Hi everyone! If you have been following my posts, you know that I have a beautiful blended family. You can get the whole introduction to our family at Blended & Splendid: The Introduction.
In that post I give a brief introduction on each child, as well as my loving and silly boyfriend. With so many individuals, and lots of busy schedules between work and sports I still have to try and make sure that all of the chores get done and there is some sort of order to our home.
Yes, I believe in chores. I am an awful mom / step mom. (Not really) Here’s the thing, if I don’t teach them how to do basic house chores, they won’t have any clue when they get older. It will be a lot harder on them than it needs to be. Not to mention, it teaches them responsibilities outside of school, gives them structure, and sets the standards for them when they move out.
Khalub used to give me so much grief about having to do chores. “But mom! None of my other friends have to do chores!!” In a snarky voice accompanied with lots of eye rolls, huffing and puffing. I would respond to him by telling him that I am not his friends mother, and they don’t live in our house. I am not his maid, I am his mom. It is my job to teach him these lovely life skills, even when it’s not fun.
Implementing Age Appropriate Chores
When Khalub was younger, I found that it was TONS EASIER to have all of the chores he was responsible for written down. It was something he could look at to remind him. At the time I used to just have a daily checklist. Of course as he grew, so did the list. The list would look something like this:
- Do homework before ANYTHING
- Put your backpack away
- Clean up your room
- Feed Nama (our dog at the time)
- After dinner dishes
- Take Nama out before bed.
As you can see, this list was pretty small, and most of the “chores” on his list were things that he would be responsible for anyway. Once he got to be a certain age, I would have him bring his laundry downstairs so I could wash it. Once I washed, dried, and folded, he was responsible for putting it away. Then he graduated to doing his own laundry. Anyway, you get the idea. We tried to implement “age appropriate chores”
We Needed A Current Solution
Now that he is a blossoming teen, Cassidy is also a blossoming teen, and we have the two younger kids every other weekend it was a bit trickier to figure out chores. With so many revolving doors, kids coming and going, sports, work, etc… there were lots of times that chores were neglected. For example, one of the weekends Joselyn was with us she somehow managed to wear EVERY SINGLE PIECE OF CLOTHING SHE HAS at our house. Right before she went back to her mom’s house, she brought all of her laundry down to the basement and just left it there. It was practically the whole entire laundry room floor! As you can imagine, I was not happy.
I don’t want to only single her out here, because that’s not fair. The older kids were definitely slacking on their own chores. Hoping we wouldn’t remember what had to be done, or we just wouldn’t check to see that they were done. (Deep breath & eye roll)
Instead of being mad, and setting everyone up for failure (their developing frontal lobes aren’t always thinking like we are – and I forget sometimes too!) we needed a solution. I decided that a Chore Chart, full on spreadsheet format, would be our best option. To do this, and for it to be effective, I had to think about how our household works.
The Main Chore Chart
I made a main chore chart that lists of all the household chores and the days of the week. This one is mostly for Khalub and Cassidy, since they are the ones that live with us full time and they are old enough to do a bit more. Not all chores need to be done every day, like vacuuming. Other chores are a daily thing, like putting the food away and after dinner and dishes. Since we had an odd number of chores, I split them up to where Khalub has an extra chore one day and Cassidy has an extra chore the following day. This comes out to be pretty fair, and they thought so too. Also, since there is an odd number of days in the week, they alternate dishes on Sunday’s. That was actually their idea, and I thought it was very fair and reasonable.
When we all agreed on the chore chart, I printed it on plain white paper, and laminated it. We keep it on the refrigerator, so they can check off which chores are completed with a dry erase marker. When the week is over, we just wipe off the chart and start over!! Below you can see a blank copy. On each of the kids assigned days, their names are filled into the appropriate slot. Of course this can be customized for any household chores that apply.
I want to take this moment to talk about laundry… (eeeekkkkkkk!!) I don’t do anybody’s laundry except my own. I do help Jos with her laundry when she is with us, but I don’t do it for her. If she doesn’t use every single opportunity to change her clothes, we combine her and Jr’s laundry which makes sense for now. Everyone else does their own laundry, including Bubs! This works for us, and it’s so much easier.
We also didn’t want the washer running every single day of the week. That is just nonsense for us. So, when we were making the chore chart I asked each of the kids which day they would like to do their laundry. So now, we all have an assigned laundry day.
Now I want to make a very important note. Although we have the chore chart, and specific laundry days, we all have very busy schedules as I’ve mentioned. The chore chart doesn’t always get followed to the T. Especially when some nights both teens might be two hours away for sports. The nice thing about having the chart as a visual, is that we know what has to be done. This allows us to check the chart on the days we’re not so busy, and circle back to the chores that couldn’t get done at the time they were scheduled for.
Individual Chore Charts
The younger kids needed a visual to help them with the things they needed to get done every morning (i.e. brush your teeth, take a shower…), and the things they needed to do before they go back to their mom’s houses. So, to give Jos a visual I made her an individual chore chart. She actually really appreciated it, and hung it on the back of her door so when her bedroom door is closed she can see it! Her set of chores are a bit different than the one pictured below, but you get the idea.
We did also make one for Jr. Even though he can’t read yet, it still works. We will say something like “Jr. Lets go check your chart. Okay, did you take your vitamins yet this morning?” When he says yes, we let him check it off. This makes him feel accomplished, and it should! It also helps him get into a solid routine. It works for everyone, and nothing gets forgotten.
I found a way to implement some good rules on the teens individual chore charts. Their actual chore charts are pretty silly, they list out things like: Make your bed, clean your room, homework every day, do your chores…(Things they already know they have to do by now)
At the bottom of it, though, I outlined a little paragraph that is more like a contract. This says that they will complete all of their chores, within a reasonable time. If they fail to do their homework and their grades start slipping, there will be consequences. These consequences might be that we take away their electronics, like their gaming systems, phones and computers until we feel they are ready to get them back or their grades are back up and chores are done.The only exception would be computers for homework.
I know, I’m AWFUL. But you know what? For our family it works!! Even though both teens are in sports, and spend a lot of time away they both have exceptional grades! The younger ones know what they have to do when they are with us, and it helps establish good structure and sense of responsibility. For the most part it all runs smooth. This also helps eliminate bickering between the kids and arguing over who needs to do what. The bonus is that we can spend more time doing things we enjoy!