Every year around this time my kids are tired (and frankly, so am I) of early mornings and crazy after school schedules. We can’t wait for school to get out and have carefree days where we can sleep in a little, play, and not have to run from one event to the next. Fast forward into mid-June and we are all being lazy and not getting ANYTHING done…and then we crave the structure and routine (although not the busy-ness) of the school year. I am a person who thrives on structure and routine. And as much as I L-O-V-E summer, not having a routine and schedule is hard! So, knowing what is coming, I like to start planning now for some routine and structure into our mornings so we can get things done and have plenty of time to play the rest of the day.
My children are expected to do chores year round, but during the school year their chores are minimal (dishes, keeping their rooms clean, cleaning bathroom on Saturday, etc.). During the summer, that’s when we really dig in and make the house sparkle.
We are a blended family, with two of the kids only living with us half the week. So we usually go on a two-week cycle to accommodate our rotating schedule. I won’t lie – it gets complicated and requires constant tweaking. But I feel it is important to have some flexibility and do what needs to be done to make things work for YOUR family. There is no set way to organize anything, even chore charts. Do what works for you and your family!
Over the years our chore chart has evolved. When the kids were small, it was very simple and fun. Now with kids in Elementary, Jr. High, and High School, it’s a lot more extensive. But let’s break it down step by step.
Routines vs. Chores
In my home, there are things we do every day that are routine. They aren’t chores. They are just part of being in the family and being human. These things include:
- Eating Breakfast
- Taking a Bath/Shower
- Getting Dressed
- Brushing Your Teeth
- Doing Your Hair
- Making Your Bed
- Cleaning up Your Room
If your child struggles with any of these, having a Routine Chart hanging up in their room or somewhere else in your home might be a good idea. If they can read, a simple list works. If not, you can include pictures. I really like to have them laminated and if your child likes to check things off, a dry erase marker is helpful.
On your routine list you can also include things like Summer time homework. I like my children to keep up on their skills during the summer, so we also have reading and doing a few pages in their grade level workbooks as part of their routine.
The Master Chore Chart
Beyond our routine items, we have lots of chores that need to be done around the home. When designing my chore chart, I start with a list of every job I can possibly think of around the house/garage/yard, and then I start evenly distributing them between the kids and who is capable of doing that chore. I usually do it on a spreadsheet on the computer, but you can also just do it on a piece of paper. I keep all the chores on one sheet, but you can also have separate sheets for each child if that works better for your family.
We keep our master chore chart pinned to the front of our Mail Sorting Station in our Command Center in our kitchen. I find that is important to keep it in a central location.
One of the things I have really strived to do with my children is teach them how to properly clean. Despite my best efforts, they are typical kids and try to rush through. So, I created chore cards for each job we have around the house. I have to admit, these cards go a bit overboard, but I figure if they do most of it, then it will be a whole lot cleaner than it would without them!
So with routines, chore charts, and chore cards we are ready for a somewhat structured summer but also ready to have some fun!
Be sure to stop by An Organized Family to see what else I’ve been working on lately: