Over the summer my family got really lax on staying on top of chores and I realized I desperately needed a new system, so I was thrilled to review The Everyday Family Chore System from Everyday Homemaking.
This 88 page digital download helped walk me through not only designing a system that works for us, but also making sure I’m teaching my girls important life skills as soon as they’re ready, too. It also includes printable instruction cards for your kids to review before they complete a chore so they can remember exactly what is expected.
One thing I that I love about this book is that it’s never just about chores, it’s about helping your kids learn to do everything necessary to be able to live on their own someday without floundering when they move out because they never really learned how to do laundry or cook themselves a meal. But it also mentions that at the same time, by teaching our kids to do ALL THE THINGS, we’re working ourselves out of a job, which is an idea I can definitely get behind. #morecoffeetimeforme 😉
The book also talks a lot about tying “love-strings” to your kids hearts, which is just awesome. In the middle of a book about training your kids to clean their rooms and load the dishwasher, you’re reminded to do things with your kids. Laugh with them. Smile. Speak to them gently. Love them. It’s a timely reminder, because when working on all the other things, like reminding my kid for the umpteenth time to put her clothes in the laundry hamper, not two inches away from it on the floor, I just want to pull my hair out, not speak gently, lol.
What honestly stood out the most to me, though, was the emphasis on not just assigning chores, but taking the time to thoroughly instruct your kids on how to do them properly. This might mean first having a kid watch you load the dishwasher explaining what you’re doing for a few days, and then transitioning to having your kid load it while you watch and help for awhile before she’s ready to do it independently. I think one of my downfalls before with trying to have my kids begin to take over certain chores is that in the short term, it’s actually more work for me, and takes longer and I’ve lost sight of the end-game and gone back to just doing it myself.
This book reminded me that pushing through the painstakingly slow days of helping my seven-year-old load the dishwasher will one day actually mean less work for me, and it will be helpful for her, too, because she’ll move away from home one day and need to have that skill. One of the most helpful little sections of the book was a list of life skills divided by what age (on average) you can begin teaching your kid to do something, as well as the age at which you can expect her to master the skill. The second number feels overwhelming sometimes. Am I really supposed to begin teaching my five year old to clean the toilet and have to keep working with them on getting it right until they’re twelve? Maybe. And that feels like forever and makes me wonder why I should even bother. BUT, if I remind myself that it means once she’s twelve I won’t have to clean the toilet anymore, I think I can grin and bear it for now. And obviously every kid is different. I’m hoping that in just a couple years my seven-year-old will be skilled enough to take over that particular job for me. And in the meantime, my ten-year-old recently had a growth spurt so she can reach all the cabinets now and fully unload the dishwasher without help. #happydance
I think the age on successfully putting dirty clothes in the hamper may be somewhere around forty, but for everything else there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.
We definitely tweaked things to work for us. And unfortunately none of the printable chore instruction cards for the chores that I’m teaching my kids so far quite work for me…I do them all slightly differently than the way suggested on the cards. Gah. Apparently I’m weird. But I already knew that. We’re starting slow with the chores right now, though, and I think some of the cards for chores I’ll add later will be really helpful. And there are blank cards included so I can easily make my own. I also got a bit of a laugh out of a few of the suggested life skills to teach, like “make a long-distance call” a.k.a. in this day and age, just “make a call.” And “use a payphone.” LOL. First I’ll have to find one somewhere. Hmm. 😉
In any case, the family schedule and chore assignments that I created with this book’s help have been working really well for us so far, so I’d definitely call this resource a win! Vicki of Everyday Homemaking has a special offer for you all. When you check out on her site you can get 10% off as many books as you want using the code TOS10books until September fifth. 😀
Be sure to check out what others think of The Everyday Family Chore System as well as the Everyday Cooking cookbook which is also by Everyday Homemaking by hopping over to the Homeschool Review Crew link-up.