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Back to School ~ Changing Chores

(*Don’t forget to check out the 4 moms Open House on Thursday. Link up your kitchen/dining room photos!)

We are starting up a new back to school schedule soon and I have debated with myself about changing chores around.

On the one hand, I think sameness and routine and predictability help to make a schedule run smoothly. On the other hand, sameness and routine and predictability become boring after a while.

After much thought, I finally decided to shake up our chore assignments and give the kids a little something to look forward to each week.

I used a bag of clothes pins, a Sharpie, and an empty coffee can. I wrote one chore on each clothes pin and tossed them all in the can.

Each child drew out 4 clothes pins, and I explained that these would be the chores for this week. Next week, we would put all the clothes pins back in the can and draw again.

Today was the first day for this new system and it was a little rocky. Some chores were new to some kids and there was a learning curve. I like that everyone will eventually get a turn at loading the dishes, or setting the table, but for now it is causing some extra work for me as I make sure each chore is done correctly.

Some chores needed to be done before others (like unloading the dishwasher and loading it) and there was some wasted waiting time.  I’ll need to figure out how to manage this better.

I think I’ll give this new system a few weeks before I decide whether I like it.

What about you? Do you keep chore assignments the same or change them regularly?

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Comments

  1. For our house, it depends on what the job is. For meal time jobs, there is cleaning off the table, sweeping the floor and doing the dishes. This changes from meal to meal. Example: my 9.5 yr old daughter cleans the table (and high chairs) off after breakfast, sweeps the floor after lunch and does the dishes after supper. My 7.5 and 5.5 yr old also do these “meal jobs”, just in a different sequence. And my 4 yr old always has to pick up the toys/books/pencils/crayons, etc. off the floor before the assigned sweeper can sweep. I want to include him in these jobs, yet the job needs to be something at his level. This is on a chart that is always on the fridge, so I don’t have to remember who’s time is when.

    For cleaning the house, I have tried many, many different ideas! The one we are currently doing, is we have 4 main areas that need cleaning each week: both bathrooms, sweep and mop the kitchen/dining room, clean the living room and clean the school/music room. I have assigned 1 area a day to 1 child and this changes from week to week. So in a months time, each child will clean each area once. Example: week 1, my 7.5 yr old cleans the bathrooms (for which I buy the bio-degradable cleaning supplies. No harsh chemicals for the kiddos!); week 2, she sweeps and mops the kitchen/dining floor; week 3 she cleans the school/music room; and week 4 she cleans the living room. This way, all areas get cleaned each week, but no one child is getting “stuck” doing the same job all the time and all the older children learn how to do them. My 4 yr old also has the same cleaning areas to do each week, but he works with me instead of by himself.

    For the laundry, we also have a schedule. Monday’s and Saturday’s are my days to wash clothes. Tuesday’s are the 9.5 yr old’s day, Wednesday is the 7 .5 yr old’s day, Thursday’s are the 5.5 yr old’s day, and Friday’s I work with the 4 yr old. Sunday’s are my day off.

    Most days I have to remind about their jobs, while some days I have to push and prod to get them done. But it is slowly working and I like these schedules better than all the ones that I have tried before.

  2. I’m a “stick with one chore and be the expert at it” mom. I’ll switch them out about twice a year, but after reading Manager of their Chores, I decided to do it this way.

    Something else that has reduced my workload is to assign two siblings to check each other’s chores. They make sure it was done to standard, and if the checker didn’t catch something, and mom or dad did, the checker had to do that chore. It’s been termed “ChuckEChore Time” named after the cheesy pizza mouse that I don’t care for ;)

    Renee Harris

  3. I changed up our chore system a few months ago and we have been very happy about it. I blogged about it a little while ago. Here is the link (http://infaithandpurity.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-new-chore-system.html) to that post. I put lots of pictures so it’s mostly just looking and not reading ;)

  4. Well, my kids are 5 1/2, 4, and 2. My two oldest are just now getting old enough to do REAL chores. I am SO excited! They carry laundry to the laundry room and sort, set the table, and put away their own clothes and the silverware. For now, I have them work together as much as possible. I want them to learn the concept of teamwork and working together. Love your rotation method. Will keep it in mind :).

