I’ve tried a number of different methods of assigning chores to my children, some of which have worked better than others. About a year and a half ago, though, I found a system that has done well for my family. Here’s how we do it:
Each week, I print off a new “chore list” for each child. I list the chores on the paper, with the letters M, T, W, TH, F, SAT, and SUN (representing the days of the week) after each one. As the children complete a particular chore for the day, then, they simply mark off the corresponding letter or letters.
I like to call the first set of chores our “Good Morning!” chores, though the kids don’t quite agree. But they are easy things to do. Good Morning chores include making their beds, getting dressed and putting pajamas away, brushing hair, bringing dirty clothes to the laundry room, putting away clean clothes that have been folded, and feeding the pets. When everyone is finished, we all sit down for breakfast and devotions.
I wrestled for some time about when the children should complete their chore lists – before school, after school, or in the late afternoon before Dad comes home; after school has worked best with our schedules. So then, when the children are done with their schoolwork, they pull out their lists again and continue on down with jobs such as tidying up various rooms in the house, sweeping outside, folding laundry, and cleaning their bedrooms.
Also included in the after school list is “Put Away the Things in Your Box.” A friend gave me this idea, and it has relieved us of more than a few arguments as we clean. Each child has a box on a bookshelf near our kitchen. As the children clean up their assigned rooms and find toys or books belonging to their siblings, they just pick them up and put them in the appropriate box. No one says anymore, “That’s not mine. I shouldn’t have to pick it up.” Instead, they just put it in the box so the owner can put it away.
All this may sound like I’m an extremely organized homeschool mom with a clean house, but all those who have stopped by can tell you that’s not so. Some days go better than others, some days we’re more disciplined than others, some days the house looks a lot better than others. But at least with the lists, we all know what needs to be done.