Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Country Bunny and Her Brood

Easter Sunday, our Relief Society President gave a lesson based on this book:

She did a fabulous job of relating it to this life and the Atonement in honor of Easter.

That's not what I took away best from her lesson, though. Sorry, Ashley!

The part that hit me most was where she teaches her little brood of 21 bunnies how to clean the house, cook, take care of themselves, and treat each other with respect. Here's one page:

 I don't have 21 kids, but I want that kind of order!  I pondered it the rest of the afternoon.  By evening, I had a plan.

I thought up 4 Helper jobs, one of which I can split up into three jobs for when all the kids are here; I came up with a list of things they should each do on their own every day; and I created a list of things that needed doing on a weekly basis.  I cut up one of those flexible fridge magnets that we get from every business ever created and glued each child's name on one piece.  Then I made a sign.  It looks like this:

What it looks like when everyone is here
What it looks like most of the time

<--personal day="" done="" every="" jobs="" p="">

<--important p="" question="">
<--weekly add="" chores="" everyone="" i="" may="" more.="" need="" one.="" p="" picks="" think="" to=""><--place current="" for="" in="" names="" not="" p="" rotation.="" the="">

Here's a description of each Helper's responsibilities:
Kitchen Helper: Empties dishwasher, fills it back up again.
Meal Helper: Sets table, clears serving dishes, wipes down table (all three meals).
Laundry Helper:  Does one load of laundry, start to finish, from washing to putting away.
Bathroom Helper: Swish the toilet (no cleaner), clear and swipe the counters, clear the floor.

Kitchen Helper is for all three meals when I have just four kids, and split up into three meals when I have more.

Part of getting dressed for bed is picking out clothes to wear for the next day.  They then place those clothes against the wall behind the dining room table so the clothes are accessible when the kids wake up in the morning.  To facilitate this, I made name plaques (marker on 8"x11" white paper in a sheet protector) for each child and posted them on the designated wall.

There were also some rules I established that aren't listed here, but I plan on posting them elsewhere soon.  Those rules are:

1) NO blankies, pillows, or animals out of the bedroom after breakfast.
2) Rooms must be clean before each meal.
3) Everybody helps clean up everything, without regard to ownership or who was playing with it. 

I am also working on a set of chores that they can do for money, like sort the sock bag and clean the patio door.

This week we had all the kids for Spring Break!  A perfect time to try my *evil* plan...Bwa ha ha ha...


Anyway, it started out great!  I introduced the plan to the kids on Monday at Family Home Evening.  There was no initial complaining.  I thought that showed promise.

I won't lie.  There was some grumbling on the first day of actually DOING the chores, but I think it helped that I was there doing it with them, and that almost everyone had a chore to do. (I only have 6 helper jobs at most, so two kids get a "weekend" from chores.)

I was actually surprised by how many of them were excited to do their chores!  I'm not kidding!  "I love to do laundry!" came out of at least two mouths, and "Hooray, I'm the meal helper!" was almost universal.  They took pride in their responsibilities!

Happy side effects:  One-on-one time with each child.  Cleaner house.  They made less mess to begin with.  There was less complaining because it was right there, on the list (I wasn't 'picking' on someone all the time).

They learn responsibility and important life skills.  I have more sanity and time for other projects, me time, and spouse time.  Win-win-win-win-win-win-win-win-win-win.  And the baby will have a system to grow up in.  Add another win there in a few months.

Happy mom, that's me!

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