Wednesday, April 14, 2010
“Before I knew it, it was time to set the table for lunch. Josiah and I raced to see who could get done with our jobs first. I slowed down at the end so Josiah could catch up---then I let him win! Mommy took me into her room alone and gave me a million hugs. She said she was so happy that I was learning to see how others feel—and that I make Josiah feel important. I think she’ll probably tell Daddy, and he’ll say, “Jonathan, Mommy told me a good report about you!” I love it when he says that—he always has a big smile on his face and tears in his eyes when he does.”*
Those who have already had built-in chore sessions for many years have probably found what I have found: chore sessions change from season to season and year to year. Our chore sessions now are drastically different than they were ten years ago. Our chores sessions now are amazingly different than they were many years ago when I had seven children fourteen and under at home. I have less “chorers” now than I have had since my oldest three were prescholers. However, we also have less work. We can whip up mashed potatoes and baked steak in no time flat for five of us—compared to the laborious meals we used to make when there were nine of us. Time has a way of changing everything.
The most successful chore schedule I have found is that of the before-meals sessions (though we’ve done after meal sessions, twice a day, all-work-done-before-read-aloud, and many other methods with success too). More on this later in the week!
It helps when developing your chore schedule to think about things that will influence it. How you organize your chore sessions will be dependent upon the following things (plus more, I’m sure):
*How many people you have completing chores each day
*The ages and training of those doing the chores
*Your expectations (!)
*How many small children you have (i.e. how many big messes you have to clean up everyday in addition to chore sessions!)
*Whether you are just doing daily jobs during chores or trying to scatter weekly work among the chore sessions too
*Whether you have any other systems in place to take care of some work (i.e. Friday afternoon family cleaning, chef for the day for meal preps, mega cooking meals in freezer, maid (!), etc.)
*How many activities everyone is involved in and how often kids (and parents!) are actually home to do the chores
*Whether you do most of the cooking or delegate that to others
*What you eat for your meals (leftovers for lunch take less time and can be done by younger children than cooking a hot lunch from scratch; some children who go to school eat breakfast and lunch at school—this would lessen the grocery shopping and food preparations considerably during the school year)
*Whether your children are trained to re-use clean, already-worn clothing and not create unnecessary laundry or not
*Whether your children go to school each day, making more work first thing in the mornings but making fewer messes all day long
*Your view of housework (i.e. you feel that it is Mom’s job—and you only give token jobs to children—and feel guilty for giving those vs. you see all work as every one’s and do not have a problem dividing it all up among the “tenants”!)
We have taught our children to work hard and long from very early ages. Our three oldest children could do amazing things when they were very young. I can remember when Kara (number four) was seven years old and whined about making toast for breakfast. I would say to her, “When Kayla (first daughter, second child) was your age, she made the bread from scratch, baked it, sliced it, then toasted it for breakfast!”
Now I don’t focus on amazing feats---simply keeping the house picked up, the laundry all done, dishes completed, and easy meals prepared are my goals for my three busy sons, Ray, and me. I now work thirty hours a week in ministry and teaching, in addition to homeschooling our three sons. Again, time changes so many things. However, these changes have forced me to take a look at how we can “get it all done” more and more—and to find creative solutions to challenges.
Tomorrow: more chore tips--dividing up the work in chore sessions. Then putting it all together. Then age appropriate chore lists. Can you tell I’m having fun writing about chores???
*For the complete story of “Jonathan’s Journal, follow this link: http://positiveparenting3-6-5.blogspot.com/2010/03/day-seventy-eight-introducing-jonathans.html