Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Chores: Our Contribution to a Working Civilization

It was a relief when LtDan finally got it through my head
 that the kids were actually supposed to help me with the housekeeping.
Once I embraced the concept, I was curious about what chores 
other families had their kids doing, and I did some research to get ideas.
I was, quite honestly, shocked - but admittedly excited :o) - at how much kids in other families 
were doing around the house.

It works for us to change our approach to chores periodically.
This time, a little unwillingly, I took a suggestion from the kids 
and instead of creating a big chart and assigning out each task, 
we took a broader approach and assigned rooms.

After our lunch break, each person is responsible for an entire common area, floor to ceiling.  
That includes doing whatever is necessary to keep the area picked up and orderly:
straightening, putting things away, fluffing pillows, emptying trash, sweeping, etc.
During the week, we keep it to the basics of making sure things look straightened up.
We also alternate bathroom cleaning duty every other day.
On the weekend we go a little deeper,
and that's when the basics for each common area plus 
dusting, vacuuming, cleaning the ceiling fan, dusting the corners, etc. happens.

Here's our current chore chart:

The most critical element of doing chores is me checking them -
there is a definite direct correlation between quality and me performing quality control.  

Honestly, I didn't think this whole room approach would work - it just seemed a little too loose,
 but the kids really like it and that's probably why it works so well.  
If I walk through a room at any time of the day and it needs to be straightened, 
the room's "owner" is the person who's asked to take care of it.  
And while I'm being honest, I will tell you this approach seems to work 
much better in the common areas than in their rooms, 
but that's because I'm more likely to neglect checking the condition of their rooms 
in favor of making sure the common areas are orderly.

Our goal was to keep the house clean for an entire month
without needing to do a big effort house cleaning,
and we've exceeded that goal ... YAY!
By "clean" I mean straightened and reasonably clean (not necessarily clean-freak clean :o).

I'm working with four teenagers - 
well, three teens and a 20 year old (yowza, how did that happen?), 
and I've been training them since they were small.  
By now, things should be working pretty well, yes?  
Take heart, moms of the very young, take heart!  
All the training you're pouring into your little ones now will pay off mightily.  
Your kids will clean your house the way you want it cleaned, 
and your house will stay tidy without a whole lot of singular effort on your part.  
That day is coming, and you deserve it!

We also rotate daily responsibility for cleaning up the kitchen and lunch preparation.  
Most days, the same person responsible for cleaning the kitchen in the morning 
was responsible for the night before, so if things are left undone overnight,
the same person is on duty the next day to finish the job. 
This is working really well for us right now, too.

If you're interested in our chore system from last year, click }here{

Initially, I really believed it was easier to just do the housekeeping myself, and I needed convincing.  If that's where you find yourself, here are a few benefits of having your kids do chores:

-  learning to keep their environment orderly and pleasant is a life skill that benefits your children's emotional well-being.  It feels better to live life in a reasonably orderly environment.  We think more clearly, can concentrate better and our moods are happier when there's order around us.  Your children need to know how to give this gift to themselves.  And please take this next to heart, because I mean it:  the definition of "reasonably orderly" isn't the same door to door.  Define what clean means to your family, and don't try to keep up with the Joneses ... do what works and feels right for YOUR family.

-  teaching your children to do the things necessary to keep the house running is excellent disaster preparedness training, and the person who benefits the most may be you!  When you get sick, have to go out of town, or unexpected company will be at your door in 20 minutes, your team is trained and knows what to do.

-  it feels good to contribute and to do a job well.  Especially for the littles, it's a confidence booster to have responsibility to get a job done.  Even when they get older, although they may not admit it, it makes your kids feel good to get things done.

-  doing chores as a family teaches your children to work as a team, and helps them value the power of teamwork.  There may be no better illustration of the power of teamwork than having the whole family tackle a house in disarray together.  What one person can accomplish in an entire day, the whole family can complete in about an hour.

Vince Lombardi sums it up perfectly:

Individual commitment to a group effort - that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.
- Vince Lombardi

And we thought they were just taking out the trash :o)

I'm sharing this post at the Glimpse Inside Thursday Catch a Glimpse Party!

and also at the All Things Thursday Blog Hop at All Things With Purpose!

Shared joy is doubled joy ... let's double the joy for both of us - what are you most grateful for today? Click below to leave your comment. I'll go first :

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