Sunday, May 8, 2011


I stole the term "jurisdictions" as an alternative to "chores" from 19 kids and counting. I like it better but no matter what you call it it all boils down something you are responsible for doing and you don't have to like it.

My boys are almost 4 and 2 years old. I have been putting off giving them chores because it simply hadn't occurred to me that they might be old enough to do things without it being more work for me. Yup; I'm lazy.
Let me share something with you.... Shhhhh! it's a secret! MY KIDS ARE HOOLIGANS!!!!!
I decided to give them chores because busy hands are hands that can't get into as much trouble.

What do you set up for chores for a 4 year old and a 2 year old? What can they  do? I thought about this a bit and I thought about what they can do... they can do alot when they put their little minds to it. How much effort and skill is put forth for every act of mischief that they seem to fill my life with these days? Here's what I know, I know that my kids can smear things which mean they can also wipes things clean (same action). I know they can tear stuff down which tells me that can pick things up to especially at the lengths they will go to get down whatever it is they want. I know they're fast little buggers too so all this slow poking around doesn't need to happen.
researched and asked around about chore charts and came up with something I like.
Here is what our chart looks like. I listed the kids' "jurisdictions" I put a space where they could stop and pick up later in case of school days or days when we have AM appointments. The top half need to be done in the morning no matter what!
Obviously my kids can't read yet so I have pictures which they mainly go off of. Next to each task there is a bit of Velcro. This is so they know where they are in this whole scheme of things and what needs to be done next. When they complete the task they move their little picture guy to the next task to show which task they are on.
The kids will keep these same jurisdictions until the beginning of each summer. Some people like to start with the new school year but I like summer because that gives us some leeway for adjustment. Since I'm starting this this whole project and it's like mid-spring I will see where we are at this time around the beginning of July and switch/add tasks if it seems appropriate.
... I'm already thinking I'm going to add setting the table and putting away silverware to Cole's and putting the dirty dishes in the sink after every meal for Davin.

Do they get an incentive for keeping up with their jurisdictions?
As of now- NO
The kids are pretty young so an allowance doesn't seem appropriate yet. Plus it takes many hands to keep a household running and it seems like contributions shouldn't be paid since these are what my mom always called "family duties". I have heard good arguments for an allowance though as well and we will probably revisit this topic later as a family.

The Chore Jar-
We have this jar and it contains thing the kids wouldn't normally do (wash walls, chairs cabinets, etc...) the kids can draw out of the chore jar if they want to earn the money to buy something that we don't normally buy for them and there isn't a holiday coming up. This works really well even as young as they are!
They also draw out of the chore jar and work for free as a consequence. Usually we get in trouble as a result of our own selfish actions and by drawing out of the chore jar they are given the opportunity to do something nice for someone else.

This is what out set up looks like and it's posted upstairs in the central area there by their room. Most of the morning chores are upstairs things and this is a central location anyway.

If they don't get the morning stuff done in a timely manner then we will skip something to catch up the time and so far we haven't had that problem but it worked for me growing up. I only went to school in my pajamas once.
For the later tasks the kids know and have experienced not being able to do what they want to do until these things get done and they have been awesome at keeping a positive attitude!

Our kids are still pretty young and we are new at a lot of these things. So far the chart has worked beautifully because the kids can see what is expected of them and there aren't any surprises and it keeps them busy. I feel like we have had less behavior issues since giving them responsibilities. We do still have our struggles but I think the frequency is much less and I feel more relaxed with the extra hands to help out!

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