The kids have been doing a few jobs around the house for a while now, but it hasn’t been too arduous for them — clearing their dishes from the table, feeding Heart and cleaning their rooms was pretty much the extent of it. Greg and I have talked for a while about giving them more to do, and getting into more of a routine, but as with many conversations we have, we talked but there wasn’t a lot of action. We even talked about it with the kids, and they kept bringing it up with us, asking when they’d have their “chore chart”. That’s some spectacular parental laziness…when your kids are ASKING to do chores and you’re blowing them off.
So…we finally said we’d start them after Christmas, so in early January I finally sat down and put together a chore chart. It’s a thing of beauty, I must say. It has a green (Elliot’s favourite colour) and pink (depending on the day, Amy’s favourite) border, green and pink tags to identify each child, graphics to identify the job, and it lists what jobs each child has to do on each day of the week. The chart hangs on our fridge, and it’s a thing of beauty from another perspective as well. The kids (Elliot especially), actually look at the chart each day, figure out what they need to do…and do it. We’ve had a little complaining from Amy when she has to clean her room, but previously we had a LOT of complaining in this department, and from Elliot we are getting no complaining whatsoever. He really seems to enjoy checking what he needs to do and getting it done.
The amount of work they have to do hasn’t gone up all that much: they alternate days setting and clearing the table, Elliot feeds Heart, Amy feeds Aphro, and they clean their rooms/put their laundry away two days a week (or more if asked). The fact that it’s running so smoothly has surprised me, but the other thing that’s surprised me is how much it helps me. Having the table set for dinner is a really nice bonus, and not putting their laundry away is just plain awesome. Plus, because they have set days for putting laundry away, it means I’ve put myself on a regular schedule for doing laundry and I no longer feel like I’m doing it every day.
And the other pleasant surprise has been the table setting…the first night Elliot did it he put stuff in all the “wrong” places and it looked messy. I was going to teach him how to set a table properly, but I got sidetracked (and I think in the back of my mind I realized it wasn’t that important). Then at some point during that first week, both kids started to get creative with their table setting, and each night it’s been something different. And I’m loving it. Who cares if my table isn’t set “properly”? Each night is a work of art created by one of my children.
I’ll enjoy it while it lasts.