In my last post, I wrote about the challenges of getting children to tackle household chores - and why it's something I feel we have to at least try to crack here at Average Towers.
This time round, I promise to get down to the nitty gritty of our new(ish) system and how it is (sort of) working for us. Before I do so though, here's one of my all-too-familiar disclaimers: I genuinely don't want to put our system across as a one-size-fits-all solution. What works for us may not necessarily work for you. There are many, many variables that will affect how your own family chooses to treat chores: The ages of your children, their skills/personalities and your own priorities in terms of what you feel you most need help with round the house.
Some of what we're doing might not feel right for your family. The chores I list might seem like "givens" in your household. Others might feel far too tough. And that is absolutely fine. I may not have spelled it out before but this blog is not here to foster comparison or competition. That way lies madness. I like to hope that it's more of an online equivalent of a chat with friends over a cup of coffee.
So, without further ado, here's what we're up to...
Our children's chores system has two parts to it: The everyday tasks and the weekend specials.
The daily chores consist of jobs that may well be expected of children younger than 10 and eight (the ages of my two) but which, rather embarrassingly, we'd let slip. I also used the opportunity to sneak in a couple of school/learning related items like homework/reading and musical instrument practice. Maybe these shouldn't be classed as 'chores', however constantly reminding my two about these things was becoming part of my daily nag repertoire. Now it's there in black and white instead.
An unexpected bonus of this list is that my ageing brain no longer needs to remind each child about several different things every day. Instead I enjoy a far easier refrain: "Have you checked the chart?" Result.
Each of my children has a copy of this list in their bedrooms. Another copy is pinned in a prominent place in the kitchen, where we tend to congregate.
The second part of our system is our weekend chores lucky dip (renamed the unlucky dip within around two minutes by my youngest).
Based on the chore roulette game described in the wonderful We Are THAT Family blog, our lucky dip consists of six tasks, three of which must be tackled by each child. They already have a *least favourite* (empty bins and recycling, since you asked) and we've had to invoke two additional side-rules:
1. If you don't do it properly, you do it again.
2. If you complain, you get an extra task. (Call it a bonus. Hah!)
So how are the early weeks of the new regime going? To be brutally honest, any initial enthusiasm from the younger members of the family wore off after about, say, five seconds. I've discovered many sticky bowls post-dishwasher cycle due to questionable stacking techniques and I've had to call the little 'uns up on countless other attempted shortcuts.
"Why bother?" I hear you say. Well, here's the thing. Now that we've entered week five, the complaints are becoming more subdued. There is a growing realisation - dare I say acceptance - that this system is here to stay. If we stay with it, so will they.
In the short-term I anticipate many more sticky bowls and sullen faces.