Friday, May 2, 2014

The Chore Board and How We Use It

Life has all but run me over recently as our family has moved from challenge to challenge, illness to illness- you know...all the normal stuff of family life. When things get more hectic than normal, much to the dismay of the Big Guy, I start organizing things. It is what I do. I try to reign in the chaos and package it up into manageable, tidy little pieces. It is how my brain works. I'm a visual thinker. (The Big Guy is more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants person.)

Aside from my own personal lists and visuals, we have several that we use as a family to keep our week on track. We have a schedule board that we use to keep track of where everyone needs to be for the week, and we have a menu board that tells us what we're going to eat for dinner every day. This week, I took it one step further (can you hear the herd protesting?) and created...


The design is pretty basic- a combination of my favorite features of various board designs on Pinterest. We needed something portable, and that was easy to change and adjust because our concept of chores is a bit different. For the individual chores, I painted craft sticks and applied peel-and-stick magnets to the back. I used a Sharpie paint pen to add the chores. For the board, I used an inexpensive metal cookie sheet and applied Contact chalkboard vinyl. I wanted something more permanent so I added my 'chalk' labels with the Sharpie paint pen.  

We already had a method in place. We just needed a little organization. Here is how we do chores- 

First of all, I really dislike the word chores and in hindsight I wish I had not used that word on the board. Those kinds of things become brilliantly clear five seconds after you write something in permanent ink. We don't assign chores in the traditional sense in our home and we don't pay the kids for doing them. No one pays me for doing my chores. I get paid to work. I do not get paid to do my laundry or cook them dinner. In our home, chores are the things everyone must do, to the best of their ability, to keep the house from falling into complete filthy chaos. 

If you live here, you eat here, you sleep here, you lounge and shower and change clothes here- then you need to help clean here as well. So, more than chores, I guess you could say these are the expectations. Everyone is expected to do their part, to pull their own weight so to speak.  

Every day, typically at 4:30 pm, the kids must start chores. This gives everyone time to get off the bus, grab a snack, and have a bit of down time before starting the evening routine.The Big Guy or I will look around the house and decide what must be done to regain order. Then we determine who is available and able to do what. This gives us some daily flexibility to work around various after school activities, homework schedules, illnesses, broken bones, etc.  

From there, the chores are assigned to each child. We rotate through the same basic tasks and each chore has a laminated chore card that details exactly what is expected. Chores are things like cleaning the kitchen, rinsing and loading the dishwasher, organizing the pantry, or gathering the recycling. 

Our old method was to assign the chores, then spend the next 20 minutes repeating who should be doing what because no one listened or they conveniently forgot what they were assigned. That happens after you wander away to the bathroom to read your text messages or slip away to play with a guinea pig, you know? You come back and can't remember what on earth you were supposed to be doing. I get it. I do. 

The new method  creates a simple visual reminder of who is doing what. We just pick what needs to be done and move the magnets to each child's name and voila! No more questions. Perfection. 

Let the whining begin!

1 comment:

  1. "Our old method was to assign the chores, then spend the next 20 minutes repeating who should be doing what"

    Wow, that's actually what happens in my own head with my own chores! Let alone having anyone else involved.