Chunking Chores

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by gcvmom, Jun 29, 2010.

  1. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Last week I hosted a little gathering of gal pals at my house, and consequently cleaned the common areas of the house and decluttered as best I could. Then I SWORE to myself that come hell or high water, I would do everything in my power to hold the rest of the family accountable for their messes in these areas.

    It's been a week, and so far, it's going pretty well. It takes a lot of hovering and reminding on my part, but the kids are coming back to their messes and taking care of them. My hope is that eventually it will be habit and I won't have to say anything -- they'll automatically take the dish to the sink or dishwasher, toss the trash, pick up the clothes/shoes, etc.

    Up until today, I did not worry about the state of their respective bedrooms. I just shut the door on the mess and focused only on the rest of the house.

    But since we had nowhere to go today, I decided they each would spend some time on the mess in their rooms. I made the announcement that they would work for 20 minutes (I set the oven timer) and then stop. They were to simply work on picking up clothes, tossing trash, and putting stuff away if it had a designated home. ANything they didn't know what to do with they could make a pile for. Anything they didn't want could go in a pile in the hallway.

    easy child made the biggest dent in her room. But then, she's a easy child. difficult child 2 got overwhelmed and started obsessing over a toy he's realized has been missing for a few months. I decided to go in and help him get redirected. I told him he could just pick all the junk off the floor and put it on his bottom bunk, and we'd sort later. Trash went in a large bag. That way he could at least WALK in the room and not trip over stuff or hurt his feet. He still obsessed about the toy, so then I reminded him that we might actually FIND it if we got all the junk picked up. That calmed him down a little. We didn't get it ALL picked up in the 20 minutes, but we made progress. He seemed surprised when I told him to stop, that the time was up!

    difficult child 1 stopped for a bathroom break about 5 minutes into his allotted time, so I essentially started his 20 minutes over. He's in there now picking up, albeit after some grumbling. I reminded him that I didn't expect the whole room to be cleaned -- it was just a timed work session and when time's up, he's done for now.

    Then I promised we'd go to the drugstore for an ice cream or some frozen yogurt as a treat.

    We'll try this again tomorrow and see if we can make some more progress. It would be great if we got all three rooms finished by next week when difficult child 1 leaves for camp! :peaceful:
  2. Star*

    Star* call 911

    This may get a little expensive - but I'm a professional organizer.....(no seriously)

    I'm not only a good looking donkey I'm organized too. Mmmmmmmh.

    Get each of the boys 5 cheap dollar store laundry baskets. Mark each one with a color -

    White, Black, Grey, (red-Orange), Blue, Green, (Yellow-Purple) or if you have school colors that are maroon or whatever you may want to buy a separate basket for that particular color - typically boys don't have a bunch of yellow and purple....or red and orange things unless that's their school colors ---so adjust accordingly

    Now TODAY ----you say - I'm setting the timer and if you can get ALL your clothes separated into the proper baskets before the bell goes off? We will go/do/buy ......XXX (something HUGE) BUT for every article of clothing I find say - stuffed under the bed, in between the wall and the bed, under the dresser, desk, closet - etc? I take off a dollar from XXX or minute from etc.

    Now TOMORROW you say - I'm setting the timer and if you can get all your HARD PLASTIC ITEMS into the proper colored baskets before the bell goes off we will go/do/buy ......XXX

    It's very similar to what you are doing - except you are taking it up a notch. AND the laundry is essentially sorted for you -----you wash, you sort, you fold....and you have THEM - come get and put in the hall and then on day THREE say

    I'm setting the timer - YOU HAVE 20 minutes to properly put away all the laundry - in the WHITE BLACK AND GRAY BASKETS....BONUS POINTS IF YOU DO 1 extra basket or 2 extra baskets or GRAND PRIZE IF STUFF IS HUNG UP and EXTRA EXTRA EXTRA POINTS IF YOU GET DONE OR YOU GET DONE AND YOU HELP EACH OTHER AND BEAT THE CLOCK.

    USE TEAM WORK _ you vacuum while you take out the trash.....and then you put the vacuum up and you dust....

    I used to do this with DUDE and STEVEN and MAN.........I HAD CLEAN ROOMS IN NO TIME. AND SORTED CLOTHES......and I DIDN"T HAVE TO TAKE VALIUM when they were interested in doing it and I never had to get stitches in my feet for stepping on some lame matchbox car part.


