I was tired of getting to 3 pm and realizing how much had been let go. Kids still in pjs, teeth not getting brushed, rooms a mess and so on. We then scramble around to get hair brushed and clothes on so we can get out the door for our evening activities. This year I decided to find a way to change that, thus this article about How to Create a Morning Routine and Chore Chart.
Earlier this year I read and reviewed a book called, The Secrets of Happy Families by Bruce Feiler. One of the many things I took away from Bruce’s book is something he called, “The Agile Family Manifesto – A 21st Century Plan to Reduce Chaos and Increase Happiness.” This system would adapt things from a workplace setting to work inside the home. He talks about being trapped between the sunshiny household you aspire to and the exhausting, earsplitting one you actually live in, especially the first hour in the morning and the hour before bed (in our house you can add in the hour of dinner before needing to rush out of the house).
To solve this problem Bruce talks about a family who turned to something called, “agile development”, a cutting-edge program that was being used in the husband’s workplace. Agile development is a system of group dynamics in which workers are organized into small team, with each one huddling in the morning and for a longer period at the end of the week to talk about how it is functioning. To use it in the home you might call them family meetings and they are meant to increase communication, improve productivity, and lower stress, all in under 20 minutes.
This system also includes a form of a flow chart that hangs on the wall to regulate information. I used this theory to create both a Morning Routine for my children, and a Daily Chore Chart.
“Having large, highly visible displays lets everyone on the team track everyone else’s progress.”
To start our organization system I needed to get our mornings under control. I created a Morning Routine section for our white board. I included things I wanted them to accomplish in the morning, and put them in an order that seemed most efficient.
They each need to complete these tasks before moving on to the next part of the chart on the white board. Therefore beside each one of these things are columns for each child. When they complete a task they mark that day of the week in their box with M for Monday, T for Tuesday and so on.
Once the Morning Routine is complete they can move on to their School Assignment Sheet (You can see how I create these in How to Organize Your Year with Homeschool Tracker). These contain everything they need to complete for each day. I print one at the beginning of each week for my younger two. My teen is responsible for setting up her own planner schedule each week. (You can see more of this in Time Management for Teens)
To create a chore chart system I recycled our alphabet magnets and created a symbol system.
Chore Chart Symbols:
S – Shea (the dog our teen is paid to care for)
F – Feed Dogs (our 8 year old is tasked with this every day)
W – Wipe Down (for our teen this usually means toilets, for our 11 year old it means mop the floor or dust some of the furniture, for our 8 year old it is bathroom counters, and mirror, or Pledgeing kitchen table)
D – Dishes (any of the kids on any given day – they do breakfast and lunch dishes which includes any in the sink, on the counter, dish drainer or dishwasher as well as cleaning the counter and stovetop)
P – Pick-Up (if there is a room, project or area that needs cleaning)
V – Vacuum (our teen does carpeting and sometimes our vehicles, and our 11 year old the hard wood floors)
L – Laundry (anything from gathering to take down, helping fold, or put away their own)
I will often put up a letter and then write a word underneath it to clarify what I want done. For instance my teen might have the V for vacuum with the word truck under it. This tells her to vacuum the truck. If they are unsure they just ask what I would like wiped down, or what laundry needs to be done, etc.
These are the ways that we have created a routine and flow to our days. When the kids have completed their Morning Routines they are cleared to go on to School Assignments. When they complete their School Assignments they move on to their chores. Only when all of these things are complete are they free to move on to their own leisure time. This has eliminated the questions about if they are done, and has greatly relieved some of the work load around the house for me.
Creating a highly visible Morning Routine and Chore Chart System has made it easier for all of us to know what is completed and what has yet to be finished each day. The Chore Chart is adjustable so that each night I can asses what has been done, and where work needs to be done and assign chores accordingly for the following day.
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