Series: 10 Tips | A Little Organization Can Save You Time, Money and Sanity!
Number 4: Need an Assistant? Enlist a Chore Chart!
Last time I shared how to Stop Buying Duplicates! Organize Your Pantry Instead! Today we'll be talking about how to divvy out the household chores, so it's a team effort. Since many hands make light work, let's get into it.
As a Trained Professional Organizer, I see that part of organizing your home is also organizing the people in it! They have talents and skills that you can organize and put to good use...to help keep the house clean and organized so it runs smoothly.
Not only that, but "Chores and school work are key ways your child either learns a work ethic, or not." says Dr. Brunner, a licensed clinical psychologist from Tucson, Arizona.
In an article called "Tired of reminding your kids to do chores? 10 steps to a chore system that runs itself, and teaches your kids inner discipline" Dr. Brunner makes some great points. Certainly worth the read!
In our home, we are always changing, revising and making our chore system better. The one thing we've been struggling with is consistency. How do we get people to consistently do the chores without being reminded?
This is where I think Dr. Brunner nails it.
"Try to have as many chore deadlines as possible be correlated with naturally occurring family rituals like breakfast, lunch, dinner, leaving for school, going to bed, etc. That way, it makes it easy for you and your child to remember when any one chore should be done...
You want your family member’s to get into the habit of checking the chore chart before each naturally occurring transition."
I just love this! Teaching the kids to look at the chore chart. Brilliant.
Fantastic! We're teaching everyone in the family to check their chore chart at a consistent time each day. Now it's time to create the chore charts. Here are 5 steps to making an effective chore chart.
Step 1: The Master List
I agree with Dr. Brunner, since this is going to be a team effort, include all the people in your home, and call a meeting! Brainstorm and write down all the chores that need to be done. You may want to categorize them into seasons, and age ranges. For example, dusting can be done by a 2 year old, but vacuuming is more appropriate for ages 8 and up.
Step 2: Deadlines
Decide when each chore needs to be done. For example, if garbage day is Thursday morning, the garbage needs to go out Wednesday night. Dr. Brunner makes a very valid point, "If you do not do this, you are inviting your child’s creative lawyerly nature to come out where they say, “I was planning on doing this”.
Step 3: Clarify
Communication is always so important. "Have a family meeting with all family members, and discuss how there will be a system as to how the chores get done. Clarify chores will be divvied up fairly, but all must do their share." Make sure to allow conversation and questions, so that everyone is one the same page.
Step 4: Involve the Team... Make it Fun!
Pass around the master list and "each [person] can begin picking from the list of chores for their age group." You can be really creative with this step. Maybe you decide which ones need to get done that week and then people pick from those. Or you can number them and roll a dice... Get creative, keep it fun...no matter how old you are! Rock, paper, scissors?
Step 5: Follow-Up
This doesn't mean reminding people. Dr. Brunner says, "The key is not to [nag people] and spend time reminding them (Don’t forget to do X and X before dinner!”)... In contrast, you want to teach them to go to the chore chart, and get things done on their own. THIS is when they are learning accountability.
"Make technology goodies like iPad or video game access contingent on certain chores being done. For example: no iPad till homework is done, dogs fed, and dishes put away." Dr. Thomas Brunner
What about leaving a note with something along the lines of:
Want today's Wifi password?
1. Walk the dog
2. Make your bed
3. Empty the Dishwasher
I really like that this system includes the adults. We all do chores, so let's use what we already do to be an example and encouragement to the rest of the team members.
Because of this article, we have changed our system to also include the adults. We all do our chores after supper so it's a team effort.
We talked about making this fun, which might mean you want to make your chore chart pretty. Below are some sites with creative ideas about making the chore chart fun.
Here is a great resource on Pinterest by FamZoo. Or check out: Happy helpers: 20 Creative Chore Charts for Kids! Both sites are super creative and would be a great place to start for a little inspiration!
The next post in my series will be about how Owning Less Makes You Happier! Simply put: The more we own, the more we have to maintain. You can expect to see that in the new year!
As we are part way through this series, here is a list of all previous posts and a sneak peak at what is to come!