After taking so much time off in December, I was greatly anticipating the return to a regular schedule. Life just goes so much more smoothly around here when things are predictable. Breakfast whenever you want it and lounging around in pajamas all day sounds nice, but the bickering and short tempers that seem prevalent on schedule-less days outweigh whatever sense of relaxation there may be. (And let's face it--relaxation may happen for the kids when we don't have school, but not for Mom!)
I knew we'd need to tweak some things with our schedule, particularly when it came to chores. Now that we're getting close to finishing our second school week in 2010, I think I can safely say that we're doing fairly well. The house is staying cleaner than usual, and we're actually caught up with school work despite having January 4 off as a family day and January 8 off as a snow day. We've also had play dates and run errands, and my sanity has remained intact, so that tells me we're definitely on the right track, LOL.
Today I'll just write about our new approach to chores. This is something I was praying about for a long time, knowing that we needed to get the kids more involved with household tasks. Chore charts were just not working for us. We might stay up with them the first couple of days of the week, but inevitably life would put us behind. Then there was the matter of inspection--if that didn't happen, then there was no accountability. And what about training the kids to do harder jobs and to do a BETTER job? That needed to be taken into account also.
So here's our new system--for now. I'm sure it will change, but I'm pleased with it so far. I have an index card file box with two main categories: Weekly Service Opportunities and Extra Service Opportunities.
Weekly Service Opportunities are tasks that I want done every week. Thinking in terms of 3 kids working each day, I grouped like tasks in sets of three. Ideally, of course, 3 kids will do 3 tasks every day, Monday through Friday. When the chore is finished AND inspected, the card goes to the back of the stack. If we have a crazy day and don't have time for chores, no big deal. We pick up where we left off. (However, I always have the option of moving the cards around and placing ones at the front of the stack that I want to be sure we get done!) Here are the tasks I've set up for this section:
* Deep cleaning bathrooms
1. Kids' bathroom
2. Guest bathroom
3. Basement bathroom
1. Vacuum library and entryway
2. Vacuum dining room
3. Vacuum family room
1. Vacuum boys' room
2. Vacuum girls' room
3. Vacuum Lucan's room
* Vacuuming (see a trend here?!)
1. Vacuum stairs from 2nd floor to main floor
2. Vacuum stairs from main floor to basement
3. Vacuum or sweep tile in kitchen and eating area
* Quick clean bathrooms (same 3 as deep cleaning)
In addition to the Weekly Service Opportunities, the kids have Extra Service Opportunities. These are additional tasks that I'd like them to do weekly or bi-weekly, but ones that won't cause my stress level to rise if we don't get to them.
There are two ways these will get done:
1. Kids are driving me crazy and need to be gainfully employed. They will be sent to the chore box and may choose any one of the first 3 cards.
2. Kids want to earn extra tickets and choose any of the first 3 cards. Once the task is complete and inspected, they earn however many tickets are indicated on the card.
I guess this leads to our ticket system! I'll have to post that another day...