Here’s this year’s chore chart! There aren’t many chores on my chart – I try to keep it to the basics. This year’s chart is similar to last year, but with a couple of notable changes.
- Laundry – done for a month at a time – A
- Bathrooms – done for a month at a time – B
- Breakfast preparation and wash dishes after Shabbos – done for 2 weeks C/D
- Dinner preparation – done for 2 weeks at a time – D/C
I put an initial next to each chore to represent a child. These four chores are rotated between the oldest four kids, currently ages 10, 13, 15, and 16. It’s set up so each child has one chore for a month, and they complete each rotation every three months. The breakfast and dinner preparation rotates after two weeks, so that the kids who are doing these jobs reverse with one another mid month.
We go through the complete cycle three times a year, meaning that each child has laundry and bathrooms three times, and meal prep for each of the two meals six times.
I used to say the bathrooms had to be done every 2 – 3 days, but now it’s daily since I saw that it was getting stretched to every 4 or even 5 days when someone missed their chore. It’s quick when done daily and the bathrooms don’t have a chance to get very messy, even if the person in charge misses a day. I now recommend to the person in charge of laundry that they do at least 1 – 2 loads daily, but it’s up to them. As long as everyone has clean clothes when they need them, they can do what they want.
- clear table after every meal – E
- sweep floor after every meal, thorough sweep of entire main floor once daily – F
These two chores are rotated between ds7 and dd9. (In addition I sweep the kitchen a couple of times a day, because with all of the food prep once a day isn’t enough.) They rotate every two weeks. They also are each responsible to take down the laundry from their rooms and one other location in the house, and between them take down everything. Again, this used to be done every 2 – 3 days and now I ask them to do it daily.
This year, I’m on duty for dishes and lunch preparation. The kids were all very happy when I offered them this option, since they dislike dishes. Dishes are honestly a challenge since there are three meals being prepared a day, along with three large loads of dishes/pots. It’s easy for them to get discouraged since the sink isn’t empty for long before it’s getting filled up again, but I don’t mind it. I get my break once a week, since on Motzei Shabbos one of the kids do the dishes, and this lets them remember how lucky they are it’s only once a week. :)) When I do dishes, I also wipe down the stove and counters every night.
That’s it for the scheduled stuff. We do quick daily clean ups, and big clean ups for Shabbos, but we do it as a team and there aren’t fixed jobs. At those times, when I see something that needs to be done, I ask someone to do it. Sometimes, like yesterday, I’ll set the timer for 5 or 15 minutes, and tell everyone to do pick something to do in a given area, anything they want, and do it before it goes off. Seven people (kids ages 7 and up and me) can get a lot done in fifteen minutes, by working together! Yesterday in the living room we got walls washed, blinds wiped down, bookshelves straightened up, all the surfaces cleared, and the floor swept in the living room. It’s fun to do together, and there’s no pressure – I don’t question the job someone picks, expect them to work at a certain pace, or check how they’ve done it.
The kids are responsible for cleaning their rooms daily, but their idea of cleaning and mine aren’t always the same. Still, something gets done!
There are a number of other miscellaneous chores that I do a little bit at a time. Not quite daily, but it probably averages to every day and a half. You know, all those jobs that seem too small to schedule but if not done leave your home looking only half clean? That includes the regular schedule of re-organizing various areas of the house, like the linen closet, basement, storage room, etc. The natural state of things is to come undone, not stay done.
Five of the older children also have a daily job with the littles. Dd9 puts ds2 in for a nap, ds10 puts ds3 in for a nap. Sometimes this includes reading them a book, usually not. Dd15 puts ds2 to bed at night, ds16 puts in ds3 at night. Dd13 gets up very early (she likes to finish all of her work for the day before breakfast) so she dresses the two of them and luckily for them, she enjoys taking them out for a morning walk; that’s why she’s not on the naptime/bedtime schedule. (I wouldn’t ask her to dress them or take them for a walk, only to give them a drink or fruit to hold them over until breakfast.) Putting a child in to bed is a very fast job; I made it official this year so I don’t have to worry who I asked to do what – I try to keep things fair and this ensures I’m not asking the same person every day to do all of the work.
I find that this keeps things running smoothly, without any one person feeling overwhelmed by his jobs or the expectations of him.