This post is about chores.
I'll tell you how we, a Big Family, handles doing chores.
Well, I'll tell you that I was inspired by Michelle Duggar upon reading her first book. So we decided to implement the "jurisdiction" idea in our family.
Basically, the "jurisdiction" idea is dividing up the house into areas and giving each child an area, along with a partner to help in the area. This is really great if you have a big house, but it can also work if your house isn't so big!
Our house is 1400 square feet. SUPER SMALL for 10 souls!! But this system works super for us.
Here's how we dole out the chores:
Every week, on Monday, the kids and I get together in the living room and they gather around me. As a side note, I went to Office Depot and, for around $15, bought a large, desk sized calendar and this calendar sits in my lap while we talk about what chores each kid will do that week.
This calendar is strictly for writing down who is doing what each week. Some weeks I don't write who is doing what on the calendar out of laziness, but the idea is for the calendar to keep track of everyone and what they're doing.
I also use a different color of pen for each kid. Each kid knows their color. Even Lulu and Sofia have a color!
Using the calendar and writing who is doing what on there helps each kid remember what they're doing. It helps me to know at a glance what each person is doing. It has eliminated wondering who was doing so-and-so and who didn't do a good job on so-and-so, so that I can have them do it over again or yes, discipline those who don't do blah blah blah and so forth. And, Daddy also knows who is doing what, when he looks at the calendar. This helps because if Daddy asks someone to do so-and-so, they can tell him who is doing that specific area of the house, if it isn't them. We operate on a rotating system so that everyone gets a different area of the house each week, but sometimes, if I notice someone isn't doing a good job on an area or just isn't getting it, I'll have that person continue doing that area until I'm satisfied that there's some progress.
This calendar is posted on the wall of my baking cupboard in the kitchen. It's a big calendar. I chose to write the chores in with very bright highlighters that cannot be ignored!
So, here's a list of areas in our home and the chores that are to be done in each area:
Kitchen: wash dishes,clean out sink and wipe behind and around sink. wipe down counters, load and unload the dishwasher, wipe down stove, sweep floor. (we assign two people to work on the kitchen together. One does dishes, wipes down the dish counter and cleans the sink, while the other one wipes counters, loads and unloads dishwasher, and so on.)
Living room/dining room: pick up everything and put away, dust, sweep, clear off dining room table, clean high chair, wipe down table, sweep.
Laundry: (this is an all day, every day thing around here) always make sure there is a load in the washer and one in the dryer, take out dirty clothes, fold clothes and each person puts their own clothes away, keep laundry area in garage clean.
Bathroom: the person who does laundry also cleans the bathroom. They make sure the bathroom is always tidy and on Wednesdays and Saturdays, the bathroom gets a deep cleaning, and we have a laminated sheet of what that entails.
Hallway and bedrooms: We have the two oldest girls sharing a room, and the four younger girls share a room, so we pick one of those girls to be in charge of keeping their rooms clean. They are also responsible for keeping the hallway clean.
Now, the key to keeping this chore schedule running smoothly is if I'm on top of it and always making sure everyone is doing their thing right and well. And NO, OUR HOUSE IS NOT ALWAYS SPOTLESS AND SPIC-AND-SPAN AND I DO NOT RUN AROUND THE HOUSE IN HIGH HEELS AND PEARLS WITH NOT A DUST BUNNY OR TATTERED SHEET IN SIGHT! Sometimes, believe it or not, the house isn't spotless....especially with Pennie around! You know how toddlers are: they think it's awesome fun to dump the toy basket/bookcase/laundry piles and leave them scattered about the floor! So, this system only works as I am diligent and encouraging the kids to also be diligent.....
Also, when it comes to Sofia and Lucie, they have their place in the scheme of this plan too, even though they are only 6 and 3! We started incorporating Sofia to help with chores when she turned 5. And we noticed that Lucie was trying to help too! So, Sofia gets a partner and so does Lucie!! This helps make the little person feel so big and so important, and by the time they're 7 or so, they can sweep/dust/clean up just as well (hopefully) as their big sisters!
On another note: the person who is Lucie's partner for any given week is charged with making sure she gets up in the morning and gets dressed and whatnot. She LOVES this and really, so does the partner!
One other reason we do the partner thing is because truthfully, in a Big Family, there's sometimes a lot of fighting and sniping and nitpicking, ESPECIALLY with 7 GIRLS in a small house! So, we have the ones who are doing the most arguing/sniping/fighting be partners for the week! Genius, I tell ya!
Yes, even though Russell is getting on towards 18, he lives here too and he helps out too. He has his week in which he does the dishes or cleans the other part of the kitchen or he makes sure everything looks good outside, but he works along with the rest of the clan!
So this is a glimpse of how we do chores around here. It works very, very well for us. Things have run a LOT smoother around here since the implementing of this system.
~~I feel a Laundry Post coming on, because you know, in a Big Family With Lots of Girls, there is always mountains of laundry, so I'll tell you how we tackle that problem!