Wednesday, February 2, 2011

our jobs

I haven't coordinated any effort around here to match up with a Works for me Wednesday in a long time, so I thought I'd get my act together today and show you want we're doing with chores in our house.
We call them jobs around here. And this last week we finally got an actual, dependable, regular system in place. What?... it's only taken me 7 years of parenting to make a tangible system... is that so bad??

My kids have been "helpers" for as long as they can remember. They have always been expected to help with household things... they set the table or put away groceries or help with laundry or clean up toys all along the way and are really pretty good about helping out.
When I think to ask them to or remember to remind them to.

Lately, mostly since moving this summer, I've tried to give them more responsibility and regular jobs to be done on a regular basis on their own; cleaning up their bathroom, folding laundry, putting away laundry, keeping their rooms clean and other random this-is-something-you-can-handle-on-a-regular-basis jobs.
Which haven't always worked out so well on that regular basis.
Turns out my kids -or maybe it's just me?- just can't do it without specific times and days and details of how and when and where to do the job each time.

So instead of just a laid back go with the flow team effort I was hoping to create around here, I decided I finally had to get organized and get a plan in place for these guys. Or maybe for me. Either way, it needed to be spelled out, on paper, visual. In other words, it was time to choose from the myriad of chore chart, job jar, responsibility board ideas out there.

So here's what I came up with.
(please excuse the dim pictures today)

First I broke down what I wanted to be the kids' responsibilities into three areas:
Morning Jobs (things like making beds and brushing teeth and getting ready for the day), After Dinner Jobs (things like clearing the table, cleaning up toys, dishes, etc) and
Extra Jobs
(things I think of more like "chores"... vacuuming, dusting, bathrooms, etc.),

Morning Jobs I posted in their bedrooms for now, most of which are already part of their routine but wanted it to be posted for a reminder nonetheless. These are more of their personal responsibility jobs.

I also wrote up and posted what specifically constitutes keeping their bedrooms cleaned up, just for reference. Their bedrooms, for the most part, are left up to them and only when it gets really bad (SJ, lately, often) do I "make" them "clean their room". Her idea of a clean room and my idea of a clean room haven't been lining up very well, so I'm hoping breaking it down into baby steps will make it easier on all of us.

(I debated putting pictures on the lists since Sawyer can't technically read, but I think he's close enough to being able to read at least the main words that I decided against it... It'll be good practice for him to learn a few specific words and be familiar enough with these lists to figure it out.)

For After Dinner Jobs, I divied them up into two lists and the kids will take turns with each list each week or each night, depending on how we switch it up. We'll definitely go by weeks at first so the kids can get some good "instruction" and practice in on these jobs, doing them right and well.
One set of jobs we refer to as "yellow jobs" and one set are "green jobs". Our Yellow jobs are clearing the table, wiping the table and chairs and then doing a quick pick up of any toys and other out of place things in the kitchen and family room. The Green jobs are helping to put away leftovers, wiping down counters and sweeping the kitchen floor.

Extra Jobs are for now, and probably at least during the school year, going to be Saturday jobs, to be done Saturday mornings; vacuuming, dusting, matching socks, washing windows, bathroom counters, etc.

So here's how our "on paper, spelled out, visuals" plays out for these community/family jobs...

I had bought, a long time ago, these three giant clothespins I came across on clearance at Homegoods. I didn't know what exactly I was going to do with them at the time, but I thought they were cute (oversized anything is cute, right?) and knew I could find something that would make them worth their $2 price tag. Well, turns out they fit right in with my plan here.

First I painted them
(this is probably why they were on the clearance shelf; one was black with the words "world's best cook" scrawled on both sides, and the other two were two-toned pink and orange.) I made one a turquoisey blue and one solid orange to coordinate with the bright colors in my kitchen and then I turned the black one plain black.

Then I pulled out matching ribbon and I covered some small clothespins (not the hanging clothes size, but craft size) in the ribbon with hot glue, adding a star shaped brad to one side of each clip.

I printed out our jobs, backing them with cuter paper, and used the giant clothespins to display our jobs on the wall in a corner of our kitchen by the laundry room door.

(I ♥ these velcro picture hanging strips... I use them for everything!)

Our Extra Jobs hang from the big black clothespin and the cards with the After Dinner Jobs will move back and forth from the blue to orange clothespins designating which jobs are whose responsibility.

The orange clips -both big and small- point out Savannah's jobs and the blue clips are for Sawyer's jobs.

The little clothespins are clipped to the Extra Jobs list, putting each kids' color next to a job slated for them. I clip them on plain colored side out and the kids turn them over to show the star when the job is completed.

So far so good. Savannah got her room clean without too much intervention this weekend, and so far the kids have happily been getting their new assignments done. I know it's still new and novel, but I hope having it spelled out like this helps keep us on the ball for the long run.
Do you have a system in place to be sure the kids know and accomplish their responsibilities?? What works for you?

See what's working for others -lots of Valentine's ideas!- this week at Kristen's. :)


Mom said...

Very cute ,and simple to use.I hope it's a keeper!XOXOXOXOXOX

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