After several frustrating weeks of dishes piled in the sink, laundry piled on chairs, and shoes, books, and toys piled in the corners of various rooms I decided that our system of designating chores was just not working. Everything was on one page and, while it might have worked if everyone was over the age of 30 and understood how to read it, it just looked like no one was working together. Shared activity is very important to our family, be it special outings or simply hanging out at the fire pit. So I decided that that needed to be incorporated into our chore schedules.
So I sat down at the laptop and came up with three distinct areas of housekeeping that could be accomplished within the day, even around school and other responsibilities. The pages are "laminated" (with packing tape) so names can be circled off with a dry erase marker for the current day's jobs. The main key is shared jobs and working together. Many hands make light work, right? I believe this nurtures relationships and fosters a sense of teamwork. Cooperative attitudes are encouraged and built up and not one person is left to feel like they're doing everything all the time.
And those "Dishwashing Dates"? Well, for me, washing dishes has never been especially pleasurable but knowing that two days out of the week I wash dishes with Bill makes it something to actually look forward to, like a special date at the kitchen sink! This is also shared, now, and the girls will end up washing dishes with each other or with either Bill or me. It gives us a chance to catch up on their lives and address any problems in a calmer manner.
So far this has been working well and will need revision as our children get older. But, for now, we are enjoying the closeness that this brings to our family.