It does not matter how hard I try (well, I have not really tried lately), my house is a mess. It is not dirty, just messy. The kicker is, I have three competent and capable children who are able to help, and they do, but I often do not know how to direct them in the best way to keep order in our home.
Order in the house is so easy to demand, but often difficult to accomplish when you have people living in the house. Having once lived alone, I realized it has nothing to do with the number of people living in the home. It has more to do with the training or lack of training one has that determines how well chore management is handled in a home. Despite how long I have been married and mothering, managing chores continues to be a challenge for me.
The opportunity to review The Everyday Family Chore System came at a perfect time for our family. The struggle is real and I need help!
Vicki Bentley is part of a large and busy family. She has eight biological daughters, 19 grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Bentley is also a foster mom to more than fifty children and has homeschooled 17 children. I think one can say she has good experience running a large household and maintaining order. She has had plenty of time to implement a system and many “assistants” to help her perfect the plan.
The Everyday Family Chore System is divided into three sections:
Part One: Laying a Foundation
Part Two: Implementing
Part Three: The Actual Chore System
I have a habit of just “doing it myself,” because I know what I want done and “can do it faster!” That thought process often gets the job done (eventually), but leaves a tired mommy, incomplete tasks around the home and three children who have no idea of their value and place in maintaining our home. Their contributions, like mine, are essential to the success of our home. The skills they learn from their training are ones that will carry into their adulthood and in the family homes they later build. I want my children to have a heart for serving each other and their family, and desiring to care for the home is part of that bigger picture.
Bentley understands moms like me, which is probably why she spends the first section of the book helping users prepare for this new chore management experience. In “Laying the Foundation,” Bentley discusses the importance of including all children in home maintenance. She even provides a list of age-specific chores that children can easily complete independently, which is later shared in part two of the program.
Some parents often overlook the fact that children, as young as the age of two, are able to contribute in home maintenance. They easily create messes and are able to help put things back together. Their attempts to clean may not be as well as mom or an older sibling, but teaching accountability at an early age will help them understand the importance of maintaining the home.
Part two of the book addresses implementing the plan, which provides the ideas on determining what chores, will be assigned and to whom in your family. Over the past two years, my older two have stepped up and started doing chores like mowing the lawn, weed whacking and cooking meals. I still flinch when I see them around sharp objects, but they are old enough to handle the responsibility. My youngest is 10 and I know he is more capable than the chores I have him do. The few chores I have all of my children do in no way reflect each of their capabilities. This section was a good reminder and I have started adding more daily tasks to their chore lists rather than just weekly.
Part three of the program addresses the actual chore system. I was happy to see I have been doing something right. Bentley uses a technique I already implemented in our home. I used to give my children chores, show them how to do them and expect them to remember all of the instruction I gave them. My childrens’ idea of a completed chore does not always match my expectations. They use chore cards. On one side is the chore and on the other are the steps from beginning to completion (my expectation) of the chore. My children know the chore is not done until all of the instructions on the card have been followed. Having something to refer to (detailed steps on the card) makes it easier to do the chore and do it right.
Bentley provides many of the items like ready-to-print chore cards, etc. that list the chore and the step-by-step instructions. The child has everything they need to know for properly completing the chore. I already have cards like this, but I have the chore printed on one side and the step-by-step instructions on the back. She also provides blank cards for you to create your own cards for your children and other forms to help you maintain your home.
The biggest challenge for me has been getting myself together and being consistent with implementing the chore system. I do not like to clean up and can think of several other things I would rather be doing. The bottom line is chores need to be done or you live in a mess. Bentley does offer some suggestions for success that include having a routine; having a place for everything; not putting things down, but instead away; storing items closest to point of use and more.
I like her note about “keeping an eye on inventory.” Bentley says that whatever clothes repeatedly end up in the laundry and the toys that are constantly underfoot are the items that your family members love to use. Anything not included in those items should possibly be given away or packed up for future use. After I get a handle on the clothes, I will next move to getting rid of unused curricula.
Vicki Bentley has put together a well organized chore system in The Everyday Family Chore System for bringing order to your home.
The Everyday Family Chore System is available as an e-book for $15.99 and as a print copy for $19.99. I like touching books, but the digital version of the chore system may be the better idea. There are pages that you will need to print and it is easier to do with a digital product. Take a look at the free products she offers.
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