My general philosophy on chores is that in a family you will always be changing your chore systems. Whether the kids have grown older and can take on more complicated chores, you want to change up the allowance or reward system, or you move to a house with a bigger yard, there will always be something that makes you change chore systems.
The kids are now 7, 5, 5, 3 and 1, and I have stumbled upon a chore system for dinner time that is working magically. Without this system, it was me trying to finish up the cooking, while putting away the crafts and homework, while also setting the table, and keeping Eva supplied with Cheerios.
There are two main components that make this system work (for now):
- Division of labor.
- A monthly rotation of jobs.
enjoy chores a lot more fight and whine a lot less, when they each have their own job. This avoids the “I’m not starting until he starts” argument as well as the feeling that they will never be done. Once their chore is done, that’s it.
Rotating jobs daily, if we skip a day we never know whether to do the jobs from the previous day or move on to the next rotation, and someone is mad about it either way. Rotating jobs weekly, they don’t quite really understand their job before it’s time to switch and I still have trouble remembering who is doing what. Rotating monthly though, that hits the sweet spot. Everyone knows who is doing what, but if they don’t like their current job, they know it will eventually change.
I have been loving knowing which two kids to call first (the toys off floor kid, and the craft/homework supplies off table kid). I don’t have to check the chart each time. The first two come, they clean, they leave. I call the second two in (the dishes kid, and the waters kid). They come, they prep the table, we eat.
After dinner the assignments are sweep by Eva’s chair, put away any food, put away any serving dishes, and wash off the table. Can I just say how much having a once-a-day sweeping of the baby area has been?! I tried to sweep up at least once a day before, but with trying to clean up everything on my own, and rinse the dishes and load the dishwasher, it was not happening, and Cheerios were getting tracked all around the house. Plus, that one is their favorite chore!
Here’s the link again to the chore chart. You’ll notice breakfast and lunch chores on there too. We haven’t fully implemented that yet.
How does dinnertime work at your house? What works with older kids, like pre-teens and teenagers?