Summer is always a challenge in our house. I am a Work at Home Mom
which means once those school doors shut for the summer months, I am knee-deep in kids. My home currently rattles, nay thunders, with the foot stomps of a 14 year-old argumentative boy, a 10 year-old she-diva and an almost 3 year-old whirling dervish boy. Keeping them occupied and out of trouble is a full time job in and of itself. One way I have learned to cope with this is a Summer Chores List. Or SCL for ease.
The SCL might be something my kids have come to dread, but for me it is a hands off way to get some work in on my keyboard and the dust bunnies off the living room floor. Following is a simple way to figure out what needs to be done and just who can do it:
- Figure out what needs to be done the most. In our house laundry and clutter reign supreme on this list.
- Assign age appropriate task to each child. This one is particularly important. I can't have my preschool wielding a weed eater.
- After you have figured out the age abilities, determine which chores suit which child. My youngest loves to pour the laundry detergent in the washing machine and he loves to hang clothes up to dry. My oldest hate laundry and would rather be out do lawn duty.
- Be specific. This is also very important. I can't just tell my kids to go do laundry. I must tell them which hampers need to be done and the order in which they need to be washed.
- Put a time limit on the chores. If I tell my kids they will be done by dusk, they are not too likely to move fast. But if I tell them we will start after breakfast and finish by lunch, I am likely to get some productivity out of them.
- Be supportive. Kids are proud of their work so if a mop job doesn't get every jelly stain off the floor, point out the spots that are gone and positively reinforce that work.
- Make a chart. A chart gives the children a concrete base from which to work. They know that Monday means sweeping and yard work, Tuesday is all about laundry and trash take out, etc.
- Do something fun afterward. A post chore celebration, like a trip to the park or a dog walk or watching a movie gives some meaning to the chores.
Not all of our chore days run smoothly, but I have found that a the above process has helped tremendously.