Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Scheduling Chores

I'm reading Chores without Wars: Turning Housework into Teamwork for this week's book. I'll give a more thorough review on Thursday, but this book, along with my revelation that my family needs routines, inspired me to pick one problem that could be solved with a family routine.

I decided that dinner would be our starting point. Why this? Because, this is an area where everyone can help - even the three-year-old - and it's very clear what needs to be done. It can take one person half an hour to cook, then another half hour to clean up. If everyone pitches in, the cleanup can take a mere 5-10 minutes and prep time for cooking is cut down, too.

So basically, I called everyone up when the main entree was ready and said, "Okay, dinner time. But first we need to set the table, put out a salad and get drinks. Little Bit, what can you do?"

Little Bit loves to be included and she loves to do "big" stuff - although once she knows she can do it and it's her job, she tends to drag her heels. This was new, so she volunteered to sit the table. Hubby got the salad together and we all put out the condiments and drink.

We were no more than half way through the meal when I announced everyone would need to sit until we were all finish and then help with cleanup. Hubby and I had tea while Little Bit finished. For clean-up, I'd made a list and hung it on the fridge. Little Bit offered to wipe down the table - a job she's done to great applaud in the past. Hubby and I worked off the list. It felt great to work together and the kitchen is clean. I used the free time to clean up a bit more in another room and tomorrow, I'll be able to spend my cleaning time outside the kitchen for a change!

I've joked about parts of the book recently, but I must say, some of the recommendations are working for me. I also agree about the need for family routines. And I definitely intend to spend the rest of the month developing this new routine into a family habit!

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