Tuesday, August 17, 2010

High Ho, High Ho, It's off to work we go!

Our family's fancy chore chart!

Don't you love chores!  Come on!  I am not feeling the love.  What is better than doing all those household chores.  I will tell you.  Trying to get your kids to do them.  For many years, way too many years (in fact, I would be embarrassed to admit how many) I just did not make my kids do regular chores.  It was always so much work to get them motivated or keep myself motivated to make them do it. 

Last fall, I finally made a list of all the chores that I found myself doing each week in an effort to get organized.  Nothing like making a list to get organized.  First, I realized there were way too many things on the list for one person to accomplish in a week.  Second, I realized that "picking up" was one of the most time consuming chores on the list.  The very next week, I made a quick trip into Hobby Lobby and saw this cute "chore chart" for 50% off.  You gotta love Hobby Lobby.  The main reason I bought it was because "pick up" was included on the list of chores!!  Plus, I love the "whistle while you work" theme.  Happy hearts and singing voices help with the chores.  We put on some loud music and jam our way through the list!

Hallelujah, I had found a way to share the "love" with the rest of the family!  I made little hanging tags with the kids names to assign the jobs. (Of course, I had to use cute color-coordinated ribbon.)  I rationalized that the time I spent making the chore chart would pay off when the kids helped me with all the housework.

It paid off!  There is something psychological about pointing to an inanimate object when everyone is complaining and asking, "What do I have to do?"  It actually take the focus off of "mean old mom" and moves it, however ridiculous this may sound, to the "mean old chore chart.'  I was telling a teacher friend about this yesterday and she said they learned this technique in a workshop...moving the focus away from yourself.  There was some fancy teacher word explaining this, which I don't remember, but I felt good that I had hit upon some recognized method of controlling behavior!

Our chore chart is "set in stone" or rather, "wood" so the chores can't be changed, but they work for us.  We have three kids in our family and there were six chores listed.  I divided the chores in half and color-coordinated the cards so that three of chores get rotated separately.  In other words, three of the chores (pick up, dishes and garbage) are more "every day" chores and three of them (vacuum, sweep and helping mom with laundry) are more "once a week" chores.  It seemed a better divide this way.  Each child (or mini-adult) has two chores for the week.  Now, I would be lying if I said we are getting 100% commitment from Mom and kids on this system.  But, I am telling you, 75% is really great!!!!  (There are not enough exclamation points for this...and you know I love exclamation points).  So, break out the chore chart and share the "love" of cleaning with those sweet kids.  Or else make them watch an episode of "Messiest House" and tell them how lucky they are to have a mom who makes them clean!  It works in our house.

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