Ever since I began to crack the whip a few weeks before Birdy was born, I've become a huge believer in the power of a chore chart. I can't be stopped.
The "morning chore chart" has expanded a bit, I've added the obvious set the dinner table and feed the dogs–two evening chores that were requiring nagging. Now? Seamless. (on most days)
And I've taken my name out of the mix of morning chores. I've got enough on my plate in the mornings and the girls have been fine handling things outside on their own. (Though I have been known to sneak outside during the quiet moments of the morning before anyone is awake to do the chores myself. There's something relaxing and peaceful about those moments that I really enjoy.)
But my newest chart is created with a nod to my own mother. The Dinner Job List. When we were little, my mother had a typed-up list of jobs on the kitchen refrigerator. Each week, each child was assigned one of the four jobs. And each job consisted of a short list of tasks to get the dinner dishes done.
By the time everyone finished their job, the kitchen was clean. Everyone knew exactly what they had to do before they could be excused. And as long as you did a good job, you could get it done as fast as possible.
The daunting task of cleaning up the messy kitchen seemed so much more do-able when you only faced a short list of four or five tasks.
Now that Mary and Emma have begun having a major role in dinner dishes, I decided it was time to implement the dinner dishes jobs.
I'm a big fan and so are they. Emma tells me it's so much easier when you know exactly what you need to do. It seems to keep them focused because they're so anxious to move through their list and "be excused".
And I love it too, because the nagging quotient is gone and when all the jobs are shared, I can even slip in a few "extras". The floor gets swept every night. The breakfast table is set and the dish drainer emptied every night. Those things may be standard in your house, but not here–with Dan getting home late from work and bedtimes breathing down our necks.
Yes, these things get me giddy.
I tried to organize their jobs by zones and flow. I didn't want one person waiting on another person, in order to move through their list. For example, I didn't want the "wipe off the kitchen table" person waiting on the "clear the kitchen table" person. So I tried to put both of those jobs on the same list. And each week they switch jobs. Yes, just as they're getting comfortable, I switch things up and make them learn something new. (This was Emma's only complaint to me.)
Now, I'm making a list of all the lists that I need to make. Next up, a bedroom chore chart, I believe….my poor children.