I revise our chore chart twice a year or so. EVERYBODY becomes complacent when they are given the same job over and over again. Changing things up a bit helps keep the kids on their toes, and also gives them the opportunity to practice important life skills in different areas of the household! I can’t emphasize this enough. Your kids’ chores MUST change at least semi-annually, or you WILL see a decrease in their work ethic and efficiency. For some reason, making the change from taking the trash out instead of emptying the dishwasher is super exciting and reinvigorates hard work.
We used to swap chores every week. Switching chores weekly was too often, in my opinion, as the kids would forget whose week it was to do which set of chores. And wracking my brain at bedtime trying to remember who should have done what during the day was too exhausting! Anywhere from once a month, to semi-annually, seems to be a good time to change up chores.
You’ll notice a NEW player on my chore chart– our 3-year-old! He’s beginning to show interest in helping out, and he wants so much to be like the older boys. I thought we better take advantage of his alacrity and get that boy some chores!
(Calvin is 3; Jameson is 9; Nekoda is 11)
I really do try to assign the kids chores that they seem to enjoy (although obviously they’re NOT going to like everything). For instance, I noticed that Nekoda would often actually come and ask me if he could help out with making dinner, so I thought that would be a perfect “chore” for him!
I got the jurisdiction idea from a book I read by the Duggar family. (Despite all the craziness their family is going through right now, I am blown away by how well they seem to manage their children and household). I am excited to see how it works in our home.
We used to have “10-minute-clean up” every night, which was more than enough time to get all our toys put away (you know, so I could bask in the perfection of a clean home after the kids went to bed). That worked super well for about a year. And then the kids started getting complacent. One child would inevitably end up doing most of the cleaning up, while the other child would slowly examine toys and look at books instead of actively putting things away. So then we changed to switching off nights… Nekoda would be responsible for cleaning up one night, and then Jameson the next.
I decided to change that up again by introducing “jurisdictions”, so everyone is working at cleaning their area of focus (we’ll probably switch jurisdictions once a week). In our home, there are 3 main areas that need attention at the end of the day:
- Kitchen (I HATE being left with a horribly messy kitchen to clean all by myself after already spending an hour in there making everyone dinner)
- Living room (which has our piano and books– which are pulled from the shelves every day… the price I pay for not letting our kids watch TV)
- Family room (which houses all our toys, organized with baskets for each category of toy)
The boys will take turns cleaning each “jurisdiction” (Calvin, being new to the concept, will need me or my husband to guide him).
Another change to the chore chart is “meal prep” for the older boys on the weekend. I will sit down with each of them earlier in the week and help them plan dinner for either Saturday or Sunday. They can write out their shopping list and then be responsible for making dinner (I’ll help, of course). Their wives can thank me later.
One year later, I decided that the kids are capable of helping out more. I added an extra chore to their charts, making sure to include the responsibility of helping with the younger children (reading to them, assisting them in completing chores, etc).
The hardest time in my day is between 4:30-5pm. I could use help with the kids and help with the meal preparation during this time. So I decided to have BOTH of my older kids assigned to either watch the kids or help me make dinner.
I still really like them having their own “jurisdiction”, or part of the house they are responsible for making shine each day.
You’ll also notice “A” chores and “B” chores. I decided that rather than have each boy responsible for the same exact chore list each week, I would swap their chores each Sunday. This gives them more experience doing different chores, and helps them from becoming complacent with their work. (It also adds a little competition to the mix… they want to do a better job than their sibling does and then brag a little about it).
I feel strongly that some chores should be changed up on an annual or semi-annual basis so that kids can get comfortable helping out in different ways around the house. I really like the extensive lists of age appropriate chores here at the blog “Homeschool Your Boys”.