In my post yesterday I mentioned that I have the boys doing chores for about an hour and a half each day. My friend Catherine left a comment asking what they do for that long, and as we did chores today (for a full 2 hours because we didn’t do a thing yesterday) a post started forming in my mind. So Catherine, this one is dedicated to you.
So last year, IF YOU RECALL, we employed the use of a chore chart. I find this year we don’t need one. In general, the boys are having a great attitude about working (particularly Alaster, have I told you how sweet that kid is lately?!?) and we just plain old do what needs to be done. I found the chore chart limiting in that respect. It only has room for 3 jobs… but what if there is more to be done than that?
It is extremely important to me that my boys leave our house fully prepared to run a clean, organized household on their own. At some point they will probably be single men, either living on their own or with roommates. They will need to know what to do! I can’t stand the thought of them living in filth the way I have seen other single men do! And even more importantly, hopefully someday they will be husbands and fathers, and I want them to be contributors in that realm too. Corey is modeling the behavior of a happy-to-help husband quite nicely for them, and it’s my job to teach them the nitty gritty details. They need to know how to do each job properly (down to the details!), how often things should be done, etc.
Okay, now on to what we actually do. Well… with the idea in mind that I am training them to run a household, not just using their help for the here and now, we are often working together, side by side. Today, in the deep-clean portion of our cleaning time we cleaned the upstairs bathroom altogether. I tackled the toilet, Jack cleaned the sink, and Alaster the tub. I was right in between them, a pretty good spot to be in order to guide and help their efforts. After they left I did the floor on my own. We have also sorted laundry together, dusted together, and done kitchen jobs together. Once I was doing the dishes while Alaster cleaned out the fridge and Jack wiped down the sliding glass door windows. We have lots of fun when we work together, and I find that they really enjoy learning a new job. Novelty! Wonderful!
We don’t do everything together though. They each have a number of jobs they do well now without my supervision, and for those we use “divide and conquer,” tactics. This morning I cleaned my room and folded some clean laundry while Alaster picked up their room and Truman’s room, and Jack picked up the living room. When they were all done I vacuumed all the now-nicely-picked-up-floors while Jack collected bathroom trashes and took them out, and replaced the bags. During this time Alaster put clean laundry away.
I love having their help. Sometimes when we only have a half an hour but lots to be done, I feel like they are lifesavers! One time specifically comes to mind. We were in a pinch with a bunch to do. I told the boys if we worked super fast and hard we would still be able to do something fun that evening. I went upstairs and folded laundry in my room. Jack put the clean dishes away and picked up/vacuumed the living room. Alaster cleaned up the entire upstairs. Then when I was done I headed to the kitchen and put dirty dishes in the now-empty-dishwasher (Thank you Jack!) while Jack emptied the dryer and took some more clean laundry upstairs to be folded, and returned with a load of darks (that he had sorted and put in a laundry basket himself!) for me to put in the washing machine. Alaster by this point was emptying bathroom trashes which Jack took out to the dumpster. I quickly put the load of darks in the laundry, finished dishes in the kitchen, did a quick vacuum upstairs, and we were in a much better spot than we had been not too much earlier! It wasn’t a lot of time to work, but we sure made it count!
Truman even likes to get in on the fun occasionally. He is very obedient and likes to put toys away. He also knows where the trashes are located, and if we hand him something and tell him “put it in the trash,” he does it for us. Jack likes to make special use of him as an errand-runner. This morning when Jack was picking up the living room and Aly was working upstairs he had a toy that needed to go to their bedroom so he handed it to Truman and said “Take it to Aly!” (with jobs like this I’d say you have a 50/50 chance of him actually doing it :)) If Truman doesn’t want to be involved he just kind of does his own thing and leaves us alone. I think he knows we mean business when we are cleaning!
The awesome thing is that even though the boys are home all day now and I thought the house would be dirtier because of it… I am finding that on the whole the house is actually much cleaner! During the school year I typically don’t have the boys do chores (except for keeping their room clean and putting their laundry away) during the week. On Saturdays they help out, but we also have very busy weekends, so it’s not as consistent. When they are older I am sure I will have them help out more during the week, but right now I’m inclined to let them be little at least for part of the day. This summer has sure been a nice change of pace for me!
So there you have it Catherine. That’s what we do. Some solo work each day with tasks they already know how to do… and some altogether-work-time to teach them new skills. Hope that answers your question! Actually, I’m sure it’s more than you wanted to know, but there you have it. I love this subject and couldn’t help myself!