Tuesday, November 11, 2014

CHORES and how we do it around here.

     With so many children and a busy schedule, it is important for us to have a "normative estate".  This is what should happen every day.  Our chore chart reminds us all what that is and the expectations of each child.
     My chore chart has evolved over the years and where I have landed is with simplicity.  I needed something that would practically run itself and needed little involvement from me.  Life gets busy and I can't not have my household floundering because I forgot to do something on the Chart.  This was happening with other systems and then things would fall apart. So truly, simplicity is the key.

    This chart has looked and functioned slightly different throughout the years but more or less this has been it! Different things in the past were run by me (namely the kitchen) and there was once a time that "babies" was a heading on there, but we are "baby-less" at the moment.  Thats the great thing about this kind of chart though, its completely free form to work with YOUR NEEDS and YOUR HOUSE!  If you do have questions beyond this post, feel free to ask questions either here or on my FACEBOOK page.


The blue thing is a reusable calendar
The paper stuff is all hacked up3x5 cards
re-enforced with packing tape.

Top Line:
Extra name tabs.
Each child has a color paper and their first name letter on it.  I covered them in clear packing tape to make them more durable.

Second Line:
Jurisdictions: These are the areas of the house that that person(s) are in charge of to make sure it is picked up and clean.
These change once a month on the 1st.

  • Living Room
  • bathrooms
  • front porch
  • playroom
  • laundry room

Bottom Left Section:
These are our our "Monthly/aftermeal" chores.  These change once a month on the 1st.

  • Jurisdiction
  • dining room
  • kitchen
Column on Right:
Our "before breakfast" chores.
These change weekly on Mondays

  • Report to Mom
  • Feed dog 
  • Feed chickens, 
  • Kitchen helper (older make bfast with me or by themselves.  Younger kids are my helper only)
  •  Laundry

     Pretty simple looking right?  RIGHT!!!  It can be simple for you too!

 Now let me explain:

  • Some things are a given.  Such as, in the morning they wake up and read in their beds until I or Hubby "wakes up" the house.  Exception would be school days.  The oldest get up at 7 and do math until 8:15.  Then they start their day like normal.  When the house has been "woken up".  Kids make their beds, get dressed and make sure their room is tidy.  In theory, it should already be clean since the rooms should be tidy before going to bed.  So staying in bed and reading, getting dressed and doing your room/bed is a given and does not need to be on the chart.  I will not feed you if these things are not done.
  • Kids look at the Column on Right which are the "weekly" chores and do the job they have been assigned.
  • We EAT and then do our "after breakfast/monthly" chores.  
  • do whatever we do in between b-fast and lunch
  • We EAT and then do our "after lunch/monthly" chores. 
  • do whatever we do in between lunch and dinner.
  • We EAT and then do our "after dinner/monthly" chores. 
     This System ensures that after every meal the kitchen and dinning room get done.  It also makes it so that every part of the house gets cleaned at least once every day.  It does not matter who made the mess, didn't pick up after their shower, left lego's on the ground, got dust on the book shelf, left crayons on the table.  If its your jurisdiction you do it!  (more on those later)

     I found that most of our messes were created around meals so I created the chart to work around that.  It's also great when the house is messy and I can say to everyone "jurisdictions" and the whole house will get an extra once over.  Another given is that when you are done with your "job" you always report to Mom.  This way if there is something extra that comes up I have workers coming who can do them on the spot.
     No matter what happens in our day, we all have to eat.  Our chore chart often acts as a "reset" button for us.  No matter what else is going on,   It brings us back to "the normative estate".

     And what is REPORT TO MOM???  Well, that is when the child reports to me and I tell them what to do.  I am usually in the kitchen making the meal or assisting in its making.  I have the "report to Mom" kids do things like set the table (only if the "kitchen helper people are busy with other things like making food), or I have them make my bed, or help with laundry or another chore that seems like the people on that team would be blessed by some help.  I might have them help me with extra stuff for our homeschool enrichment group, HYPE, or help the little boys get dressed, bring stuff to the mail box, whatevs.


     Okay!  So on the Column on the Right section you will see the "weekly chores."  I change these every Monday morning. "Chickens/kitchen/laundry" are my three main before breakfast chores.  I always assign an older child who can get the job done.  I can not give the 5 year old "chickens", know what I mean?  "Feed dog/report to Mom" are the other two spots currently and even the youngest kids can do those.
     So I assign them out and then on Monday Mornings I change it up.  the three  main chores I assign to older kids and they cycle through so that each week they do a different one..  So if F15g is on "chickens" this week, then next week I move her down to "kitchen" then the following week she would move to "laundry and then the week after that back to "chickens".  The "feed dog/report to Mom" I buddy up younger ones to do together.

