(Last week I posted about our Morning School Routine and my friend asked about what we do on Saturdays too. So I told her I would share our Saturday system.)
My sister’s philosophy is “If your kids don’t hate you and their life for a few hours every Saturday morning, then you aren’t working them hard enough.” I am sure this comes from our childhood where we grew up hating our parents any given Saturday. We pulled out junipers, laid sod, roofed our house, spread bark chips, cleaned out closets, etc. But now my siblings and I are all hardworking, independent adults who aren’t afraid to get our hands dirty. In fact, If I had to pick any group to work on a project with me, it would be my family. We know how to git er done. And I think it was because of our Saturday chores and diligent parents who didn’t care if we liked them or not.
My Saturday chore system is very informal and flexible but it works for my family. First we start with a dance party. We crank the music and jam to a favorite song. For awhile our song of choice was Taio Cruz’s “Dynamite”. But now I am hooked on Lada Gaga’s “Edge of Glory“.
Now that we are in the mood to move, we start chores.
I write down what I want each kid to do on a post-it note. They each have their own list and they cross of their chores as they finish them. For some reason they have to cross off with Sharpies. (I wouldn’t recommend this habit.) Sometimes I have been known to start generating these lists on Friday as I see what will need to be done.
Saturday chores are usually different than their regular summer or school chores. There are fewer chores, but they are more intense. Their chores may be pick tomatoes, clean the playroom, empty garbages, dead head flowers or clean the bathrooms. Anything that helps are home look nicer, feel better, and be more organized can be assigned. The individual chores are based on their age and abilities and interests.
Here is Crew airing out sleeping bags after a camping trip:
Elle is tending to her flowers:
Croft is weeding the back hill:
And here is Locke’s contribution (while the rest of us are working hard, he is hardly working):
In addition to individual chores, sometimes we have a family project that we all work on together like clean out the car, organize the storage area or weed the garden.
Since we have been doing Saturday chores for many years now, the kids know what to expect. Consistency does help (a little) with complaining. And the only rule is you don’t play with friends until your chores are done. Usually this is enough motivation to get them going.
Now Saturday morning chores don’t always happen Saturday morning. Sometimes we work hard as a family Friday after school if we have a fun Saturday planned or if we have games or responsibilities Saturday morning, we do chores Saturday afternoon. This week we actually worked hard last night getting the yard in shape. Any day will do as long as the kids and parents are working together to make the home a better place.
Work ethic is the second most important attribute I want my kids to develop, so I am willing to have my kids hate me and their life for a few hours every Saturday morning as we work on Saturday chores.