Sunday, June 8, 2014

Our Summer Chore System

We just had the "summer meeting."  This is the meeting when we sit down our four kids and explain, in detail, what is expected of them during the summer.  Yes I believe in long, lazy summer days.  I love sleeping in and going to bed late.  The beauty of summer is the freedom to just enjoy friends without the pressures of schoolwork.

Unfortunately, my kids have many more distractions than I did at their age.  They have ipods and ipads.  We have game consoles and two hundred television channels.  By default, my summers looked a lot different than theirs do.  The family meeting is our way to lay down the law regarding video games, laundry, television and electronics in general.

Last year we implemented a simple system that was easy to follow and very successful.  If something includes payments, charts, stickers or anything on a daily basis I do not follow through.  It's just how I'm wired.  After all, I want them to have more responsibility.  NOT ME.

I start the meeting with a general overview of what I always expect at home and at camp.  Good behavior.  Be helpful.  Be kind.  Put out into the world what you would like to get back.  

I follow this with the basic rules all four kids MUST follow.

1.  If you have not read for at least 25 minutes I better not see you on an electronic or in front of a television.  You can be outside, playing board games or anything similar and I won't say a word.  If I see you in front of a screen you better be able to tell me when you read, how many pages and what happened in the book.


Along with reading, your chores MUST be done before you "power on" any electronic (more on chores below). The screen is your last resort.  Abuse this rule you lose electronics all together for a week.  The main focus here is to remind them that game consoles and television shows are privileges, not rights.

If you finish a book you earn a day "off" and the next day only chores will be necessary to play a video game.

2.  If your laundry basket arrives back in your room with clean folded clothes, you have 24 hours to put them away.  There is no way you can't find the time in 24 hours to put away clean clothes.  If you don't put them away I take the basket, and you are very short on clothes.

Chances are fresh laundry has favorites such as cute bathing suits and under armour shorts.  If you want them, put them away.

3.  Make your bed.  No excuses.

The second part of the meeting gets more interesting.  As a family we come up with daily and weekly chores. Our daily chores are things like emptying wastebaskets, putting shoes in the shoe basket, recycling and sweeping the kitchen.  

Weekly chores are more detailed.  They include poop scoop, taking out the trash, vacuuming and the dishwasher.

Every child picks one daily chore and one weekly from a hat.  Those are the two things you are responsible for that week.  Some of the chores don't get chosen which keeps the selection process more exciting.  I mark on the fridge (on a laminated paper that lists the chores) who chose what chores because I know I will see it every day.  Whenever I see the laminated paper I give the general reminder to get your daily chores done.  Weekly chores are more scheduled, since the trash is on a set day and I don't want the kids running the vacuum without me nearby.

The kids are welcome to mark the laminated sheet with dry erase markers as they complete their responsibilities, because I have the days of the week listed underneath each child's name.  I like to stick to one daily and one weekly because I'm already requiring them to make their beds, tidy their rooms and put away their laundry.

The goal isn't to overwhelm my kids but keep them productive, helpful and mindful of what is necessary in the house.  

Obviously there are days something slips by me or we're running around like nuts and chores fall by the wayside.  It happens.  But without detailed charts and allowances, this system is easy for us.  All it requires is ten minutes to gather and re-pick chores for the week ahead.  The kids are eager to switch after seven days which serves as our reminder to re-choose chores.  

Even less I need to remember.  

I've realized I'm much more effective when I keep our chore system reasonable and easy to manage.  Rather than limit the television or the video games, I allow them as long as chores and reading are done.  If chores or reading fall by the wayside?  Electronics are the first thing to go.

How do you keep your kids in check during summer vacation?

1 comment:

  1. Wow, this is awesome. I feel like I need to do something like this with my older two. Reading needs to be a big part of Athony's summer....I just hate fighting with him over it. So maybe I need to do something like what you've done, to help motivate him a bit. Great tips!! I need to get to work on my own chart!


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