You may remember my chore lanyards from last year. Those worked really well. So well, in fact, that my older kids don't even have to look at them to know what I mean when I say "Chore Time". They have their morning and evening chores down to an automatic routine. (If your kids aren't even close to this kind of bliss, don't give up. My oldest is 15 and we started working on this when she was about 3. It takes time and patience to train children. Don't be too hard on yourself or on them.)
I really wanted to be more consistent in training my kids in some other life skills, like cooking, deeper household cleaning and laundry for a start. I have had my kids help in these areas all along the way, buy I haven't been very consistent with it. Part of the problem is that different things need to be done at different times. Morning and Evening Routines are pretty much the same every single day, so it's easy to get into a good habit if you stick with it long enough. However, other household duties are so varied that I have had a difficult time making a schedule that works for my brood.
After much thought I decided a rotating schedule and whiteboards were the way to go. I could refer to the rotating schedule to see who needed to work in what area, then I could write their tasks on their personal white board. If there were special tasks that needed to be done or if our schedule changed, a white board would be much more forgiving than a laminated chart.
There was only one problem. I don't happen to like the way whiteboards look. They're just so -- white. Sticking 4 of them on my nice, pretty wall wasn't making me do a happy dance.
So I made some custom whiteboards. Now I'm doing a happy dance all over my kitchen. Especially when I think of all the work *ahem* daily life training my kids will do.
Happy, happy, happy.
If you want to make your own custom whiteboards all you need is:
Picture frames (as many as you like in what ever sizes work for you. I got mine at Walmart for $4.)
Computer and Printer (Optional -- to make your name headings)
Something to trim your cardstock (I used a paper cutter, but scissors would work)
Hardware to hang the frames
A Really Nice Husband to Hang the frames for you (Optional, but highly recommended)
A dry erase marker
What to do:
Pick a nice font, write your headings and print. I just spaced down a couple times, centered the name and printed. Take the "innards" out of the picture frame -- you know, the cheesy picture of some fake family that looks ecstatically happy, playful and perfectly proportioned, but is really just a group of models thinking "when will this photo shoot be over so I can collect my paycheck?" That cheesy photo will be your template. After your project is over, you can take the photo out back and use your son's throwing knives to destroy it. (Just kidding -- I'm really not that viscous. It isn't the models' fault that the marketers make cheesy photos.)
Use your template to position your cardstock and cut to fit using a paper cutter or scissors. I held mine up to the light so that I could see where the heading would be, then traced around the template, and cut. Snip, snip.
Stick the new cardstock sheet into the frame.
Ta-Da! One done, only 4 more to go (I also made a "Daily Tasks" title frame).
When you have them all made, it's time to mount them. I probably would have eyeballed them and just stuck a nail in the dry wall. But that would have driven my meticulous hubby right up the same wall I'd mounted them on. So I stood by supportively and oohed and ahhed. He does a much better job than I do at these things. He measured and leveled and used weird little plastic things to hold the screws in the dry wall. I could learn how to do all that, but I prefer to stand by helplessly and watch him do it. *snicker*
Now you are ready to grab that dry erase pen and write all kinds of
fun things on those chore boards. I (my hubby) mounted my boards at the top of the stairs where the kids would see them first thing in the morning. I also can't leave the kitchen without seeing them, so I can check the kids progress throughout the day and I won't forget to write the next day's chores at night. Not that I've ever forgot things at night and had the kids spinning in circles the next morning because I didn't leave clear instructions...
When the kids finish a task, they just mark that task off with their finger. They can't even lose their eraser because it is attached to their hand. Does it get any better?
Here is what our current rotating schedule looks like. I can just look to see who needs to do what and write that on their boards. Some things you will see on the rotating schedule are as follows: The Morning and Evening Chores are the ones on the Chore Lanyards. They know their routines by heart, so I don't need to write every single thing. The House Chores involve routine deep cleaning that needs attention several times a week, like bathrooms and floors. The Top to Bottom Cleaning Game gets the whole house spiffy and I talked about it here. We are out late on Wednesday nights with church responsibilities, so I don't require the kids to do anything but brush their teeth and crash into their beds when we get home. Our littlest child gets to work with a "Buddy" to help encourage her and keep her on track. It wouldn't be fair to expect a 2 year old to be as focused as a 15 year old.
These are our current routines. Of course, you will need to evaluate the ages of your kids and how much you have previously trained them to do before you decide what should go on their boards. It wouldn't be fair of us to require what we haven't trained our kids to do. As you begin to require more responsibility, make sure you leave time for your kids to
get the hang of things.
There, you've worked hard planning things. Go grab a cup of tea to sip while you watch your kiddos do what you planned.
Have a great day!
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