Thursday, August 26, 2010

Helping Habits

Yes, this is my goofy title for 'chores' because I feel there is too much negativity related to that word, for myself included. I never did chores much growing up, but I still prefer to call my own work 'housework'. Even one definition I found was "an unpleasant but necessary task". So, we don't want that to be the attitude in our home! Helping Habits are fun, respectable, expected, helpful and appreciated 'round here! My kids actually argue over helping me do things around the house that are in addition to their regular Helping Habits (HH). Helping and work is FUN because then we are big like Mom and Dad.

I don't have the greatest system, so there won't be any eyes popping open today, but I've had a few people ask about my system and a few others already trying it. I saw the notecard and ring idea used for ordering homeschool subjects once on another blog over a year ago, but I can't credit them because I don't remember who it was, sorry! I adapted the idea for our chores and made up a silly name for them. So, here we go...

Our Helping Habits are centered around meal times. They are done before and after all three meals (B1&B2-before and after breakfast, L1&L2-before and after lunch, D1&D2-before and after dinner). I use ring clasps to hold the colored notecards in order, and hang them near my homeschool shelf in the dining room where we eat and do most of our school work. My 7, 5 & 4 year-olds all have HH. My 2 year-old often times will ask, "My hepin hadit?" and I will give him a specific task cleaning up some toys. Get them started early, right?

In these photographs, my 7 year-old's HH are on the top and my 5 & 4 year-old's are on the bottom in that order. I am not and artist, so no laughing!

My 7 year-old cannot clean his room before breakfast because my 2 year-old is almost always still sleeping still, but it is cleaned before bedtime and no one plays in there from 8pm to 8am. I have trained all my children in their HH and inspect their work often, continuing to train them. (In case you were wondering, those are bookshelves. Yeah, I know you couldn't tell.)

There is some kind of tier system going on, though that wasn't my original plan. Last year the 7 year-old vacuumed (it's a dust buster in the picture, come on!) and the 5 year-old cleaned the table, but this year we have all moved up and learned new skills. It's so nice to get our breakfast dishes done right away. Oatmeal and cereal are so hard to clean after a few hours...

Before lunch and dinner we do a quick clean up of the house so it doesn't get atrocious. And, it would. If someone's allotted room is worse than the others, they will help each other out to get it done. Lunch isn't put on the table until HH are completed. Of course, there are always days I don't remind them to do them and the house doesn't run as smoothly on those days. Such is life. (Notice the 'sandwich' I drew for tidying the kitchen...lack of ideas and skills, sorry.)

Similar HH to after breakfast, but we also brush our teeth with water after lunch. The 4 year-old can't turn on the spout, hense the 7 year-old's extra HH. Otherwise, she would stand in the bathroom and scream, hense the name Angelica Pickles. *smile*

Notice the upgraded kitchen drawing? Apple.and.banana. Seriously, it's not that bad!

Tidying shoes is referring to our shoe shelf on the front porch. My 2 year-old loves to play with shoes, so it's always a mess at the end of the day, whether we went anywhere or not.

That's it! I plan to possibly make a before-dinner notecard some time soon. I'm a little tired of reminding them to get their PJs on, brush their teeth and clean up. With this system, I don't have to remind them hardly ever!

Also, duties such as filling or emptying the dishwasher, folding towels in the laundry, switching the garbage bags, etc. do not get done on a regular schedule. But, the kids are asked to help and I never hear any complaining.

This is where they hang in the dining room.

How do you organize your chores with little ones that can't read yet and have minimal ways of helping?


Rachel said...

i verbally tell aiden. since we do things the same each time he doesn't gripe about it. if you want pictures you might find clip art or take pictures of what you want done and put those on a ring? that's what i would a picture board of routines. i have some examples that i can show you that i'm going to use for aiden for communication purposes but you could use them for boo-boo's HH :o)

Samantha said...

That looks fun. My kids need a visual as well, I might try this. In my spare time! :o
Turbo Jam doesn't hurt my knees, make sure you use proper form! I workout at 7 pm (or right after dinner is cleaned up.) I am not a morning person, so when I schedule for a.m. I always fail. Last night I got my husband to join in on Turbo Fire's strength class. TF is a TJ class on speed. Good Luck!!

Carrie said...

Thanks for visiting my baby blog and for commenting! I appreciate it! And Thanks for sharing your HH system. I may try this, I LIKE it!