I’ve used a chore wheel for years. I wanted my kids to learn how to do everything chore related so when they moved out on their own, they’d know what to do. How to cook, how to clean, how to fix things, how to live on their own without depending on someone to help them.
Last month, when we were getting ready to move, we had “family council”. A meeting with the kids to make decisions. We went over the new budget, what we were changing (less TV, more camping gear), asked them how they felt about how much we’ve minimized (they love it) and asked them what changes they wanted to make. We discussed internet use and they came up with a plan for summer. One hour on a device, one hour off and that was the max they thought they should be sucked in to the internet. Still too much in my opinion, but a step in the right direction. They also decided to shut down phones for a minimum of 8 hours a night. After all, you don’t need your phone if you’re sleeping.
The biggest change was the chore wheel. I had done a one person to one chore type wheel. I tried to keep the chore smaller – not overwhelming. Two people were on kitchen, but otherwise, they were on their own with us helping. The kids wanted to change it to areas (or rooms) of the home. We have 5 main areas that are shared and ten kids so they decided to pair up. Gabe (our 17 year old son) thought a double star within a circle would work. That matched them with an entire room for a week but in pairs.
Doing chores is a pain, so making it work better for the kids is important. We rotate the big star counter clockwise and the small star clockwise every Sunday night so they move to a new room with a new partner every week. I’m always in the kitchen – which is the biggest chore – so that alleviates some of the challenge in that room, but we help the kids out with everything. Chores don’t have to be white gloved. It’s mostly about learning how to take care of a home, work together and that picking up after yourself goes a long way in keeping a house clean. I wanted to streamline the process so during the summer it would take about 15 minutes 2 times a day and when the kids are in school they’d only need to tackle the room one time. It’s true that they need to help and it’s important to work together, but cleaning shouldn’t be the highlight of any day. Every day I leave my kids a note. Play outside, eat fruit, take walks, hang out together, laugh – oh, and do your chore.