Chore chart 2009-10

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.


14 thoughts on “Chore chart 2009-10

  1. Do you ever feel like you could do a better job than your kids for laundry? I sometimes wonder if I’m neurotic about looking to make sure a stain is out before putting it in the dryer (though in the summer, I know you hang up stuff :))..and I think relinquishing that would cause me agmas nefesh (if it was an option)…or is this one of the things you don’t care that much about, and therefore are happy to give that up and do dishes instead, etc?

    1. There’s a price you pay for teaching kids to do things – and that price, besides the time and effort involved in teaching them, is that their competency doesn’t match yours as an experienced parent! My ds16 is better at laundry than me, but generally I try to not to have unrealistic expectations that will frustrate us all.

      If there’s something that I really care how it’s done, I’ll do it after them like the floor before I go to bed or rewashing greasy dishes washed by someone new on the job. I don’t do it in front of them, though. Sometimes I pretreat or presoak laundry and then they go on from there. But honestly, I buy clothes inexpensively and though I think there’s a value to taking care of your things, regardless of the cost involved, there’s also a value on my time. So there’s a limit to how much time I can put into scrubbing out stains on a $5 item. The time involved for me with eleven sets of clothing is very different than when I had only four kids, and I was willing to put more time into this.

  2. This is awesome! We have a younger set of kids, but this is the direction in which we are moving. It is a great relief to know that certain things will get done without my needing to ask or my needing to do it. Thanks for the inspiration.

    1. I’m glad it’s encouraging to you, Shoshana! Your kids are definitely old enough to start being a big help around the house.

      One word of warning- things don’t get done by themselves and you still have to ask. Someone has to oversee things to be sure they’re done, or they tend to not get done. :) I haven’t yet reached the level that everyone does what they are supposed to do without any reminders on a regular basis. Part of this is probably age, though, since a couple of the older kids have strongly developed a sense of what has to be done as well as an internal commitment to doing it.

  3. Avivah – based on my memory of our chores, its true as we got older, everything just got done and there was very minimal input or necessary supervision from my mother. Occassionaly she would change how the chores were distributed or add new ones.

    For me, now, I have my 4 and 6 (almost 5 and 7) dds each doing one chore. They switch monthly between setting the table for dinner and cleaning their bathroom (emptying the garbage can and wiping off the sink with a baby wipe). So far they have been very receptive to it. This goes along with the daily cleanup of the playroom and their room. They take turns vaccuuming the playroom because they LOVE the vaccuum. I’m hoping that love stays put for a long time!! :o) Even my 2 (almost 3) yo ds was washing the dishes today, he begged me to do it and he had a ton of fun. He was smart enough to leave the glass bowls in the sink but I must say he did a very good job, all things considered! ;o) Thanks for your continued inspiration!!

    1. Thanks for your btdt experience and encouragement that as they get older, it does start to happen without constant supervision! (I can’t believe your son is almost three – yikes – where does the time go?!?)

  4. hi avivah! i am wondering if you set certain standards for jobs? for example, whoever does the bathroom must do the floor, toilet, counter, garbage, etc. i found that i needed to make checklists for jobs like that, and nobody did it thoroughly, and although i was willing to supervise once or twice, i ended up feeling like a prison warden. also, what are your consequences for a shoddy job? like if one of your older kids decided to just make toast for breakfast every day because they didn’t feel like making anything more? would you step in and correct that? would you encourage in a different direction? or is part of them becoming internally motivated that you stay out of it? thanks, as always, for the great advice! you are the voice in my head that keeps me headed in the right direction!! -julie

  5. Hi Avivah!

    The whole night practically I was awake with my baby, and each time I woke up, I told myself “I should just post this question on Avivah’s blog already so it gets out of my head…”

    Anyhow, if your kids do meal preparations, does that mean they cool all the food or just prepare the food for cooking, like peeling, cutting, washing up the dishes, etc? Or if they do the cooking, do you have exact recipes written up that they follow, or do they experiment?
    I always experiment with cooking in the kitchen, almost never follow a written recipe, so I don’t know how I would entrust meal preparation to a kid of mine… How do you work things out?

    1. My kids start working in the kitchen when they’re fairly young. I generally start them off with peeling vegetables alone and measuring and mixing things together with me.

      By the time they’re given meal prep, they have all the basic skills to follow a recipe – and for most dishes I give them recipes with suggestions (along with suggestions for how to adapt it if necessary). They’re welcome to adapt the seasonings, interchange ingredients, etc, as they like. They often ask my opinion when they want to sub things to check if I think it will be good, but I’m pretty relaxed and tell them if they think it will be good, I’m confident it will taste great!

      All of the older four kids have dishes they now prepare without measuring – soups, cholent, salads. I start them off with recipes so they have an idea of what it should look like, and once they’ve done something often enough, they have a sense of where they can change things around and what changes affect the recipe in what ways.

      The person cooking the meal doesn’t do the dishes (that’s a different job). Breakfast prep tends to be a one person project; for dinner, I sometimes enlist younger siblings to help the person doing dinner with the preparations – like peeling carrots or potatoes, etc. I often work along side the dinner prep person since we make large amounts of food and just chopping all the vegetables for a salad can be a big job! But I assist with the grunt/prep work and they have the responsibility for actual cooking.

      I wouldn’t hesitate to invite someone over for any meal that my kids make!

      1. Thank you! What if you want to make up a recipe completely on your own, and not adapt something? Would you write up this made up recipe and then have them follow that, or do you not do that?

  6. I often do this – I tell them to throw in a little of this and a little of that.

    Having kids help out isn’t like a science- it’s an organic process and you feel it out as you go along. Don’t overthink it too much! :)

    1. I think its great how you have all your kids, especially your boys, doing housework and cooking. Your future daughters in law will thank you one day! I can’t wait till my kids are older to implement these stuff. For now, my 2 year old helps straighten up and sets the shabbos table and puts away the groceries when i shop. (But then I have to figure out why a microfiber cloth ended up in the refrigerator with the oranges… But its definitely a big help what he does.)

      A totally unrelated question- when you write how much you spend on your food budget each month, I know you’re able to do that because you travel far to get things. I know you mentioned how even with the traveling time and the gas it is worth it financially because of all the savings you get, but i’m just curious, if you included the gas for those trips, how much would your “food and going to buy the food” budget be?

  7. While most of your readers seem to be on the side of having only younger children, I have six children from 13 yrs to almost 28 yrs old, with only 2 still at home. I am enjoying reading about, and somewhat reliving, the days when I had all of them at home. (The summer before the oldest left for college, I wanted to freeze time, because the youngest was just potty-trained!) Life is so different now. My main problem with jobs these days is being consistent with making sure the jobs get done. It was actually easier with more children around, because that’s where my head was. Now, since I have time for other things, and since they are so self-sufficient, I tend to not check regularly. I’m going to be working on that!

    I’m so enjoying reading through your archives, and am especially motivated to cut our food bill! I made it down to $700 last month, from close to $1000 in October.

    1. Janet, I so appreciate receiving feedback from someone like yourself with lots of successful parenting experience!

      Good work on cutting your food bill! I find it such a fun challenge to find ways to keep our food bill in check and provide our family with lots of delicious, nourishing, and abundant food.

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