18 May Chore Rotation: Monthly All the Way
Let’s talk about chores, shall we?
The whole family chore thing can be a headache. No, a migraine. The kind that leaves you crumpled on the couch with a puke bucket. Organizing a functional family chore groove is a lot of work–for you. And unfortunately kids aren’t willing to inflict chores upon themselves, so the energy to keep a system going depends on you too. Feel the weight yet? I know I do.
So as the chore weight-bearer in my family, I’m an advocate of doing whatever it takes to make the family chore system work for me, and that means keeping it as simple as possible. One way I’ve simplified our chore system is by choosing to rotate chores monthly instead of weekly. Pat yourself on the back if you’ve already figured this out then go celebrate the extra time you’ve been saving by drinking a Coke. If you’re not on the monthly chore rotation bandwagon yet, read on.
Doing the whole chore rotation tango once a month means a ten minute chore-choosing pow wow once every thirty-ish days instead of once every seven. That saves a solid 30 minutes for sure (if you add the time wasted in kids arguing back and forth during the process it’s probably closer to 45). As a busy parent, I’m sure you can think of something super you could do with a spare 45 minutes ;). Sounds great right? It is. But it’s not just great because it’s less chore-dealing coordination and time for you–it has another benefit too.
When I keep the same chores on my kids’ charts for a whole month, it gives them a chance to practice those chores or skills multiple times (at least four). And though I can’t promise getting that much practice will make their chores perfect, I can promise they’ll get enough stabs at their chores to master your expectations. Or at least come pretty close. Think about it—if you were taught how to effectively vacuum a room, then got to practice that new-found skill at least once a week for a whole month, you wouldn’t forget it. So the next time “vacuum the family room” wound up on your chore chart, you’d know exactly what to do–it’s been ingrained in your brain.
Most household, yard, and even deep-cleaning chores require little to no brain power to extend them so they’re completed weekly, over the course of a month. If you’ve read my blog post “To Pay or Not to Pay: Part 2,” you’ll remember that I’m an advocate of including life skills on my kids’ chore charts (speaking of life skills, check back in three weeks for a free download of my age-appropriate “I Can” life skill lists). Life skills that are practiced weekly for a month’s time is a chore match made in heaven. It doesn’t get better than that.
If I happen to come across a chore or a life skill that I cannot extend for an entire month despite throwing all my creative brain power its way, I don’t panic. Instead I throw a forward slash on their chore chart and simply double up that brain-zapping chore with another one. They can do each chore for two weeks in a row, or alternate between them every other week. It’s your forward slash–you decide.