With my daughters now being 4 years old, I want to get them settled into the habit of doing more regular jobs around the house. At the same time, I have been thinking about ideas to update my current cleaning schedule for myself, because a) it is woefully inadequate for the new house in which we now live- the old one was created for our small apartment- b) I haven't been following it anyway, so clearly it's not working, and c) the chart itself was not very well-made and was starting to fall apart. That's when it occurred to me: I should combine these two things into one!
For us, the chart is quite simple because the girls have dinner at their dad's house on Tuesday, Thursday, and some weekends. So I created the schedule to only include the days that they're here: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday and/or Sunday. I had just recently decided to start having them plan and prepare dinner themselves on Mondays, and they were already helping with setting and clearing the table, so it was easy to put those 3 tasks into a 3-day rotation for the weekdays (M is for Mommy, and S and L are the girls). If you want to read more about how it works having preschoolers plan and prepare an entire dinner on their own, click on the picture below:
Since we often eat on the go, with my parents, or otherwise do something special for meals on the weekends, I didn't schedule a particular person to do things for meals on the weekends. So far it has worked out fine- we basically do everything (cooking, cleaning up etc) together. Instead, I put some small cleaning tasks on the weekend (which for them is just watering the plants right now). I'm really hoping that this will help me be more accountable and stay on top of cleaning, since that has always been the hardest thing for me to stay on top of- I have always hated cleaning and I've never been able to find a way to really motivate myself to keep up with it regularly!
What I know I love already, though, is the concept of a family chore chart instead of a kid's chore chart. I think it really helps to concretely show children how they are participating in what the entire family is doing, rather than making them feel like the parents are forcing them to do jobs because they are kids. I know most parents explain chores as a way of contributing to the family's responsibilities and talk to them this way, but I think having it clearly shown that way visually on the chore chart makes it much more real for kids. And it helps keep me accountable- the girls remind me of my chores too because they are looking at the same chart! And because I do help them with their "jobs" sometimes, by cutting things for their meals or helping them carry heavy dishes, they are more willing to help me with "my jobs" when I ask them as well.
I currently have the chore chart next to the rest of my command center. I'll eventually hang it on the wall with my meal planner and weekly calendar, but I am hoping to choose a color and paint the walls sometime soon so for now I'm just leaving it sitting on the counter. The nice thing about having it in a picture frame is that it's easy to change out if I decide to change the chores, and I can check things off with a dry erase marker and reuse it from week to week. Easy and cheap! :)
Have any of you tried creating a chore chart for the entire family? I am sure I am not the first one to come up with this concept- I'd love to see other examples and here how they have worked for your family, especially with different aged children. Leave a comment and share your thoughts!