It seemed to me that when mommy was busy, others would just wait around for further direction OR find their own fun (usually making messes). I admire the way that the famous reality TV family, the Duggars, are able to manage homeschooling 19 kids. I researched their methods, and they recommended “Managers of Their Homes”. I read information about the program on the book’s website and I also read reviews of the organization program on Amazon. I decided that they book probably wouldn’t offer me anything I don’t already know, but I was encouraged to put a schedule into play. Here is our new schedule, and we follow it somewhat rigidly. Our mornings mainly consist of running errands or going to story times and playgroups (focusing on our younger kids). The afternoons consist of homeschooling lessons (while the babies are sleeping). Having designated, specific homeschooling lessons and times has helped keep our homeschooler on task better. Having breaks worked into the schedule also encourages him to stay on track, otherwise he might miss part of his break-time!
A few months later, I needed to change our schedule around. It is okay and completely normal to need to revise your schedule as time goes on. Children’s needs change, and sometimes staying in the same routine for too long results in complacency. The kids are always super excited for a change in routine, and actually look forward to when mom changes their schedules up a bit every few months. Here is our current routine, which you can compare to the previous one.
I have also altered their chores to be more specific. I defined exactly what chores they should do at exactly what time throughout the day. This has helped them better manage their time (it is no longer a mad rush to get chores done at the end of the day), and I arranged chores to be throughout the day (which act as a “break” from school that they actually look forward to). Look forward to chores??? Yes. It means they can stand up and get some physical energy out!
Here is the chore schedule for my two 8-year-olds. They alternate chore schedules every Sunday (so the same person isn’t taking out trash every single day for months on end). They tell me their favorite day is Sunday, because that’s when their chore schedules change. Haha the little joys in life.
You may notice that they each child has 8 chores. That is because they are 8 years old. I give one chore per age. (A six-year-old has 6 chores, a ten-year-old has 10 chores, etc). “Happy Birthday!! You get a new chore today!!” I’m just an awesome mom like that 🙂 My two-year-old has 2 chores: put his clean clothes away in his drawer, and help mom put the dishwasher tablet in and start the dishwasher.
I try not to give super difficult, time consuming chores. I want my kids to work hard, but also learn to ENJOY working. Each chore generally takes less than 5 minutes to complete, and they get a lot of gratification out of checking each box as they go along (I have the chore chart in a plastic sheet cover, and they use a wet erase marker to check them off every day). If you ask my kids, they’d probably tell you that they LIKE doing chores. Chores make them feel like helpful members of the family and they enjoy reaping the rewards from hard work (see post on “Behavior Bucks”). I also point out to the kids that because of their help around the house, I have time leftover to play with them and take them fun places. Including your kids in housework is a win-win situation!