $10 each week and Anna will earn $13 each week (equivalent with their ages).
I've heard the arguments for and against allowances. Let's just respect each other's opinions on the matter and move on.
The Benefits of This System
- expectations are clear - and mom can't be dumping extra chores on the kids unexpectedly
- kids are working together - my children are reminding each other to check off their chores, and they have come up with creative ways to get their exercise TOGETHER.
- household runs more smoothly - I know that each morning the big chores will be DONE without me asking... and they will be done CHEERFULLY.
- money management - the kids have money of their own - dad has talked to them about tithing and putting a certain amount in their savings accounts
- promotes ownership and pride - the kids have PRIDE in their work - looking out at a weeded bed that YOU did brings pride - cleaning your own bathroom inspires you to take better care of it on a regular basis!
It's really SO simple. And I am SO thankful for my husband, who designed this for our family.
If you can make a simple spreadsheet or table in your word processing program, you can make this chart.
Be sure to keep it positive, and have GRACE with your children in the beginning.
We have so much on our plates as homeschooling moms - it doesn't do anyone good if we try to do it all.
Tell me about the chore system you use in your home!