Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wonder-Full Wednesday: Chores

Today, I want to share something that is working rather well for us: Chore Sticks.  Like I have said before, I am not one to have too many original ideas, so I cannot take full credit for this one, either.  However, it is a compilation of ideas I have seen/heard here & there. 

That's usually how I work....

Hear something, tuck it away
see something else....tuck it away
Have a need....recall....adapt...put into practice

Sometimes it's a raging *success*....sometimes it's an epic *fail*!

That's life, I suppose.

So, here's the general idea:
*We have a house
*It needs cleaned
*We have 10 people making messes
*We should all pitch in
*Money isn't needed
*Good ideas are

I have tried all kinds of plans, tricks, name it.  And, it all long as I'm ok with reminding everyone to do it (which I'm not...but I'm coming around).

The newest adaptation started with me dividing our home into "zones".  I feel sure I heard that somewhere.  Here are our zones:

*Living Areas
*Laundry Room, Car, Porch

I didn't want to add stuff to the weekend, because we just never stick to it.  NEVER.  Then I get frustrated, and have to get pushy....the kids get pouty & ornery...the hubby has to give me the "just relax" talk....NAH...why go through all that???

So...these zones correspond with the days of the week.

I taped a reminder for myself as to what days
are what I knew I probably wouldn't remember!!

I bought a huge pack of colored popsicle sticks at the $1 store.  Then, I assigned each zone a color. 

Next, I thought up one word categories of cleaning such as:
Just to name a few.

I wrote a category at the tip of one side of the stick, turned it over & put what I wanted them to wipe/empty/polish etc.... Making sure to keep all writing at the same end of the stick.

Now, here's the part that seems to be the most appealing to the kiddos:  they do not have an assigned chore, it's just luck o' the draw!  Each day, following lunch, I grab all of the sticks for that day, make sure the words are tucked in my hand, fan them out, & let them pick sticks.  So far, I've been going oldest to youngest (5 years is the youngest in this case), and they draw til the sticks are gone.  Some get more chores than others...but no one has complained.  The funny part is:  the 5 year old had to scrub the tub, sink & toilet on Monday!  Ha!  I have no delusions as to actually having sparkling clean tubs when he does it, but HE sure was excited! :)

The stipulations for putting their stick(s) back into our handy little bucket are this:

-They have until 5 p.m. to complete the jobs they drew (no one has pushed this, so I haven't added an "or else" yet.)
-They must bring the stick to me & report in, so to speak.
-I give them permission to put the stick back in the bucket.

Here's our belief on chores:

"We all make the messes,
we all help clean them up."

Once again, since this is my blog...I can elaborate on a couple of possibly controversial things related to chores. 

The first one is:  All children should have chores in some form or fashion, and they should not be "gender specific".  Here is why:

*It teaches a cause and effect type of idea.  You make a must be cleaned by someone (preferably you). 

* Helping = privileges.  In our home, privileges aren't a given...they are earned.

*It prepares children for adulthood.  In my humble opinion, there aren't too many things more pitiful than a young adult who knows nothing about work or how to run a home. 

*It fosters gratitude (in theory) for the privileges they reap from a job well done.

*They learn to enjoy living in a tidy, and fairly clean environment (the idea being: they will carry a desire for that on to adulthood).

My kiddos pretty much run the gammut on chores.  Girls empty garbage cans, boys wash dishes, they all put away their own laundry (and I pray I never have to look for anything specific) get the idea.

One other thing we do not do is pay our children to do chores.  Keeping the house orderly & neat is not a payable job, it's a necessity.  Again, we all make the mess, therefore, we should all help to clean it.  With that said, I will now say that we DO provide ways for the kids to earn a bit of pocket cash with "Money Chores".

A money chore is something that is extra...beyond the everyday needs.  For example, we live on 10+ acres, & it needs mowed.  If one of the older kids take a notion to hop onto one of our 3 mowers & ride around for awhile, they can earn $5 per hour.  Pretty good, huh?

One way I pay out is to have someone dust my bedroom or clean my bathroom.  These two areas are my responsibility & do not appear on the kiddo's chore lists.  However, I don't like to do it, so I am willing to pay some green to get out of it. 

Other money chores may include:
   *thoroughly cleaning out the refrigerators ($5)
   *Taking down the curtains, washing, drying, ironing & re-hanging them ($15-$20 or maybe a certain amount per window)
   *wiping baseboards ($3)
   *cleaning mini-blinds ($5)
   *washing window sills ($3)

On a final note: don't underestimate your children.  All ages can help.  A toddler is fully capable of putting her own clean socks in the drawer.  The trick is to not overwhelm them with an entire basket of laundry at one time.  A three year old with a rag can do some real damage to your dust.  A damp rag in a short-ish person's hand can clean all sorts of low places that my knees don't want me to get to.  Door knobs, walls, light switches can all be cleaned by a toddler.  Lots of praise will be the only fuel needed!

Now...grab some kids & go clean some house!!!  :)


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1 comment:

  1. That's neat how y'all make chores a fun thing!