Over the last few months I have changed our chore system. Over the years we have had many different systems to encourage the children with their household chores. As the children grow in responsibility our systems have changed to suit.
We have three set times for household chores – after breakfast, after lunch and at 5.00pm. The evening dishes are done together. Cleaning the bathroom (handbasin) and kitchen dishes were some of the first jobs my children learnt. As more children become able other daily chores have been added to the roster. We now have 4 children and 4 main areas of responsibility.
Outside / Helper
The biggest change I have made recently has been to make one child responsible for their area for the whole day, for the entire week. Today I have added one extra chore per day, still within that area. This will give them the opportunity to see those deeper cleaning jobs that have to get done somewhere.
Kitchen – dishes, wipe benches etc, and then over the course of the week they will wipe the stove, polish the sink (x2), wipe cupboard doors, clean the dishwasher and tidy a cupboard or drawer. The person on Kitchen duty will also help out with cooking the evening meal when that is appropriate.
Bathroom, Rubbish – Daily will empty and burn rubbish bins, clean the bathroom and lock up chickens. Over the course of the week they will change towels, clean the shower, mirror and bathroom walls as well as tidy a cupboard or drawer.
Laundry – Daily will sort, wash, hang, and put away any laundry that needs doing. Over the course of the week they will do a little ironing, clean the laundry sink, wipe down the cupboard doors and look for cobwebs on the ceiling.
Outside & Helper – Daily will water pot plants, tidy the veranda, blitz the house after lunch, sweep the family room floor, clean up afternoon tea dishes and set the dinner table. During the course of the week they will sweep the verandas, a little bit each day.
It has been great to see how much actually does get done with short, regular effort throughout the day.
One of the key benefits of having one child responsible for an area for the whole week is that they learn what is necessary and start to take initiative. Many of the chores aren’t necessarily time sensitive and can be done whenever they have the time – therefore giving themselves more free time later in the day. It is my responsibility not to keep giving chores to those children who seem to have free time on their hands. I need to recongise that the only reason they have free time is that they have worked hard for it!