A couple of days ago, Ty’s mom was down for a visit, so Ty and I took the opportunity to go out for dinner with Miss Aspen. When we arrived home, things were in utter chaos because the kids had left my mother-in-law to do all the meal clean up alone.
It was time for a new Table Chores list!
For the past several weeks, we’d been winging it. Mommy or Daddy would throw out random chores to random children until everything got finished. It was nowhere near the autopilot we were used to, but it was what we could manage.
When I asked the kids why they didn’t help Grammy with the after meal chores, they all exclaimed they had no idea who was supposed to do which chores. (Well, all but my 16 year old son who has gotten to the point where he automatically does whatever chores he sees needing to be done. He had helped Grammy to an extent, but had gotten sidetracked by the time I walked in the door.)
A new house always means a new list because every house has a unique dynamic and a unique set of chores that needs to be accomplished. With the new baby and the holidays, I hadn’t gotten around to putting together a new list. Seeing the chaos that night prompted me to immediately sit down at the computer and revamp the old list. (It took me about 10 minutes, including multiple interruptions.)
Before I share our new list, I want to mention that there are other things that change Table Chores besides moving. You might have a baby graduate to eating at the table or a toddler graduate out of the high chair. Perhaps you have a child who is now old enough to help out and you need to add them to the rotation. Or maybe you’ve had a child grow out of Table Chores. There are a number of changes in a household that will subsequently change the Table Chores (and most everything else as well!).
For us, there was a toddler moving out of the high chair and a newly turned 6 year old being added in that needed to be taken into account. I also decided it was time to switch out a few of the harder chores, giving them to a different child for a while.
Obviously, Table Chores are going to be unique to your family. You will need to consider ages and abilities as well as priorities. You can see from my 2010 Table Chores post that back then I didn’t have many children with abilities, and my priorities and standards were much lower than they are now that I have 5 children working at a time.
I’d encourage you to start by writing down everything you think needs to be done after a meal. Assign those chores by ability (with mom and dad taking any chores that are too “big” for your children).
Next, look through the list and order it. For instance, don’t have one child’s first chore as “Sweep floors” when you have his siblings still bussing the table and before anyone has wiped down the table. That’s asking for a traffic jam and a floor that doesn’t look like it’s been swept.
I always work through the list in my mind child by child and then put it through a trial run before setting the Table Chores in stone. There is almost always something that I missed or a chore or two that don’t fit correctly in the mix. These things can be tweaked and the list printed and posted.
And now for our 2015 Table Chores:
16 (almost 17) year old son:
Mop floors (may just require spot mop)
Take out trash (as needed)
Wash stove, microwave, refrigerator
14 year old daughter:
Clean out sink
Wipe down sink area & dry
10 year old daughter:
Put away food
Wash island, bar, counters
9 year old son:
Wipe down table & chairs
Help put away food
6 year old son:
Yay! No more after meal chaos!
If you’d like more tips on keeping your kitchen neat and tidy, check out this post – How to Keep The Kitchen Clean.