Thursday, September 11, 2014

Kids Jobs {the Ongoing Battle}

Getting kids to participate in the daily household chores is an ongoing battle - at least at my house.  In their own unique way, kids do have a desire to contribute to the household, but they are also kids, so they do not see messes in the same ways that moms see messy rooms.  

Here I will share 8 ways that I keep my sanity while getting my kids to do their fair share.  I am no expert, so take these and apply them in your own way to your household.

  1. Weekly job lists.  Rather than try to come up with daily jobs lists or fixed rotating lists, my kids have set jobs for each week.  This is so much easier for me - I print a list one time with each child listed and the week number listed in a table, so all i have to refer to is the week number and they all know what is their responsibility. Also, weekly jobs allow kids to repeat tasks and in theory master a chore.
  2. Short list of tasks.  Under the table of jobs, I have a task list for them to complete for each job.  The daily items are just normal upkeep - sweeping & straitening.  The scrubbing and dusting are saved for Saturdays (or me during the week).
  3. No Rewards. I have tried to reward for cleaning and contributing to this house.  But I stink at keeping track of these kinds of things.  So, jobs are just part of their daily routine.  My older boys are on a salary every 2 weeks, but they are not directly rewarded for completing cleaning jobs
  4. Jobs for all kids over 3.  My 5 year old, although not in school this year, is part of the job rotation.  I keep all the same jobs for all 6 of my older kids.  Obviously this is with the realization on my part that when the younger end have bathrooms or kitchen duty, that I will need to help pick up the slack in that area.  But often times, the 3 or 4 year old kid WANTS to help - so why not capitalize on that attitude.
  5. Kitchen = Weekly Job.  In past attempts to have job lists, I did not include dishes in the after school jobs, but instead kept that as a daily rotating task - per my kids request.  However, midway through last school year, I decided I wanted to try it as one of the weekly jobs.  The. Best. Decision. Ever.  The minions grumbled about it in the beginning, but they quickly realized that they would have a 5 week break before they were in the rotation for dishes again.
  6. Bedrooms. These rooms are the jobs of the kids to keep tidy.  I truly believe that bedroom doors were invented for a reason - for me to close.  I was not a neat child (and struggle with neatness as an adult), so I tend to give my kids a bit of freedom when it come to their rooms.  It is interesting to see that some kids tend to be more particular and others not so much.  However, to instill some type of routine in their lives, I like to have bedrooms cleaned and vacuumed each Saturday.  There are also other jobs in the basement and outside that are randomly assigned to the Saturday (or weekday) job lists.
  7. Letting Go.  My sister once shared advice from her mother-in-law regarding kids cleaning and not quite getting it done as a mom would like: 'Half a job is better than no job.'  I try to remember this when they speed through with a lick and a promise.  There are days when that is all the attention their jobs get, because we have a list 5 bullet points long to accomplish elsewhere that evening - sports, school, meetings, etc.  If there is something that I notice not up to par, I try to point it out to them so that it can be rectified at that moment or in the future.  Raising a house full of kids (mostly boys), I have learned that not everything is going to be perfectly cleaned (and I really do not require it to be) and that there is not possible way that I can do it all myself.  
  8. Gender neutral job distribution. On the boys note, boys in this house are learning to clean a kitchen, scrub bathroom, bake brownies, make supper, etc.  It is out of necessity - their sisters are only 8 and 2.  As they grow and they girls are able to take more of the 'girly' tasks, I may change my way of doing things, but for now I would like to think that I am raising well rounded young men!
Here is a photo of my list this year.
Each time I institute a new method of job distribution in this house I hope that it will be the last time.  This school year is the first time I have used the same system as the previous school year.  I am thrilled with that.  It means that something is working, and for the kids they are not having to learn a new system at home this year.  Adaptations are sure to come on the future, but I think I may have finally landed on something that works.

Be Happy!

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