Yesterday I outlined what I do each day and how I organized my chores and plans. I take a similar approach to setting out what the boys do each day. I first wrote out what I wanted them to do each morning between breakfast and lunch, lunch and supper and supper and bedtime. I tried to alternate the completion of some tasks like loading and unloading the dishwasher . There are some tasks that each boy does everyday. I want them to master a task before they move on or change. You can view their task lists here. I printed them, covered them with contact paper and have them check off each task as they complete it. I ask them to have each routine completed by a specific time. So morning chores are done by 11:00 so that I can check their chores before lunch. Afternoon chores are done by 4pm.
We do pay the boys twice a day for their “work” but we also expect them to contribute without pay when asked. We pay them 50 cents for their morning routine and 50 cents for their afternoon routine (Zeke gets 25 cents). However, if chores aren’t complete by the designated time or not done well, if I have to ask or remind more than once, or if there is an unusual amount of arguing, fighting or foul attitude I take off 25 cents. I try to incorporate Zeke into many of the chores during the day so that he is learning alongside the big boys and still feels “useful”. He really gets a charge out of carrying dirty laundry to the back porch, setting napkins on the table and emptying the dishwasher. In fact, he almost empties the dishwasher almost all by himself each morning.
I want to say a couple things about having kiddos doing chores.
1. Work alongside them. Let them see you working too. Let them see and know that many hands make light work. And that they have an integral part in making your family run smoothly. It is part of being a family. We all must work together so we can all play together.
2. Train, train, train. Training children is hard work. Gabe has been sweeping the floor for the last year, yet I found myself re-training him this last week about how to properly sweep the floor. It takes time. In general the steps we follow when training for a new chore are as follows…
a. Tell them what you expect
b. Show them what you expect
c. Do it with them
d. Supervise their practice
e. Independent practice (with routine checks and then move to intermittent/spot checks).
And then train again if needed. Sometimes you need to write out the steps or take it step by step and help them master a step first before moving on to the next step.
There are some things that I didn’t include on our daily expectation sheets, but that we still expect. Things like clearing their dishes from the table after meals etc.
I also have a similar system for their lesson plans and school work. It very similar to what Amy talks about here (at one of my favorite blogs). 🙂
So far this system is working well for us. The boys know what is expected of them and are accountable for making sure it is complete by the “due time” (there is a little bit of give if I see they’ve been working on it and are almost done). It saves me from having to run around and chase them to make sure everything is getting done. I have 2 scheduled check points (11 and 4) to make sure daily chores are getting done. I have a schedule for getting bigger projects done each month and I don’t get overwhelmed by the amount of work there is. I have found after going through a couple cycles of this that the projects aren’t as big and they are taking less time to get complete.
Hope it helps! 🙂