The Musical Chairs of Family Chores

1.13.12

Photo credit Marcello Santos/Getty Images

In a large family like ours, keeping up with the chores is just a fact of life. We have different chores, or jurisdictions, that our kids are responsible for, and we have a chore chart to keep track of all of them. Our daughter Jessa (19 years old) is such an organizer in our family (and I'm so grateful for these different children who have all these different strengths in different areas). Every once and a while we'll change up the jurisdictions, and Jessa distributes new chores to the kids for me because I've been so busy.

So the other day Justin (9 years old), came into my room with his clipboard and his little pencil and was just diligently working. And then he looked up from his clipboard and said, "Mama, did you brush your teeth yet?" And I said, "Well, nope but I was just getting ready to." And he said, "Oh, okay, good." And he walked off with his little clipboard in hand and then I looked at my husband Jim Bob and said, "What was that all about?" And he said, "Jessa reassigned the chores and the jurisdictions and she added a new one onto the list: She's making sure that everybody gets their teeth brushed, and Justin is the one in charge of the checklist." So apparently we're going to have some kind of a reward for those that brush their teeth three times a day. 

And so everybody's chores had changed, and now our daughter Jennifer (4 years old) is just beaming and beside herself because her job is to gather the laundry, and that was Jackson's job. And Jackson was very happy to pass that job onto her because once the kids master a chore they're ready to move on to the next thing, and they don't really want to keep doing it. In fact, Jackson kept saying to me, "Isn't it time for somebody else to gather the laundry, Mama? You know, I am getting bigger." 

The other day he was telling some family friends, "I don't do the laundry anymore, I have the trash job. But my job is really stinky -- I do the upstairs trash and that's where the diaper pail's at."  And I said jokingly to him, "Yeah, Jackson, but you're so big now, you're 7, you can handle that; it's nothing for you." And then he smiled big and said, "Yeah, I can." It was so cute.

All the kids look forward to the change of the guard in chores. We're all a team. We have to work together, and everybody pulls their load. And whether the kids are little or big doesn't make any difference -- they can all do their part. Our daughter Jordan helps put the socks together, and while she's 3, there are certain smaller things that she can do. And she knows that she's a big girl and she gets to do it because it helps the family. And if she wasn't doing her chore we wouldn't have our socks mated, though half the time we still don't! But still, she's doing the best she can; we all are!

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