I was finally motivated to redo my children's household job assignments, mainly because I was asked to speak at the moms' group at our church about this topic and thought I should get myself in order first. We had gotten into a bit of a slump as far as cleaning and housework, and it was beginning to show. Everyone was doing the bare minimum and I had stopped really checking. We needed a change to energize us all again.
The hurdle I had to face was how to make the jobs evenly distributed, especially since I had lost one very competent person (M.). A. and B. are equally able, but it didn't feel right to just keep assigning them the time-intensive jobs just because I knew they could do it and would get it done. I also wasn't quite ready to assign the more major jobs to the middle group because I didn't think they were quite ready to handle them on a full-time basis. I was in a quandary.
Up until now, I had always assigned jobs for the full year, believing that it increased mastery and made for a simple schedule that everyone could remember. I still like that method, but have discovered that it only works if you have a nice match of ages and abilities for the jobs which need to be done. My available children were not matching up with the jobs which needed to be done. I knew I needed to create a new system.
As I looked at what needed to be done, I discovered that I had five large-ish jobs which needed to be done on a daily basis. Some of these usually ended up needing to be done more than once a day. These were things such as moving the laundry from the washer to the dryer and sorting the clean clothes into everyone's baskets, unloading the dishwasher, clearing the table and wiping it down, and sweeping the kitchen. One other job, folding towels and putting them away, was not difficult or even had to be done everyday, turns out to be one that no one enjoys doing. (I have no idea why. It's a mystery.) So, five jobs, five children... should have been easy, but I didn't want to saddle any one of them with a big job all the time. The two oldest because they've been doing them for a while and I didn't think the next three were quite ready for it all the time.
Here's my solution. Instead of keeping it simple, I've made it more complex hoping that the constant changing will keep them interested and focused while at the same time allow for breaks from the most time intensive jobs. I set up a rotating, five day schedule with everyone doing a different job each day. I made a chart to show who does what, when and labelled the family calendar so everyone would know what day we're on. Since we do daily jobs six days a week, there is not a set day a person does a certain job. It should keep them (and me) on their toes. I also hope that they will each be doing the jobs frequently enough to continue to allow for mastery.
We began this past Saturday, so we'll see how it works this week and if I need to change anything. As well as these rotating jobs, everyone has another permanent daily job (such as setting the table) which they are responsible for. Also included is putting away clean clothes daily and helping to pick-up the house at set times. On Saturdays, everyone has Saturday jobs which will stay the same for the year which help keep the house clean (bathrooms, vacuuming, dusting, etc.) Even K. has a daily job and a couple Saturday jobs, plus I will be teaching him to put away his own clean laundry this year. It won't be perfect, but I'll be happy if his clothes at least get put in his dresser. The little girls get a pass for one more year since their assignment is to entertain us. I think they can handle that.
I'll let you know how my experiment is working after we've been using it for a while.