Our tool this week is Jobs! For me, jobs and chores have basically the same meaning, but if you think of chores as something that your child does in exchange for money than maybe thinking of jobs as something different will help you implement this new idea. Jobs are age appropriate tasks tat children perform to contribute to the family. Everyone benefits from these jobs. Children learn life skills, everyone shares the load of keeping up the home, and children feel capable and needed.
The first step in creating a job routine in your home is to, along with the help of your children, identify the jobs that need to be done and those which are do-able for them. Once you have all agreed on the jobs that your children will be responsible for you need to develop a plan for when and how they will get done. There are many options for this including: chore charts, wheel of jobs with a spinner or a drawing jobs from a hat. The next step goes back a couple weeks - "Take Time for Training". All children need to be show how to do the jobs that you expect them to do properly, children under six will continue to need help and coaching with their jobs. Once everyone knows what to do and how to do it, you will need set clear expectations as to when the jobs will be completed This plan is created and agreed upon by all members in the family. It is also good to discuss what will happen when these plans aren't adhered to.
What this looks like in our house: Our daughter has a chore chart. It has an assortment of ten chores, five that apply to the whole house and five that are specific to her room/things. Each day has two spots next to it, in which she chooses one whole house chore and one personal chore to do each day of the week. We take the weekends off. I have spent time training her on all these chores, but still find that I occasionally need to work with her on chores and/or give her verbal reminders of the steps involved in the chores. We have agreed that she can choose when to do the chores, but that they need to be completed before dinner, so if they are not done when I start preparing dinner I will give her a reminder at that time. For the most part this works. I like the fact that she chooses which chores she will do each day. We have talked about the way to choose, not only what you feel like doing, but also what needs to be done on any given day. Of course there are days that we are too busy for chores, and on those days we try to make up the next day or just skip some of the less important chores. Some are not skippable - putting away her laundry, for example. Others, like dusting can occasionally skipped!
These are the formal jobs that my daughter has, but she does a lot of other jobs around the house too. She picks up baby toys, she gets the mail, makes our salad, sets the table, unloads the dishwasher, and much, much more. No she is not working all the time, but she likes to help out, it makes her feel valued and she really does help. There are days that I think to myself, I don't know what I would do with out her help! She is really learning life skills in the form of chores, time management and cooperation.
Jobs help make her more independent. In the Montessori philosophy contributing to the family or class is an important aspect of development and goes back to one of my favorite quotes, "Any unnecessary help is a hindrance to development". If your children can do it themselves, please allow them to!
Next week we will work on: Mistakes - now that sounds like an easy one, doesn't it?