I am adding new chores to the kids morning routine. I need some extra help to get things done. If we are going to have time to do school they are going to have to help some more. And if they are doing chores they can’t take toys out that have to be picked up.
How did I decide which chores to add to their list? Well I could have gone to any number of lists that are out there titled what a — year old is capable of doing. But I didn’t do that. It’s not very scientific the way I go about it. I think about the chores that I am struggling to accomplish. This pretty much constitutes everything in my house. Next I think about the things that are most bothering me. Or what things could I get them to do to help keep me on track. In my soul searching I found that I am struggling with laundry, keeping bathrooms clean and getting the floors swept, mopped and vacuumed.
Last year the kids were getting dressed, making their beds, cleaning up toys and unloading the dishwasher on a regular basis. However, I need more help than that and they are getting bigger. I usually like to introduce them to new chores fairly regularly when the whim hits me. But I don’t usually require a new chore to be done on a regular basis until they can do it without supervision.
The biggest hassle for me is laundry. I really need to do two loads a day to keep up with it. So the kids are going to do that for me. We have been working on how to change laundry over for awhile now and they are ready for a regular routine. In the morning big man will have to unload the dryer. Then big girl and little bit will put the clothes from the washer into the dryer. Or sometimes we will change the order up to keep it interesting. Big girl will then start the washer with a new load. We will repeat this again while I am making lunch. I will surely be able to get two loads a day done this way. I am also going to work with them on getting their clean clothes folded/hung up and put away.
To get help on the floors I have enlisted Big girl to sweep the kitchen. She has enlisted the help of her little sister. Little bit cheerfully gets her small dust pan and broom and sweeps up the pile and puts it in the trash. Amazing how sometimes they work themselves into a job. After the floor is swept big boy will mop it. I really don’t care how well they do this. I just expect it to be done. If it is done semi-weekly it will be done better than I was doing. I bought a microfiber mop from Target about a year ago. It’s just a stick with a washable microfiber cloth that adheres to it. I put some all purpose cleaner and water on the cloth and let big boy push it around the kitchen. He thinks this is great. The big kids know how to vacuum and we haven’t figured out how to fit this into our regular routine yet. Once we get our new routine down then maybe I can add more chores. I also considered having them do that chore on Saturday.
All boys should learn how to take out the trash. I had to figure out a way to get my 4 year old to be able to do that. He isn’t really capable of tying a bag up and replacing a bag by himself yet. My Mom happened to be here one weekend and had him bring all the trash cans to the kitchen. It worked beautifully. So 2-3 times a week he brings all the cans from the bathrooms, nursery and schoolroom to the kitchen. I pull the old bag out and he helps put a new bag in. He then returns all the cans where they belong.
I have found it very hard to make chore lists for kids that can’t read. I stumbled upon some great chore pictures a few years ago. We first started with them on index cards. I have now moved to a chore chart. Last year I added new sheets of paper to the top of the chart each week and gave them stickers when the chore was completed. This year I put them in a clear page protector and use a dry erase marker to give them a check mark when complete. I have this bulletin board hanging in my kitchen with their chore charts:
So do I have a plan for tackling the bathrooms. I do it just isn’t fully implemented yet. I have been reading the flylady’s book and have picked up some good advice from her. I am going to work toward training the big kids to clean their bathroom this year. They are going to have to rotate days. Everyday one of them will swish the toilet and the other will wipe the counter and sink. I will just have to come behind and wash the mirror. If it is done everyday it won’t be dirty and it will never get dirty. So in the next few months I will be introducing them to this new chore and adding it to their lists.