Showing posts with label Chores. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chores. Show all posts

Friday, July 18, 2014

Ktichen Jobs and the wheels that make them happen!

Many years back, I was having a conundrum about how to solve the unending issue of kitchen jobs. There are certain jobs that are just never finished no matter what. Some chores will say "done" for at least a few days, but then there are other chores that don't even seem to last a few minutes. And those jobs are right in the middle of where you live. For instance, I would assign a child to do the dishes, but then, a minute after they finished their job, there were more dishes to be done. 

So, I looked at the jobs that ALWAYS needed to be done; those jobs that almost NEVER stayed done. I decided to focus on those jobs that were surrounding where we spent all our time: the kitchen and family room. I didn't include laundry, because that is far away and I can't see the laundry room from where we spend most of our time (which means, I'm OK with the laundry room being messy because it doesn't affect my sanity as much as a messy kitchen--you have to choose your battles). 

The other a-ha moment I had was that each of these chores needed to be a weekly assignment. The deal with these assignments is that any time dishes need to be done, I can turn to the assigned child and say "Please do your job." They are the one responsible for keeping the sink "dish free" and the dishwasher running whenever it's needed. If they let the dishes pile up one day, then they were responsible for getting them all done the next day. They have ownership of that assignment for the entire week. If it's time to eat and the kitchen table is piled with stuff, I call the "kitchen table" person and have them clean off and set the table. If the table is strewn with another person's stuff, then that person can ask the owner to clean up their own things. These assignments don't clean the entire house, but they get the core of the house and when these chores are taken care of, I feel like I can, at least, function and think clearly.

This system has worked quite well for us. We've used it for over 10 years. It's been a lot harder as kids have left for college. In fact this past year, with only 2 teenagers home, I actually had to step in and do some of these tasks (another reason to have lots of kids). I'm so grateful that I have 2 college kids home for the summer and that we have 4 kitchen jobbers. When September comes along, I'll have to figure out how to divide the work. I don't like doing the menial task of filling the dishwasher (I somehow feel like I'm overqualified for it--haha). So, I'm hurriedly training the next batch of kids to take over (so that I don't have to).

The kitchen job wheel hangs on the fridge so that everyone can always see who is assigned to what task each week. We spin it Sunday evening after everyone has finished their jobs and the new job starts Monday morning. I absolutely LOVE our kitchen job fact, everyone loves it because it divides the chores fairly and evenly and it has worked well all these years. We recently retired our old, yellowed, dirty wheel and replaced it with a new one for this summer. Part of me didn't want to throw it away, because it's served us for so many, many years. So, in order to honor the old chore wheel, I took a picture of it and blogged it. Now, I can toss it. 

Our old (and yellowed) kitchen job wheel that we used for 10+ years.
Our new chart, jobs divided by 4 instead of 5.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Morning and Evening Routine Charts (for the babies)

About a year ago, I realized that we needed to set some expectations for morning and evening routines for our three youngest. They were 4, 4 & 5 at the time and I wanted them to do their routines without help from me. At first I tried to use my big job chart, but then I realized that they needed their own chart in their room.
Since I wanted tabs that could be turned over and used every day, I came up with the following chart.

To make it, I simply used some Dollar Tree Document frames ($1 each). (You could also use 8x10 frames, you'd just have to cut down your paper.) Then I created and printed the back ground of the chart on colored card stock. Here's the file I used (it's a Publisher file, so you'd have to have Microsoft Publisher on your computer. I don't think you can preview or open the file without it):
Morning and Evening Routines
Yes, I realize that this is in German. Since we speak only German to our little people, the job chart is in German. So, for those who don't know German, the morning jobs are: Prayer, Get Dressed, Brush Teeth, Make Bed and Clean Room. The evening jobs are: Put on PJs, Brush Teeth, Clean Room, Read Scriptures (I read to them), and Prayer.
So, now for the CLEVER part: In order to make hooks, I took the little round head brass paper fasteners and stuck them through the paper from the back, so that the pointy part stuck out the front side (I made a little slit with the tip of a sharp knife to help them push through the paper). Once I stuck all the fasteners through the paper, I secured them on the back with clear packing tape. Then, on the front of the paper, I bent the ends upwards to make little hooks! (I KNOW, IT'S SO CLEVER, I CAN HARDLY STAND IT). Anyways, after that, I made little job tabs with pictures. On the back of each tab, I drew a smiley face. Then I laminated the tabs and punched holes in the top. Lastly, I took the glass out of the frame and put my chart into the frame, securing it on the back with tape and hung it in the kids room.

Immediately, our morning and evening routines were transformed. Now, when they come out of their room in the morning, I ask them if they've turned over all their jobs. If not, they run right back in their room and do it. At night, I can send them upstairs ahead of me and tell them to do their jobs and if they get them all turned over before I come up, then they get an extra story. They love having a routine. They love knowing what's expected. It helps the whole family, since often an older sibling or my husband is putting the kids to bed. The chart has really helped our mornings and evenings run so smoothly.

Love my charts!!!

Jobs, jobs, jobs

Recently some friends asked to see some of my job lists. I had posted a photo of my funny son's comment which he wrote on his job list for the week. I had unintentionally left a blank spot and he filled it in with his awesomeness.
Anyways, I absolutely LOVE a good job chart. Detailed job charts make me happy, because once it's written out and assigned, then I can forget about it. Of course, a good job chart is all in the details. How detailed you make it depends on the kids being assigned the job. The other thing I love about detailed lists, is that I don't usually enter the assigned cleaning area and have to say "You call this job done?" Because, as long as every thing is checked, then their job is done.

