UPDATED:"Having more children doesn't mean more work
it means more workers."
I have had several people ask me to go into a little more detail about our habits and chores and b/c it has been such a blessing to me, I thought I'd share w/ you how we do it.
The first and most wonderful thing has been Morning Habits and Bedtime Habits. When we first started implementing this idea I had a separate card for each habit I wanted the children to learn. After they did the thing that was on the first card they were to flip it over and move onto the next card. I made sure there were pictures and that I went through it w/ them until they had the hang of it. Now I have all their habits compiled onto one piece of paper and they are able to go through them w/ little to no help.
The front has their Morning Habits:
And the back has their Bedtime Habits:
These are things that they are to do every single day. The goal is for them to KNOW what to do next and do it w/o me having to go down the whole list. Or to at least say, "Have you done all of your morning habits?" instead of having to ask them about each individual thing....b/c I just don't have time for that!
As for chores. The above quote CAN be so true. But it takes a lot of training! I would love to do it ALL by myself, but I have come to realize that not only can I physically not do that....it's not good for my children. It is my job to train them in life skills and helping out around the house is an important part of being a member of a family. Everyone helps out.
I have tried about a million chore systems. They have all gotten us closer and closer to what my end goal was, but nothing really lasted. Chore Packs were the answer. I read the book Managers of their Chores by the Maxwells and it was wonderful. The way we keep up w/ our house is to do a room a day. This accomplishes two things. First and foremost, we are all able to be together so I can keep an eye on everyone. And number two, we are able to deep clean every room of the house every week w/o having to dedicate tons of time to it!
So I sat down and wrote down all the things that needed to be done in each room and figured out who was capable of what. Then I cut index cards in half and wrote the child's name, day of the week and chore on each card (drawing pictures on the non-readers cards). Then I numbered them in what order I wanted them to do it. Every day I put that day's chore cards into their "chore pack". They are little clear packs w/ a clippy that clips onto their shirt. You can find them @ Wal-Mart w/ the office supplies. When they finish w/ the card that says #1, they put it in back and do whatever is written on card #2 and so on. When they've gone through all of their cards, I inspect. Have you ever heard the saying "You must Inspect what you Expect?" Well, it's SO true.
Here's a close up so you can see what the individual cards look like. Don't judge my art....
Once you get the cards written up it's time to train them how to do each task. And if you're diligent about that, they will be cleaning the house for you in no time!!!!!! ;)
* I forgot one very important part of our system! "Bless the Mess" This is something that we do every day when Billy calls to say he's on his way home. We use this time to pick up the house. We do chores in the morning so by the time 5:00 rolls around things have certainly gotten messy. After we bless the mess things are all picked up and we don't start behind the next day.*