  5. to keep our house clean, i invented the “chore game” a few years ago (it’s been pointed out that it’s not a game, since no one “wins,” … whatever); anyway, i wrote out 45 small chores (ex. vacuum dining room) on small cards; each week i shuffle them and randomly put 9 cards into pockets labelled M, T, W, Th, and F; that means each of us (me and 2 kids) do 3 chores each day; this system allows for the kids to learn how to do all the chores required to keep an entire house clean, but we only each work 20-30 minutes each day; if we miss a day, i just put those cards in to the monday slot of the next week so they get done first (we take the weekends off) — my house is never perfect, but this system seems to keep it fairly presentable…

  6. I bought the MOTH system but not the chore one. I have had a lot of trouble trying to write out a daily activities for each child. So I’ve dropped it for now. What I did find useful was the daily and weekly chore assignments, which I change monthly.

  7. What does your chore list look like

    I would love to see what other household chore lists consist of.

  8. We just decided to do a chore upgrade this week too. We sat down and had a family meeting about it Sunday night, gave out new duties, and so far…so good.

    Because we’re not doing a full school load yet, “teaching” the new chores has been a top priority each day.

    Another Mom mentioned Mangers of Their Chores…we have MOTH (I fought the rigid routine for sooo long, but with 7 kids, it’s a MUST now), and I’ve wondered about the Chore book…have you used this?

  9. We always change chores around from Summer to Fall. My kids school schedules are pretty busy, so they have less chores during the school year than they do in the Summer :)

  10. I want a list of the 45 chores you came up with! :-) Seriously.

    • @Ellen, ok, here goes: dusting (9 rooms), vacuuming (9 rooms and one stairs), cleaning inside toilets (4) and outside toilets (4), cleaning sinks (4 baths and 1 kitchen), cleaning counters (4 baths and 1 kitchen), cleaning mirrors (4 baths), cleaning bathtubs and shower (3 baths), sweeping and mopping floors (1 kitchen and 1 foyer/hallway) — i think that’s about it for us! everyone’s will be different, of course…(i also write on each card what supplies are used for each chore — we use a lot of clorox/lysol/windex wipes)

      • @Karen B., just realized that it sounds like we have toilets outside! ha! by “inside toilets,” i mean squirt cleaners inside the bowl and swish with toilet brush, “outside toilets” means using a clorox/lysol wipe to wipe down toilet seat and outside surfaces of toilet — more explanation than anyone wanted, i’m sure!!

  11. So… um…. I just wrote this really long, informative, and oh-so-clever post about drawing our chores from… uh… a coffee can.

    And then I hopped on over to my blog reader to catch up on everyone and I see that.. uh… Smockity is all over it.

    Hilarious! You might be interested in our Empty the Dishwasher and Everybody go Potty before starting on the can.

    I hope your can is working as good as ours is! :)

  12. I am quite fond of clothespins. I’m not sure when it started. Maybe when I started cloth diapering my oldest and was hanging the diapers to dry.

    Anyway, I think they are lovely little organizers and quite handy.

    I’ve been tossing around chore changing ideas the past few weeks. I’ve been hoping to get it figured out before we start up school. I can’t wait to read the update on your chore can.

  13. We change up chores every 3 months. . .some are assigned (b/c my oldest is the only one who can do the yard at this point) but then the rest are listed out and the kids take turns picking 1-2 chores they want. The remaining four then go “into the pot” (I have all the “regular chores listed on craft sticks in sharpie ink) and they have to draw for the last chore. Since these are the chores not picked, they are the least-favored of course. I then list them on the fridge with the months so they can quickly look to see when we will change chores again. And I can quickly look and see who is the “garage errand person” when I need another roll of paper towels or another gallon of milk :) Good luck with the weekly thing. . .we just found that changing that often was too hard to keep on top of. But I do think the kids like having some change in their lives :) Thanks for posting this. . .I like reading other people’s comments/ideas too.

  14. Do you still use this system?

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