You have read about different chore charting systems here before. (To revisit earlier posts, start either HERE or HERE. To view videos about chores instead, you may begin HERE or even HERE.) In this post, we’ll look at more complex charting systems for older kids involving chores that are scheduled on a rotating basis.
Chore charting systems using rotations are not appropriate for all families. They work best when there are multiple children who can read and interpret instructions easily, work on their own, perform many different kinds of chores and have the maturity to handle this kind of system. Because this system includes chores on a rotating schedule, the only children who should be scheduled this way are those that — after an initial training period with you - are comfortable changing gears on a weekly basis and adapting to a new set of instructions every 7 days.
Before going into detail, take a look at the benefits of using rotations when scheduling chores:
First, offering different chores to different children breaks up the monotony of one child performing the same tasks every single day. No longer will you hear things like, “How come I’m the only person who ever picks up the mud room?” or, “Why doesn’t anybody else ever clean this bathroom?” and so on.
Next, by asking kids to do many different things, they become proficient in many more areas. After different chores have been practiced for a while, children are well able to handle many different aspect of household cleaning and maintenance, and are infinitely better prepared to be keepers of their own homes some day.
Last, by rotating duties every week (or whatever time frame you choose) even chores that do not need to be completed on a daily or weekly basis can be included. If your home requires something done every two weeks or once a month, for example, these may be included on the chore chart in one of the weekly rotations. In this way, the job is performed according to your specific household needs, rather than excessively every week when it really isn’t needed, or less frequently because it is never scheduled.
Like anything else, there are drawbacks to chore rotation systems, too, including the amount of time they take to initially develop and periodically revise. But in larger families in homes that receive a lot of daily use, the peace of mind and benefits can more than make up for any disadvantages.
Overall, the mission of a rotating chore system is to vary the chores that children do according to how often they need to be performed. Looking at household chores (both indoors and outdoors) in terms of what needs to be done on a daily, weekly and monthly basis is a good way to grasp this concept.
Once a list of daily, weekly (or bi-weekly) and monthly (or bi-monthly) chores has been established, dividing them up by child is the next step. Assigning chores to children based on ages, abilities, preferences and level of experience in these areas is one way. Asking children which chores they’d like to take on is another.
Finally, armed with the list of chores assigned to the list of children, the task of putting together an overall family schedule is the only remaining step. Assigning daily chores to some children and weekly chores to others should result in a very rough first-draft of one week’s chore schedule. Making several more copies of the first draft (either by photocopying or printing another on the computer) allows for adding in different chores during different weeks. Once all of the chores have been added, it is usually possible to see how many weeks of rotation are needed to get it all done (in my home, I have 3 rotations, calling them A, B and C).
The most time-consuming part of the process, putting together this complex puzzle by matching chores with people and spreading their duties out over several weeks or months is not always easy. However, after several renditions and looking at it over and over again, a general pattern will emerge. Once the general schedule has been developed, it is important to review it again several times looking for things like balance, equality and the realistic amount of time it will take individual children to complete. (If your goal is to assign a 30-minute chore block every morning and afternoon as I do, then chores cannot take longer than this to finish.) Mentally running through every child’s fictional chore schedule is another way to be sure that it works well.
Taking a look at the way other families do this can be extremely helpful. There is so much to be learned by hearing the HOWs and WHYs of chore charting from families that are similar to yours in make-up and size. Check THIS EXAMPLE to see a page from a rotational chore system that I have used in my home, keeping in mind that it represents just one week (“Week A”) out of a 3-week rotational system and that all children may not necessarily fit on a single page. Of course, the size and length of your rotating chore schedule will depend upon what you hope to accomplish, spread out over the number of weeks and children included in your system; however, this will give you some idea of a finished product.
Chore charts are beneficial in so many ways, but ultimately every family must decide what works best for them. If you feel that a rotational chore system could work in your home, allow approximately one week to put the system together, and at least one full rotation to see how well it works, making any necessary tweaks only when the entire cycle has been completed.
[Photo: Stuart Miles/Free Digital]