My kitchen is clean. Seriously, clean. If you know me, you know that the kitchen being clean is unheard of. (This is a review, but still, be impressed, because this is a totally true story).
Somehow, even though I was raised by a very neat person, who insisted on chores, I managed to become an adult with no sense of keeping things orderly. I know HOW to clean, but my biggest problem is that half the time, I just don’t see the mess most normal people do. Or I see it and I just don’t care.
I do try and keep my house healthy, and I feel like I do a decent job at that. At the same time, my home isn’t really one you can just drop by without a hazmat suit. (I kid, I kid. No suit required…. Blinders and hand sanitizer maybe.) And I hate that.
When the TOS review crew brought up Everyday Homemaking’s Everyday Family Chore System, I admit, I got a little giddy. I take my spot on the crew seriously, and knew if I was a part of THIS review, I could learn something. Things could CHANGE around here. I gleefully told Husband that we were going to get to try out the program, and he rolled his eyes at me. He said “that’s nice” (which I am pretty sure is code for “yeah right, I’m going to have to do the dishes forever”) and went back to doing the dishes. (He’s learned I won’t do them. He’s amazing. He also cooks, folds laundry, helps teach the kids, and looks pretty darn handsome. I could make a killing renting him out. Too bad I’m selfish.)
Well, I proved him wrong!
When we got the chore system, the first thing we did was sit down after the kids were in bed with some paper and a highlighter. First, Hubby and I needed to figure out what we expected from the kiddos. The chore system has a helpful list of age appropriate chores and responsibilities. Some of the things on the list for our 4 and 6 year old’s I had never considered to be something they could do. We came up with a short list of chores for each of the kids to do.
This program is more than a chore list. Part one of the chore system is “laying a foundation”. THIS is the part I have been missing. All this time, I have been seeing the kids as the adorable little tornadoes that leave destruction in their paths, rather than little people who could be helping out around here. I missed the part where you have to TEACH the children to do the chores. It’s not as simple as saying, “Hey, Bug, go clean XYZ”.
This program taught ME how to teach the KIDS to do their chores. I learned how to model the chore and how to show them how it should look when it is properly finished. For example, one of Bug’s new chores is the dishes. He is responsible for unloading and reloading the dishwasher, and making sure any dishes left in the sink have been rinsed off. In order to make this into a chore he can successfully accomplish, I rearranged the cupboards so he can reach the dishes we use most often when putting them away, brought in a step stool, and purchased a drying rack to set next to the dishwasher. When he does this chore, anything he cannot reach, or is sharp, or very breakable, he places carefully in the drying rack for me to put away later. Everything else he puts away. For the first week, I had him watch ME while I did the chore. The second week I watched HIM every time he did the chore. The third week, I came and checked every time he was finished. Now, he does it on his own. (And it is AMAZING)
This chore system emphasizes the importance of having well established expectations, routines and consequences. There are helpful lists such as “Things to be done before School”, “What is in a tidy room” and “how to do laundry” which can be posted where children can see them.
The program comes with cards *the actual chore system* which detail how to do common household chores, set by step for kids who are comfortable readers. These cards can be laminated and used with older children to help them remember the steps they should take to complete a chore, as well as a tangible reminder to DO the chore. We didn’t use these with our kids yet since they are still emergent readers, but I have them printed off and laminated for when we are ready to introduce them. I feel like they would be really helpful with kids from about 8 to 16.
In the meantime, I am sticking with the wonderful ideas and encouragement I found in this program. I feel like so much weight is off my shoulders now that Bug is able to help me out more with the kitchen (it’s my arch nemesis y’all). I am more productive in keeping my home clean because it is SO much easier to tidy up with help.
If you are looking for a way to help teach your children more responsibility, and keep your home more tidy, I strongly encourage you to check out Everyday Homemaking’s Everyday Family Chore System. It is reasonably priced at 19.99 and includes both the practical information on how to teach your children to do chores, as well as the “how to do it” chore cards. This is available as both a downloadable PDF or a hard copy book.
Disclaimer- I received this product free of charge as part of the TOS Molly Crew in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine.