I hate being chore cop.
Anyone who’s been at parenting for a number of years knows what I mean. You can’t just tell kids to do household tasks; you have to make sure they do them. So even if all goes well and they learn basic tasks and that everyone is expected to pitch in, you still have the chore of making sure they do theirs. And it is work.
I went through any number of systems, from simple (you do dishes on odd days, you get evens) to handing out lists, to a ridiculous system I barely remember except that it involved different colors of posterboard, index cards and four pockets.
It was way over the top. My kids were about 8, so it was doomed from the start for its complexity. Each child got one pocket, and maybe another one was for jobs either one could do. I truly don’t recall. I do know that the one I eyed most as I walked past was the one for “jobs done.” I had this grand idea that instead of patrolling the house to see if tasks were done, I could just see a card in that pocket and check on that task.
Bwahaha. Not only was it not less work, it was more, because not only did they have to remember to do chores, they had to remember to move index cards around, and I had to police that.
I tried assigning tasks for a while, only to get the whines of “her list is easier.” And I didn’t believe going strictly by days of the week made sense, because one sporting event or heavy night of homework rendered that unfair.
We settled on the current system around a year and a half ago. I made a list of all the chores that needed to be done over the course of a week. Then I asked my two teens to assign a number of points to each one, 1 to 3, depending on how hard or involved it was. Cleaning the microwave is 1 point, for example; washing and putting away all the towels is 2, and vacuuming is 3 points because of the pet hair.
Now they know on weekends to check the white board on the front of the refrigerator. If there are extra tasks to be done, I write them there. Otherwise, I just say for each one to do, say, 5 points of jobs. There’s no “reserving” a task; whoever gets to it first gets to do it. One actually prefers to clean the bathroom. I generally don’t care WHAT tasks they do, as long as they’re contributing.
This works for us. What works for you?
Chores shouldn’t be a chore for ME
I hate being chore cop.