   On the  bottom left  sections I have "Jurisdictions and Monthly/After meal chores" I change this on the 1st of every month. I  try and make sure that its pretty even and that no person is doing any chore, say the kitchen twice, in one day.   So if  M12g does "kitchen" in the morning, then in the afternoon she would do" jurisdiction" and in the evening she would do "dining room".
      I like making sure I have an older worker in the kitchen at night time so I always make sure I have an older kid to be "Sweet Boss"d in the "after dinner kitchen".  There may be little ones on there, but it is well know in the house that the "littles" are helpers only.  Also note that the "evening" line is missing 2 kids.  That would be the 2 youngest.  Also notice that on "evening jurisdictions" it also says, "LB JAMS".  This group takes the two "LB's" (little boy;s), to get cleaned up, jammied, teeth brushed and ready for bed.  Then they check their jurisdiction.  It just works better for us this way.

     It's pretty easy to keep things "even Stephen".  When a new month comes I move the "monthly assignment" groups to a blank area on my chart so that the chart is "clear" but I can still see who was buddied up together.  Then I just move everyone around so that they have a new buddy arrangement and are doing the chores in a different order than the previous month.

    On the Second Line  I have my "jurisdictions".  These are the main areas of the house that need to be kept up.  I do not have kitchen/dining room on there since it get cleaned 3 times a day.
   You can't tell on here but, I have a mix of older kids with younger kids.  Also not all kids are working on that jurisdiction at the same time.  For instance on "living room" D6, F15 and CH10 are all on that one.  D6 does it in the morning and F15 and H10 do it in the afternoon.

   There isn't a "right way or wrong way" to set up your chart.  Input your children into it based upon the needs of your household and the ages/stages of your children.  Everyones family is going to run a little different.  I have 3 kids that are only here 1/2 of every week.  So I needed to set up my chart to function with them here or gone without me needing to redo the chart every few days.
     For a while only my oldest 1 or 2 kids could do the kitchen at all so during that time the chart looked different than it does now.  Up until a year ago we had "babies" on there and in the morning the "jurisdiction" kids always did "living room/babies".  Babies in the morning was circle time.  They sang songs, read a book, did finger plays and games.  About 20ish minutes (about the same time it takes for dining room and kitchen crew to get done), When circle time was done they would clean up from that and the living room at the same time.  The most SOUGHT after job in our house was always "babies" and "circle time".  You knew you had "arrived" in our house if we trusted you to run this job- the most important one!  My point is this, work it the way you need to for your family!


     Good point.  This is where we get in to "Sweet Bosses and Faithful followers".  YOU are the sweet boss and YOU have to do all the work because there are no big people.  So your 4 year old  is a "faithful follower" and you could have her "before bfast chore" be stuff she could do without you like "feed to cat", "clean door-handles with a baby wipe" or "sing songs to the baby".  Then their meal chore could be "dining room".  They can help you clear the table, wipe the table and chairs off.  Then she can be a "kitchen helper" and wipe off cupboards or  straighten up a cabinet or put away plastics.  A lot of these things even a 2 year old can do.  The point is not that they can do it like you but that they "do it to the best of their ability".  YOU ARE TRAINING THEM.  When this child is 6 they will be able to not only do dining room alone but then THEY WILL TRAIN the new 4 year old or 2 year old.  One day you will wake up and realize you never trained your 6 year old to do laundry but that your 10 year old did because they are chore buddies.  You may also have to tell the 10 year old that even though the 6 year old can  do the laundry alone that that defeats the purpose of chore buddies and that they MUST still be present.  Just say'in.


The bible says  in 2 Thessalonians 3:10 "... If any would not work, neither should he eat"
So there is your answer.  No we do not pay our children to be a member of our family.  We are a team people and we function like one.  And furthermore, my children get hungry everyday, 3 times a day at least, and they are goooooooooood workers!  ;)


     So the "team leader" is the "sweet boss" (SB).  You keep your other workers in line and motivated and if the job is not done right it falls on you and you do the "biggest part" of the job.  So if you are the SB of the kitchen- you wash the dishes and give direction to your FF's on what else needs to be done.  If you get done with dishes then you help your FF's finish up.  Make sense?  
     The other workers are "faithful followers" (FF).  They are to work WITH the Sweet Boss, but ultimately they are your boss/manager and you need to follow under their leadership.  Everyone takes turns.  Young and old, boy or girl.  Everyone gets a chance to be the Sweet Boss.  Full "Sweet Boss" authority is given at about 7 in our house, although kitchen is a bog job to tackle and so as they are learning that one its usually lunch only.  Girls are SB's on even days and Boys on odd days.  If you are being a "mean boss" and not leading with grace and efficiency then Mom/Dad can demote you to a FF for the time/day... even if that means you are 14 and reporting to your 5 year old brother who was just promoted.  If either SB or FF are really wretched then Mom/Dad may send everyone but you out of the job and make you do it by yourself, and possibly even for an extended period of time.  Remember!!!  You need to be someone that others can work with both as a SB and a FF!!!

UMMMmmmmmmm...... Where's Mom in all this?