    I still have boatloads of laundry baskets.
  3. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    :bow: I bow to you, O Queen of All Things Neat & Tidy! :queen:(Wow, you really CAN do everything!)

    I shall aspire to rise to that level of organization... but hey, baby steps for now! ;)
  4. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Gvcmom-I like the idea of chunking like that!

    Star-Wow-you are amazing!
  5. Star*

    Star* call 911

    I want a waffle and a donkey.......
  6. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    So ixnay on the ogurtyay and the urfboardsay?

    Aren't you worried donkey will eat all your waffle?
  7. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    If it's a talking donkey that sounds like Eddie Murphy, yes, it WILL eat the waffle.

    I find that Jett requires far more direction than color coding... Sigh. For a while, in the laundry room, I had 5 baskets with signs above them. Jeans, dark colors, light colors, whites, and towels & sheets. I went through the sorting with Jett multiple times before letting him loose. And still, STILL - jeans in the whites, light colors in the darks, and so on. We went over it again. I finally gave up... Especially since I could never get my baskets BACK, later. Now each person has their own basket. Everyone is responsible for their own laundry (husband and I have a common hamper, so I do his - but he has chores I don't do, so it works). If it is left in the washer and smells? Too bad. If it's left in the dryer and someone needs to use it? IF their basket is downstairs, we'll put it in the basket. Otherwise it goes on the floor. We were putting it on top of the dryer, but it would fall over behind after the first half load... And we couldn't get to the controls.

    I've also instituted a "remember it" policy. If you do not do your chores OR have to be reminded, you don't get your allowance. Period. The list is front and center on the fridge, right at Jett's eye level. Surprisingly, Onyxx has not forgotten ONCE - and Jett sometimes will see her doing her chores and that's a kind of poke. Mostly, though, he doesn't do them. As I mentioned to all - I don't have to be reminded to go to work every day!
  8. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    When difficult child was around 8 or thereabouts, I learned the only way to 'help' her get any chore done was to time is short and break it up into chunks. We've chunked chores for years! If I said, "Okay, go in your rooms and after you're done cleaning them up, we can go do ____________" and it never failed - a meltdown would occur and the entire day's plans would be ruined!

    I had to lower my expectations, re-direct, re-direct, and re-direct some more, break up the chores, assign the chores, and most of all - ORGANIZE myself so I could better help them to organize their chores. They each always had their own 'junk' box, laundry basket and toy box. It helped - it wasn't like magic, but it definitely helped. And I also labeled each box/basket clearly.

    I rarely have to leave lists anymore when my little women are home and I'm not. They KNOW what is expected of them! There remains some evidence in every room they were in but it's not so bad. And what's funny, is that they argue over who did more and which chore now. Amazing.
  9. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    kt & I do this (since husband & wm aren't here) all the time. Our time is broken down AND we put on music that we both agree on as loud as I can tolerate & dance & sing while we clean. It makes the matter a great deal more fun.

    keeping fingers crossed, chicken lady, that this endeavor in organization continues....I hate clutter.
  10. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Wellllll... husband worked from home today and all bets were off. He is, afterall, my oldest difficult child!

    He decided that TODAY was the day that our 75 gal aquarium in our front room and the pond on our deck BOTH needed to be emptied and cleaned. I stayed out of this project. He had the kids help. Sort of. Started with the pond. Had the boys help scoop the mosquito fish out and put them in a bucket with old pond water to sit so they could scrub the algae out. Put the big water turtle in our tub. Got all the water drained out into the yard, then lowered the plastic pond down onto the grass so it could be scrubbed out. Then he decided we would take a lunch break and go out for lunch.

    We came back and I left again and took easy child to the store. By the time she and I returned, there was aquarium gravel on my front porch, there was mud that had overflowed onto the walkway where husband had mistakenly tried to dump the old aquarium water. There was a bucket of dirty water with goldfish in it on my rug, with wet towels all around. And the fish that were upstairs on the deck were DEAD because they'd been left in the hot sun!

    But I was good. I kept my mouth shut and stayed out of it.

    This turned into an all-day project and it STILL isn't finished. The pond got put back together and refilled. But the aquarium is not completely finished. There's still gravel on the front porch. And husband goes back into the office tomorrow and I refuse to finish this mess. The kids can do it tomorrow. I am NOT getting sucked into this one!