Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Every family has their own strategy for spreading out household chores and getting the kids involved in the tasks.

Here is ours . . . after much trial and error and plenty of false starts.

Originally, we created a "chore chart," one for Sarah and Grace. The chores were divided into morning tasks and evening task and encompassed such things as:

  • make your bed
  • brush your hair
  • brush your teeth
  • put dirty clothes down laundry chute

Other chores that occurred in the evening and especially on the weekend included:

  • put away clean clothes
  • clean up your room
  • set dinner table
  • hang up coat

Every chore was to be accompanied by a pictorial representation of the task and each girl would move their Velcroed pictures around as needed to indicate that they had done the task.

It was an excellent plan. All that was required was completion of the chart. And we almost got there too . . .

Pictures were taken, printed out, laminated (for durability), charts were also laminated, columns drawn, names affixed . . . and then it just sort of stopped. Maybe I didn't have all the pictures taken. Maybe we ran out of Velcro circles. Maybe the charts were too small and needed to be redrawn. Maybe we just couldn't decide where to hang it all. It just ground to a halt in the eleventh hour.

Still, the chores were accomplished, even without the pictorial chart. It involved lots of verbal reminders and reminders and restatements and reminders. But they figured out some things that became mostly automatic and there are some things that maybe Lynda and I have let slide.


Recently, however, Lynda has begun anew. The chart idea hasn't been reborn. She has just put her foot down and made evening dinner-related chores become part of the expected routine. What we have told them and enforced is that one person is responsible for setting the table or helping cook dinner--putting out plates, napkins, silverware, glasses. The person who does not help set the table or cook dinner must help the other parent clean up--clearing the dirty dishes, loading the dishwasher, wiping down the table, helping wash and rinse the pots and pans.

There was the expected amount of grumbling and mumbling for the first few weeks, but recently things have gelled into a nice, communal work flow where everyone participates and the work gets done more quickly and more equitably.

It gives me a good feeling.

1 comment:

Sven Golly said...

What, no charts and graphs? No interactive word puzzle do-hickey? At least a graphic organizer! And you call yourselves textbook editors?