Order in the Chaos--Responsibilities

7:27 AMHeather

I find it amusing when my children talk about the greatness of being a grown up. You know--things like they can go to bed whenever they want and they won't have to go to school anymore. Yes, all us grown-ups know how carefree adulthood is compared to childhood. HA! I remember feeling the same way as a kid, and I know there is no way I convince them otherwise when the injustice of bedtimes have them thinking the grass is greener. Adulthood brings lots of responsibility--which brings us to the training ground that is the third component of the Family Rules system. You got your rules, you got your Good Habit Cards...and today, you got your responsibilities, which is really just my fancy word for chores.

As you contemplate the chores for your family, remember that these are separate than the tasks on the Good Habit Cards. These are things expected of the children AND parents daily or weekly. AND, one more thing. Chores are tasks the children will be paid for when they complete them. But, they don't include those things you expect your children to do because it's part of being a member of your family. Mom and Dad--you have to sort out how this looks for your family.

Now, details on the chores. Make your list of chores that are expected for your children daily, as well as tasks they accomplish once or twice a week. Also, when you make a list of your chores, you set perimeters on when they must be accomplished. For instance, not just "make your bed"--but "make your bed before you leave the house in the morning." Y'all know how I roll in my being compulsive, so I created a spreadsheet with these tasks. Then, I slipped it into a plastic sleeve--and voile! A dry erase chore chart.

In our family, we decided that 5 daily chores seemed reasonable, and then we have 3 weekly chores. At the end of the week, the children are paid for their accomplished chores [And again...a segue to tomorrow's post!] Now, I must add a disclaimer here. According to the fine print in the Family Rules system as it was given to us, if your child does not accomplish their chore, they pull a card. Oh, and the fine print also says to NOT change up the components of the system. But, we're rebels. So, we don't do this. At our children's ages, it just felt like a layer that didn't fit yet. I can see adding this in as they get older? Also, as you can see--this is a lot to implement at once, and we chose to pick our battles.

There is an aspect to this chore system that I adore. Not only do you have a chore chart for your children, but you also create a list of the chores that Mom and Dad accomplish in a day or weekly. Yep, kids get to see just what their parents accomplish for the family! If you want to pay yourself for your chores, go for it. The point is that the children see a list to understand that EVERYONE contributes to the family. And, Chris and I found that this was a good exercise for us to iron out a few things on distribution of chores between us.

Just what are the chores listed on OUR children's chore chart? Well, at the beginning of this school year, we upped the anty. We moved out some daily tasks that we just now expect of the children because they are older, and we moved in some new tasks that we want to encourage in them--and thus they are paid for them. Now, our five daily chores are make their bed, family help, dinner help, night check, and next-day prep. And our three weekly chores are trash help, bring down laundry, and put away laundry.

Allow me to explain these chores. Make your bed is obvious, and it must be done before they leave for the day. Family help is that great new flexible chore that allows me to have each child assist on a need for that day. Maybe I need help putting away groceries or cooking dinner. The kids are paid for simply doing a task to help out the family. Dinner help includes three tasks--one for each child: setting the table, clearing the table, and helping load the dishwasher and wipe the table. Night check is sweeping through the house at the end of the day to put away all their toys and belongings. I love that when my kids go to bed, the house is picked up. And, we start the day with a tidy house. Lastly, next-day prep is setting out clothes, having their back pack ready, and packing their lunch if they are not buying in the cafeteria.

As for our weekly chores, my children each have a laundry basket in their closet. If they want clean clothes, they bring their baskets down to the laundry room. I do the laundry and Chris folds them. Sometimes, the kids' daily family help might be to assist with folding. And, then when the baskets are put back in their rooms, they are asked to put them away by bedtime that day.

INTENTIONAL challenge: All kinds of studies show that children gain much from having responsibilities. They are paid for the work they do on time and do well, training them for the real world. It helps create a team mentality. And, boy, does it help Mama!!! Like everything else in our home, how consistent we are on our chores ebbs and flows. But, we have a set system at least. I love checking off the tasks accomplished on our little chart. And, when my kids are longing for some fab new toy, they know the drill. Do the work, get paid, and treat yourself! Stay tuned tomorrow for details on PAY DAY!

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