Remember that time everything was canceled and we all stayed home?
Except home with kids ≠ alone time, and actually we’re all pretty disappointed about some canceled plans. I dealt with that by trying to hide and read my book, and the kids dealt with it by getting out All The Things and picking at each other all the livelong day, and I find that particular combination to be a bit…triggering. So we’re kinda pouty and rage-y over here, and Jay’s tryna hold us together, poor guy.
While many of our normal routines are suspended, we’re hanging on to a few around the house that are working for us: an easy cleaning schedule and daily chores for the kids. (EVERY TIME I write “chores” I type “chorse” and I can’t stop and I don’t know why.)
Over the years, I’ve tried a few things to get the kids consistently helping out in ways that are actually…helpful. But even when they’re tasks they can do well, I’ve had trouble managing it. Whose turn is it to feed the dog? Ugh.
This year, I’ve been trying a new system. Aside from a couple chores that were already pretty habitual (making beds [okay only my oldest really and truly does this every day…and I’m the Very Worst Role Model], folding and putting away their own laundry, picking up toys), everyone has a morning job and an evening job that they do all week. Here are the rotations:
Morning – feed Lucy
Evening – feed Lucy
Morning – empty the clean silverware from the dishwasher
Evening – set the table (silverware and napkins – we usually serve plates in the kitchen)
Morning – Tidy up the bathroom/wipe counter and sink as needed
Evening – Tidy up the entryway (there’s a closet where shoes, coats, backpacks, etc. go)
And that’s it! I purposely chose jobs that everyone can do independently (my three-year-old needs a little help sometimes, but not a ton). Lucy always reminds us if she hasn’t had breakfast or dinner, so we never forget about jobs! The kids typically watch a show while I fix dinner, so we’ve been doing evening jobs right before that and there’s a nice combo of incentive and peer pressure (when your jobs are done, then we’ll turn on the show).
I was pretty pleased with how it was going and how little management it has taken on my end, but I had a moment of utter victory when the other day Jay and I went out in the afternoon and my mom was watching the kids and getting them started on dinner. They got home from the park, and with no prompting they all flew around and did their evening jobs!
When I tell you the wave of mom pride that rolled through me when I got this report…thanks for that, kids. 😂 (I mean, partly I was just astonished. It’s such a weird line between expecting too much of your kids – because, they’re just kids! – and expecting too little – because they’re so capable. I think I fall off both of those cliffs on the regular: Manage your dang emotions, small children! …I guess I’ll just pick up all these toys myself because it’s easier than having the responsible party do it. #parentingishard)
I would love to know what is working for you with chores for kids! Do you attach jobs to an allowance? Who does what? How do you keep track? And here’s to pulling together to make extra, isolated family time a little tidier, a little kinder, and significantly less rage-y. 😘4
Parenting is hard. And it’s so easy to carry on doing things you’ve always done, even though your kids are old enough now to do them.
Barb Ingram says
“Chorse!” I don’t think I’ll ever look at that word the same again! Chorse makes it sound quick and easy and cheerful. Chorezzzzzz makes it sound long and draggy and dull. Maybe this will help my attitude toward work around the house. (Inside. I’m pretty much always happy to do the outdoor stuff.)
Laura Kastensmidt says
Soooo simple and helpful. Just what I needed for this craziness! 🤪 thank you!