     Right?!  I am where ever I need to be.  I really am at the point in my family where I not only have a lot of children but I have a lot of older, well trained, capable children.  So now things are more on the management level for me lol.  I do the things I need to get done.  If I had a baby I would prolly be sitting and nursing.  In the morning I get ready for the school day, pay bills, answer questions on my blog ;).  In the afternoon its usually the same;  what are we doing for the afternoon portion of our day?, doing something that's needed for HYPE, etc.  In the evening I help out where its need, do odds and ends, check my email, flip laundry, whatever.  It kind of just depends on what I need to get done and what the needs of the house hold are at that moment.

     We are in a VERY BUSY stage of life right now.  The great things about the system I have is that they don't need me to make it work.  I was gone for a week in CO last year and during that time.  Food was made, the house was cleaned, school was done.  Day in and day out everyone just did what they were supposed to do.  They don't need me here to make it work.  I was not in a panic the whole time either because I knew that they knew exactly what to do at home.  It may look like I am not doing much when you look at what my kids are doing but I am running the household and running the household around lol.


  1. If you don't have enough kids to buddy up on chores then you will need to decided if they work separately on one chore or together on many.  I have done it both ways.
  2. CROSS TRAIN THEM!!!  Do not just leave them on the same chores.  Thats why we rotate at least once a month on the main stuff.  Its just as important to be able to clean the bathroom as it is to do the dinner dishes.
  3. Don't overload the young ones.  This kind of goes with #2 a little.  My 7 year old can do lunch kitchen on his own or as a SB easily on most days but if I put him in their as anything other than a FF at dinner kitchen he would get frustrated and the job would take forever.  So, keep that in mind.
  4. My laundry person in the morning is just to get laundry going and to sort if there are any clean clothes waiting.  I remember laundry throughout the day and call on whoever is available to help flip/sort/put away.  We do about 3 loads a day. 
  5. What about when your 16 year old is the FF to the 7yr old SB?  Isn't that weird and just not right?  NOPE!  In life your children will have to report to all sorts of people, young and old, different ethnicity, male/female.  Having older children report to younger children keeps them humble ;) It gives the younger kids a chance to practice leadership skills and gives the older kids a chance to help encourage those skills.  When the 16 year old is reporting to the 7 year old in the dinning room and the 7 yr old is not sure what to do the 16 year could say "Would you like me to wipe off the chairs while you do the table?".  This helps the younger child with the organization of the chore and gives the older child an opportunity to respect the younger one as a person.


  1. Oh, wow! Minda, this makes so much sense. We have 6 kids, and the way ages are, we have an older group (12, 10, 7.5) and a younger group (3, 2, 1). I could imagine how this might play out in our home, and I can see what changes I may need to make, especially with rotating responsibilities and letting the younger ones lead as appropriate. Summertime is when I assess chores and make changes. Thanks for sharing so much about the logistics of your life. It is a blessing. -Stacie

  2. You are welcome Stacie! I love the flexibility of this system and I bet you will too! Let me know how it all goes =)

  3. I love this! But I do have a question! How do you make sure the entire job gets done? Maybe it's because my olders are boys but if I said "clean the living room" they wouldn't notice that it needed dusted or vacuumed or wouldn't notice a blanket that needs folded. Also, I feel like I'm always nagging about the same things. "You swept, but forgot under the chairs" 3x a day, every day! Know what I mean? I don't want to be a frustrated and nagging mamma!

    1. So 2 things: 1)I have a "how to do the job" list for everything on the inside of cupboards around the house. So the kitchen and dining room job "how-to" are in cupboards in the kitchen, the bathroom is the inside of one of the bathroom cupboards, rooms are on the backside of their bedroom doors, ect. I have been meaning to blog it. 2)I don't check every job, everytime but I do check! I can usually tell if they did it right just by a quick glance. If I see that they missed something, they go back and finish the job. If it's a continual issue then we have a "heart problem" to work out and the incomplete work ethicis just a symptom. Age plays a big part too. When my oldest was 8 there was obviously more slack because of age/ability. I have always told my kids to "do the job to the best of your ability". That ability changes with age. my 12 yearold can do the job as good as I can, my 6 year old- not so much;) Having the job "hot to's" posted somewhere is what cuts down on the nagging and it gives them a "check off list" (mine are in side page protectors so they can cross things off with a dry erase pen) I still have to often say "um are you following your list?" but that is about the most reminding they need.

  4. How do you encourage your kids , especially Littles, to clean up their own messes since they know whoever has that jurisdiction has to clean up anyway. I'm especially thinking of playroom messes. My 2 and 4 year old a are usually the mess makers there and I want to teach them to clean up after themselves but I already use jurisdictions in our chores. Thanks!

    1. this post may help. I talk about toys and stuff more in it. Short story is to limit so that they mess is manageable. You could assign the 4 year old to be the chore buddy to who ever is on play room. but if the mess is constant. Not letting them have free reign on items and to make sure they clean up before they get something else will prolly help the most.