Saturday, May 31, 2014

Paint Chip Chore Charts

5 people living in a 1000 sq foot home means being vigilant chore wise or our home will be overtaken by unopened mail, toys, and crafts. I do not claim to be a housekeeping saint by any means, but I do like a relatively clean and clutter free house (not including my to do boxes....those are overflowing and very cluttery!  They don't count , do they?)  My kids are ages 9, 5, and 4.  They are old enough to do chores and honestly they help me out a LOT.

I devised a paint chip chore chart system that seems to work very well for our  kids.  They have learned (or are learning) their chores and have gotten quite good at them.  Needless to say this takes a little off of my plate which I am thankful for.  Here is how it works:  each child gets a paint chip made up of several shades of their favorite color.  In each shade of the paint chip I write one or two chores until the paint chip is filled up.  My oldest daughter, at age 9,  has the most chores and my 4 and 5 year olds have less.  I adjust periodically and switch chores around between the kids. There are also daily things like picking up toys and putting dirty clothes in the hamper that are expected, but aren't included on the charts.   My goal is that everyone knows how to do all of the chores necessary to run a home.  I want to send my kids out into the world knowing how to cook, do dishes, run a washing machine, etc.  This chore system works well for us because it is visual, uncomplicated,  and easy to change as necessary.

I think chores are important because it teaches kids how a household is run.  It gives the kids a sense of confidence when they have mastered a chore, and honestly having some of the daily load taken off of my and my husband's shoulders is much appreciated.  We stress that our home is a place that takes a team to take care of it.  Each chore that the kids do is important and completing that chore successfully means a lot to the household running smoothly.  Kids enjoy being an important cog in the wheel of household maintenance.....even if they don't feel it or admit it at the time.  They may grumble at times, but it is worth it to follow through and keep the chore chain gang going.....even if it is sometimes easier to do everything myself!  Kids will appreciate it sooner rather than later.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Taming The Laundry Monster For Good

Laundry is not my favorite task....specifically folding laundry is not my favorite thing to do.  It is usually last on my to do list and I have been known to have 4 loads at a time waiting to be folded. However, now that I have 5 people in my family and my husband is no longer doing a job that requires a uniform (which was professionally dry cleaned), I know I need to work a little harder on laundry before it OVERTAKES my life.

I am trying the following strategies:

1.  Wash a load every day.  Dry a load every day.  Fold a load every day.---it takes minutes to start a load and switch the load into the dryer.  The task of folding laundry takes a little longer but folding one load takes significantly less time than folding 4 or 5 loads.

2.  Enlist your kids' help.---Kids as young as 4 or 5 are excellent folders and can put their own clothes away.  Younger kids can sort socks, fold washcloths, etc.  Put your kids to work taming the laundry monster with you.  They are great company and many hands make light work!

3.  Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.---This popular phrase applies to laundry too!  Does any child NEED 45 items of clothing?  That is how many shirts I counted in my sons drawer.  I reduced the amount he had (donate or pass down outgrown clothes to your own younger kids or friends with younger children, sell at a consignment store, etc.)  This helps in two ways...less clothes to launder and now it is far easier for clothes to be put away.  The drawer opens and closes a lot easier!

I am sure I will slip at times and end up with several loads of laundry to fold, but I am going to do my best to keep things on track laundry wise!  I would love to hear other tips for keeping laundry on track!