Monday, February 23, 2015

Follow Through: Large Family Management

One of the most often asked questions I receive is about chores and how I manage to get things done.

I am not going to lie. I do get *lots* done in a day, but do not think for a second that *everything* needing to get done happens. My house is a disaster right now. I am waiting until spring weather, and we will take a week off to deep clean and organize.
The kids will be helping, of course. Chores are what keeps this house running smoothly.

Chores are part of life. Chores teach kids about responsibility and about contributing to the group. Chores build self confidence and allows one be an active member of the group.
Chores, which are part of a daily routine, should not be "paid chores."
Chores are what keep a mom sane. Seriously.

In this house I have a chore chart. It rotates weekly.

Rotating weekly will make sure the kids are learning all the chores and it also keeps them from feeling bored of the same chore. I have my oldest and youngest daughter paired up so the younger one can have a "mentor" as she learns. 

Now, in this house things such as making a bed, bringing down dirt laundry, cleaning the bedroom , etc are NOT consider chore chart chores. They are, instead, considered something that is done without a second thought. Wake up and make your bed. You shouldn't need a chart for that task.

I admit my chart is ready for a revamp too, as my oldest is in college and working a job. She is often times not here and the others must pick up the slack.

Outside and farm related chores are an entirely different ballgame. I have no chart for those chores. I have no sense of *fairness* or equal distribution either. Here's is how farm chores work: I decide who does what and things get done. It can change daily too.

Typically Quinn stays inside to clean the kitchen and filter milk while I head outside to milk cows. Indiana and Willow feed all the outside animals and fill water troughs. The young boys hang out with me while I milk. Even at their young ages, the boys learn quite a bit about cows and milking just by watching and talking to me.

There are, of course, days when I have so many projects in the works that I assign the milking chores to Indiana or Journee. Both girls are great cow milkers and I trust them to fill my shoes. Of course, there was a process of them learning this task. I taught them both how to milk so that I would have some back up. It is really nice for days when I am making a batch of cheddar!

Of course there is always the question of how I manage to get the kids on board with all of this work plus their school work. I have a simple answer: Follow through.

Follow through is the most powerful weapon in the parenting arsenal. The kids learn quickly to follow through on their chores and responsibilities when you, as the parent, show them you have great follow through with punishment.

If I threaten to take away all electronic devices for a week due to lack of chore or school follow through on their part, trust me when I say I make good on my threats. I always follow through. Always. Even if it makes my life a pain in the bootie, I follow through.

The kids know I am serious because I have proven myself.

                               *The little ones playing a game before chores and school*

As with anything, your attitude will reflect on to the kids, so keep a positive attitude towards chores.....but always follow through. You'll be glad you did and so will your kids!

Happy Monday Ya'll!

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