Now, I can’t take credit for any of this, the idea was created by the Maxwell Family, see “Managers of their Chores” at www.chorepacks.com
I originally heard about this idea from several other homeschooling families and I was impressed with the results they seemed to get. We’ve been using them for nearly 2 years now, and it’s been such a life-altering sucess, I thought it would be worth sharing with other weary moms!
Here’s how I implemented it in our home:
First, I came up with a list of items that need to be done around the house. Things that are done daily as well as bigger jobs that might be done only one time per week or month. Then I sorted through the lists to identify which items were appropriate for the ages of my children and which I would need to continue to do myself.
Second, I made detailed instructions for completing each task or chore. This is a critical step because mom’s idea of a clean room might not be the same as the child’s idea of a clean room. ;-0 These instructions might look something like this:
Clean your room
o Make bed (a presentation is provided by mom the first few times, on how to do this and how it should look when finished)
o Pick up all unapproved items from floor and shelves (these are items that are not approved by mom to be on the floor or out on shelves)
o Put away clothes, ensuring that all drawers will close properly (no clothes hanging out of half-closed drawers!)
In the beginning, we had a detailed list for everything – even brushing teeth!
o Wet toothbrush
o Put small amount of paste on brush
o Brush for 2 minutes, until timer goes off
o Rinse mouth
o Dry brush and put away toothpaste
o Rinse the sink out so no toothpaste can be seen
o Wipe counter
Yes, we needed that much detail in just about everything. This way, everyone has expectations set properly.
Third, I began to provide “presentations” on how to do each chore properly so the child knows exactly the steps that are needed in order mark that chore as “completed.” It is critical to always check the child’s work after completion! For the first month, we had the detailed steps posted in the appropriate rooms so they could check the list and ensure they didn’t miss any steps.
Fourth, once the child knows how to complete a chore properly and completely, this chore card can be added to his chore pack without mom’s help. It's a nice little clip-on packet and each chore card can be moved from front to back as the chore is completed. Over time, new chores can be presented and added to the chore packs.
We started with smaller things, but now my children can clean the bathroom (minus the toilet), clean bedrooms, clean the basement, clean the blinds in various rooms, empty trash cans and sort laundry, unload dishwasher, set table and dust. The kids like knowing exactly what they need to do and seeing their progress as they move cards from front to back in their chore packs. The last card in their pack says “Report to Mom” so that I can see they are finished and/or check their work if one of their chores is a bigger or new job for them.
No longer do I have to run around telling everyone what to do. I just say, “Grab your chore packs!” and off they go. They get their work done and I get my chores done without interruption. It is such a wonderful thing to spend just 30 minutes to 1 hour on chores and then stand around looking at our clean house and rejoicing in the work we accomplished together. I really don’t know how I ever survived before using these.
But even more importantly, my children are seeing that they are an important and needed member of the family. And, they are learning life skills they will need to have when they have their own family someday.
The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied. -Proverbs 13:4