The chore list.
It’s the worst.
I hate making it; my kids hate seeing it.
For weekend chore lists, I am home to supervise that they are getting done and to make sure distractions are not luring them away. Now, they are old enough to be home for a decent chunk of time on days they are off school but I still have to go to work.
On these days, I have been leaving detailed chore lists. Kid A, B, and C each have to do chores 1, 2, and 3.
And here’s the key: The wi-fi doesn’t get turned on until everyone is done!
Inevitably, I get calls about who isn’t doing what and reporting what injustice has been done. I come home to different, bigger messes and cranky kids, resulting in a cranky mom.
On the most recent day off school, I was sitting down to start jotting the list when inspiration struck before I even brewed my coffee!
I’m not just excited about the idea; I mean literally—BINGO. I made a 5×5 grid and started filling it in with a combination of chores to be done and fun, off-line activities. I left directions to complete a BINGO, send me pictures of the action, and the prize is that I would turn on the beloved wi-fi. My intent was that they would work together to do 5 things from the list, and I’d be satisfied.
I’d love to say that this worked like a total charm. and I arrived home to a beautifully clean and tidy house with smiling children lovingly playing together. But I am not a liar.
However, I did arrive home to a semi-cleaned-up house, and I did not receive tearful or shouty calls during the day from any ticked-off daughters. Also, since I hadn’t TOLD them they needed just one BINGO altogether, the girls thought they each had to get one. So although the chores weren’t quite all up to my standard, there were more things worked on than I originally intended.
I’m going to call it a win. I am certain that there will be more chore BINGO in the future!
Tips for creating your own BINGO Chore card:
- Put at least one “fun” activity in each row. I included things like coloring, board games, and a dance party. I also put in reading for 30 minutes and doing a workout activity.
- Make the center square something that MUST be completed. I didn’t think of that in my pre-coffee fog and let it be a FREE space. Rookie mistake.
- Go ahead and repeat the chores you really want to be done, and put them in places where they can’t intersect. In my case, the dishes had to be done. That task appears 3 times on the board.
- Mix up the light chores with the heavier tasks. You want to make sure the kids can’t find an easy row and you end up coming home to lots of big jobs left to do. And you probably also shouldn’t leave just huge tasks that will seem overwhelming.
- Dangle whatever bait you need to for the stuff to get done. Wi-fi and TV time are big draws in my house. Maybe it’s an allowance, having a friend over, or going out for dinner that will motivate your minions . . . I mean, darling children.
- Don’t expect everything to get done. This may not be a Type-A person’s favorite way to get the house cleaned up. I just wanted my kids to do SOMETHING to help out while they were home and make it appealing for them to do.