Showing posts with label Family Routines. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Family Routines. 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.

Summer Schedule and Goals Booklet

I always get lots of fun ideas from my friend, Corinne Andrus. We often share ideas that will help us in our efforts to be better mothers. Last May, Corinne didn't have any huge medical issues or hospitalizations in her family (as opposed to this year) and we both happened to be feeling motivated to start summer programs with our kids. So, we started brainstorming on how to create summer memories that would help us and each of our family members reach our/their potentials. We wanted to help our kids work towards meaningful goals and to make choices that reflect correct principles and priorities. Anyways, after some time on the phone and sharing files back and forth, Corinne came up with a fun program that worked for her family and I came up with one for our family. I created booklets for each family member.

I usually come up with some sort of goal program each summer, because I can't stand it when my kids are sitting around doing absolutely nothing when there is so much they could be doing. But last summer, we had some younger house guests stay for several weeks and I wanted to make sure that we were all on the same "page" as far as summer activities goes, which is why I created the elaborate booklet.

One of my favorite summer traditions of all time is our "Quiet Reading Time". It's a perfect way to get all the kids out of bed by a decent hour, to set the tone for the day as we first read scriptures, then kneel in family prayer and then spend some down time just reading inspirational books. This "quiet reading time" gave us the perfect setting to in which to use our summer goal booklet. We pulled them out each morning as we gathered together for family prayer and scripture reading. At that point, we would review the goals we had each set and would plan out our day accordingly. I tried to allow the kids to really personalize their goals while reminding them of what was important. Although the schedule looks rigid, they have plenty of choices on how they want to spent their time. I just expect them to be productive. The goal is to look back on the summer and be happy with how you spent your time and especially to be happy with the person you are on your way to becoming.

I haven't made a booklet for this summer (2014). Time just got away from me. Corinne didn't either...well, she has a much better excuse than me: Remember When Summer Plans Were Simple. But as I came across one of our booklets from last year, I was reminded of all the work that went into our summer planning and all the joy that came from implementing our program. So, I thought I'd just share it. A lot of thought and prayer went into it. Maybe it will inspire some other mom to create a wonderful summer for her children. And if you do use and edit this file, I'd love to see your changes and improvements. It's always fun and inspiring to see what another mom might come up with, so share your ideas.  I'll include the booklet in it's entirety for download HERE. It's a Microsoft Publisher file. So, I think you'd have to have Publisher on your computer to be able to view it.  I'm already excited to do a similar booklet for next summer...or maybe I could make something like this for the upcoming school year?  Mostly, I'm just always trying to find new ways to help remind myself and the kids of what is truly important and to help us continue to make choices and goals that reflect our desire to find true joy in this beautiful journey that we call life.

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!!!