So, I have so many different lists. Here are a few (and really, this is only a fraction of the lists on my computer).
Here's a sample weekend list:

Here's one that includes the little kids. You might notice that the little ones' jobs are written in German, but the big kids' jobs are in English (that's just how things roll in our home). I usually cut the list up and give each kid his own portion.

Some mornings, I'm feeling overwhelmed with everything I need to get done. So I just start writing everything down at the top of a page. Then I take some of those things and start divvying out chores to the kids. Once I do that, then I start feeling less overwhelmed. Often, I'll let the kids pick which ones they want.
Fill in the Blank

I did want to mention how I often divide chores. Actually "doing" your chores is not an option, but you do have an option as to which chores you do. So, I often whistle and announce quite loudly (so that everyone can hear) that I'm about to hand out chores. The first person to arrive gets to pick first. This ensures that the kids usually hurry as fast as they can so that they can get the first pick.

Here are my some of my favorite lists. These are the Company Clean lists. I pull them out when we're expecting company. We were expecting company this past Sunday, so on the previous Sunday (during our family council meeting), I printed out the lists and let the kids choose which ones they wanted to do. I LOVE these, because they have actual check boxes in front of each item (I don't think the check boxes show up in the Google Docs). They're also fairly detailed. I hang them up in the assigned area, where I can see them. I usually give them a few days to complete them (this is usually in addition to their daily kitchen jobs...I'll do another post on Kitchen Jobs...because that's a whole other topic). Anyways, I like to see them making progress. I remind them during the week to check off a few things each day. As I walk through the house, I can see who has been checking off their boxes.

Sometimes, instead of lists, we call them tickets. We used to do "job tickets" all the time. The deal was that we had some reward at the end of the day and that in order to take part in that reward, you had to turn in your job ticket. I don't have very many of these on the computer, since I usually just wrote them on 3x5 cards. But here's one example that I found:
Job Tickets

I also had another kind of ticket. These were "pay jobs" that the kids bid on at the beginning of the summer. I would give it to the kid who bid for the least amount of money and who promised to do it by a certain date. Here's a list of our job auction items from a few years back:

Sunday, February 2, 2014

My Favorite Job Chart of All-time

So, I'm going to introduce the job chart that has been used in our family for well over 15 years. I love it because it's so versatile and it helps me keep track of what has been done. I can glance at it and know which children have done their jobs. It also has each job detailed so that the kids don't have to argue with me about whether or not a job is actually done. This is actually a photo of when we were using it about 10 years ago. It has since morphed to accommodate older kids and a new batch of younger kids. I've actually replaced the three college age kids' names with the younger kids names. Throughout the years, I've changed what is in the columns. Some summers, I would have one "kitchen chore" column, a "inside job" column and an "outside job" column. One of my favorite things about this job chart is that it's so changeable. I can easily add new jobs. In fact, over the years I have a HUGE pile of job tags that I can add. Often I get up in the morning, look around the house, see what jobs really needs to get done and hang the corresponding tags on the chart. Then the kids get up and look at the chart and groan...but, hey, that's life. I also sort through my "pay jobs" (purple cards) an only hang the ones that really need to get done. Oh, and of course, the biggest change is that, over the years, I've had to substantially increase my pay for the older kids. By then, though, we often came up with job contracts at the beginning of the summer and the kids bid on the contracts (an idea I got from reading "Cheaper By the Dozen"). Maybe, I'll do another post on job lists and contracts when I get around to it.

A description of how we used the chart back in 2002 (it has changed a little throughout the years): The first column with the heart keeps track of whose "Special Night" it is. That's when each child gets to stay up late and do something with mom and dad. The five columns after the names are all the jobs they have every day: (1) Morning jobs (prayer, make bed, teeth, get dressed), (2) Practice (piano & German homework), (3) Daily Chore (clean family room, living room, kitchen etc.), (4) Value (did they do something in that month's value-"dependablity" or "honesty"? We try to focus on a different value each month--this month we're working on being more dependable.), (5) Evening jobs (clean room, get ready for bed, brush teeth). As they complete each task, they get to turn the tab over to the "Happy Face" side. If all their tabs are turned over before 7:30 without too many reminders, they get to add 25 cents to the "money column" (that's an incentive to get them to do everything on their own). Otherwise, they don't get paid for doing these "required" daily tasks. If they want to earn extra money, then they can look on the "To Do" chart below. When they complete an "money" job, they move it over to the "Done" side and add the appropriate "money" to their hook. The column on the far right is Saturday jobs. No one gets paid for Saturday jobs. They just have to be done. On the bottom, I store extra "chores" and "values" so that I can hang them up as needed. In the bottom righthand corner (yellow cards) are all the chore descriptions. So, when I say "clean the bathroom", they can read on the card exactly what I mean by that. We've been giving the kids a base allowance each week. (Ben gets $1 and the girls get 50 cents--they'll get $1 when they turn 8). They don't have to do anything to get the base amount.  For example, each week Ben hangs up his '$1 tab' and then on the days he earns extra money, he hangs up the appropriate tabs on his "money column". Then, usually on Fast Sundays, during Family Council, we pay them the money. All they need to do is go up and get their money tabs and cash them in. We then sit down and take out tithing and a little chunk for savings. They get to put the rest in their piggy banks.

So, here is the latest version of our job chart. Lately, I haven't been using the pay tags as much...but you can see that there has been considerable inflation on the pay tags. I added another column of daily chores. I also covered up my college kids' names and replaced them with our little kids' names.