A few weeks ago, I noticed that my children had really started slacking off on their chores. What does a manager or boss do when their employees start slacking off? They retrain! So I thought it would be a good idea to hold a chore workshop to retrain the kids on how to do the chores correctly for a job well done.
I have written about my chore system before. Since then, I have added a child to the system and adjusted the chores so that the "laundry/garbage" chore is now divided into "laundry" and "garbage". I also no longer do tokens for earning video game minutes. I will briefly summarize. We rotate through the chores on a weekly basis. Each regular weekly chore has a Saturday chore, which is more difficult and involved, attached to it. It was mostly the Saturday chores that the kids were slacking on, but while we were retraining them, we touched briefly on the weekly job as well.
A few years ago, I printed out checklists for each chore, including regular weekday chores and Saturday chores. I laminated them and bought several Vis-a-vis markers to use on the charts. Here is an example of one of the charts:
For our chore workshop, which really sounds more involved than it was, we divided up who was teaching what. My husband is very particular about how the sweeping and mopping gets done for the table setter's Saturday chore, so he took that chore. Since the other part of the downstairs involves sweeping and swiffering, he took that one too (see above picture). Another Saturday chore is vacuuming, and he took that one as well. I trained on bathroom cleaning and "dog duty", which involves picking up the poop in the backyard, and they didn't need retraining on that, and dusting the whole house, including the wooden part of the stairs, which holds the banister.
We got started bright and early--7 am. Our plan was to finish by 9 am and eat donuts. I started by training the kids on the downstairs bathroom. All of our bathrooms are full bathrooms and require the same procedure, except our master bathroom has a big jetted tub and shower that are separate and the other two bathrooms have the shower/tub combination. I will probably still have to review our bathroom with each kid just because there is a little more work involved. They all stood in the bathroom doorway (the five older kids, Dad hung out with the younger two) and watched while I explained step-by-step, asking questions and checking for understanding. I had some of them do some of the steps too. It took about 20 minutes. We also pointed out the time and reminded them that if it takes twenty minutes per bathroom (and that was with me stopping and explaining things), then it should take them about 1 hour to do all three bathrooms.
After finishing with the downstairs bathroom, I reviewed dusting with them, showing them what needed to be dusted in all of the rooms. Then my husband took over and had them pick up toys and clutter off the floors so he could sweep, mop, swiffer and vacuum. He then showed them what those chores entailed. After we were done with our demonstrations, some of the kids had parts of their chores left, like the other two bathrooms needed finishing and rugs, chairs, and other items needed to be put back into place.
We also reviewed the steps for Saturday room cleaning and daily room cleaning, for which I also have charts hanging in each of their rooms. Here is that chart:
This week we sat down and had breakfast before doing our chores. As we ate breakfast, I reminded them each of what their chore was and pulled out the charts to review. I will probably make a pocket of some sort to keep the Saturday chore lists on a wall somewhere so that all they have to do on Saturday is go pull their chore and follow the checklist. The bathroom checklist stays with the bathroom cleaning supplies in the carrier. The room cleaning and bed making lists are hanging on their doors.
One nice thing about this was that I was able to see what revisions I needed to make that were unique to this house or that I've added or done away with for each chore. So in the coming week I am planning to edit the ones that need changing and print and laminate the updated charts.
I feel that teaching and training our children this way sets clear expectations and prepares them for when they have a job outside the house. I feel that teaching children how to work and working with them is an important part of childhood that often gets overlooked and even frowned upon in our modern culture. But my kids really rose to the challenge and did an excellent job on their chores this week. I even went grocery shopping with the younger two while the other five were working on chores and came home to a mostly clean house, with a few exceptions. It was fantastic! And my kids felt so great about their accomplishments.