How To Make Chores Fun
If you’re wasting time having fun, you’re not wasting time.
First order of business: To make business more unbusinesslike!
My business goal this month (which is really my household goal in disguise) is to create an environment that will get my little workers (my kids) to start enjoying their work (their chores) by adding some fun into the mix.
I’ve tried many different theories and failed. This month, I will attempt yet another method to get the family, myself included, more engaged in our chores and get them done; if that’s even remotely possible. But I’m keeping my hopes up. I’m banking on the anything is possible side.
I’m a busy lady. I have a full-time job. When I get home after 8 hours of work and an hour drive and then have to cook for the family, clean up afterwards and write articles for my blog, it gets pretty exhausting on a daily basis. Just having to hear what I just said is already exhausting. I think it’s fair to say that some help around the house isn’t asking for too much. Now that the kids are grown (14 and 15 years old), they can handle more responsibilities.
As a parent, it’s easier said than done. Sometimes, to avoid not having to deal with the constant whining, I turn a blind eye from the mess and the chores not getting done. It’s a small stress relief for the time being. Then of course it becomes a habit (me turning a blind eye) and our house slowly turns into a frat party aftermath. It’s now become a messy and smelly situation.
Part of my New Year’s Resolution is to keep a clutter-free Febreze-smelling home. Since, none of my past experiments worked, I am taking a more creative route. One thing I know I haven’t tried is making chores more fun– for everyone! I have to make it fun for myself as well. Otherwise, I’ll start ditching them. If I start ditching, then the rest will follow. Then we’re back to square one.
So how can I make chores more fun? This is my solution:
1. INDIVIDUAL CHORES
My goal is to create a calendar system that allows the kids to get involved with their schedule.
OLD SYSTEM: In the past, I created a weekly calendar with color coding to easily determine who does what.
The kids check the calendar every week to see what their chores are for the week. The problem with this chart is that the kids don’t look at it unless I ask them to. They either forget or choose to ignore it completely.
NEW SYSTEM: Chores on a stick
Inspired by What’s Up Moms DIY Chore Chart
I love this idea! The kids and I will be making the sticks together. I’ve also added a few ways for us to enjoy every process.
- Create each chore that needs to be done on a stick
- Each member of the family has a specific color stick
- Hassle & Weekly chores are a different color from individual Daily chores
- Chores that need to be done more than once a week, make more sticks for that chore
- Write down who did the chore that week on the stick for Hassle & Weekly chores
- Make a DAILY jar
- Make a WEEKLY jar
- Make a DONE jar
- Make a HASSLE jar (unassigned)
- Everyday, each member will transfer their Chore Stick to the DONE jar
- Whoever doesn’t do a chore will get a HASSLE chore stick assigned to him/her
- Everyone in the family sits and watches while the other finishes the HASSLE chore
- If kids finish all their assigned chores (individual, weekly, and family) they get a chance to give away 1 chore to mommy.
- Make bed in the morning
- Clean room after homework
- Wash dishes immediately after use
- Clean up mess in the house
- Clean bathroom
- Mop kitchen floor
- Throw out the trash
- Clean patio
- Clean refrigerator
- Scrub the walls
- Shampoo the carpet
2. FAMILY CHORES
I’ve concluded the need for family chores is essential, because it also gives me quality time with the kids. After all, a family that cleans together stays together. And my idea of quality time is fun. So I incorporated fun games with our family chores. This eliminates the whining because now I’ve distracted them from thinking about the actual chore. To them, it’s a game.
- My kids have their own rooms which equates to their own dirty laundry.
- We take each of our hampers to the living room and dump all our clothes on one side
- We place our empty hampers in a row on the other side of the room
- Having 3 hampers works out great for our family because
- Hamper #1 is for darks
- Hamper #2 is for lights
- Hamper #3 is for whites
- We race to see who shoots the most clothes in the right hamper
- Winners and losers get a specific task
- First place gets to put the coins in the machines
- Second place gets to carry the detergent to the laundry room
- Third place puts the clothes in the washer
- Fourth place transfers the clothes from the washer to the dryer
- Mommy takes the clothes from the dryer
- We all fold our own clothes in the living room while singing songs or telling stories. Then we put our clothes away.
As much as I would rather grocery shop alone to stay within budget and not have 10 unanticipated items (junk food) thrown in the cart, I have to admit it’s just not the same without the kids. So, my solution to keep the family within budget and maintain the joy in shopping is this:
SHOPPING AT COSTCO
We shop at Costco every other week. For those of you who don’t know what Costco is, shame on you. Just kidding! Costco is life! It’s a big warehouse filled with products that come in bulk, which lasts longer, and way cheaper than buying from Ralph’s. They don’t carry as food many selections as they do in Ralph’s so we still have to go to Ralph’s for other items. And sometimes it just doesn’t make sense to buy some of our groceries in bulk when we only plan to use it once.
The kids always enjoy tagging along, especially during the weekends around 11:30 AM because Costco offers food tasting. They set up little kiosks at the end of each aisle and the kids and I sure do take advantage. I mean come on, free food! We make it a point to stop at every kiosk. Almost all the items they offer are new to us. Then I ask the kids which one they like best and I purchase a pack for us to enjoy at home.
We repeat the process on our next visit (in 2 weeks) and take home a new cuisine. This keeps the kids from indulging in their usual junk foods because they have something new to indulge in. It also keeps me within budget. And from what I observed with my own kids, it takes less than two weeks for them to get over it. By the time this happens, it’s time to go back to Costco. Smiles all around.
3. SEASONAL CHORES
Seasonal chores take more time to accomplish and this is why we do it only once or twice a year. It’s a lot more time consuming and by the end of it all, everyone is burnt out. There’s gotta be an easier way to do this…I couldn’t find one. So I came up with fun activities instead to balance the drudging tasks.
Giving away clothes
My kids are still in the growing phase, which means the clothes I bought them six months ago no longer fit. So every six months I ask them to go through their closets and remove clothes that no longer fit or clothes they no longer like.
My kids have a ton of clothes. Most they received as Christmas and birthday gifts. This year, instead of making more mess, which always tends to happen when we declutter (oh the irony), we’re going to do it the Carrie way…minus the champagne.
Our Spring Cleaning doesn’t always happen in the Spring, but it does only happen once a year. It consists of two things: declutter and reorganize. We get rid of unwanted and no longer useful things and we reorganize what is left. Not a lot of fun in that.
This year, I’ve decided to add Redecorate into the mix, and not in the traditional sense.
I’ve always been inspired by DIY home decor. I watch video after video feeling so inspired to create one, but never do. I guess it’s the thought of being consumed by the time to do all the work myself negates me from doing it. But I don’t have to do it all by myself. That’s the fun of having a family.
Now that the new year is upon us, it’s the perfect time to do some “Spring Cleaning” and explore our creative side.
We would all get together and choose the DIY theme we want to do. For the community areas, which includes the living room, the kitchen, and the guest bathroom, we would agree on a theme we want to incorporate. For example: When we got back from our Hawaii family vacation, we loved it so much we didn’t want to go back home. We were in Hawaii mode for weeks. Our solution was to decorate the house with Hawaii themed items. This year, we’re going Rustic.
Each family member will choose a DIY project they want to do. It can be for their room or anywhere else in the house.
- Bedroom: Individual DIYs
- Community rooms: create with a partner
We don’t throw many parties at home because we have a huge family and a small apartment. One would think that accumulating trash would be a minor detail in a small apartment, but in this case, size doesn’t matter. It’s an unwritten rule that the hosts always cleans up. And it’s just rude to have the guests clean up after themselves. If you start implementing that, you’ll end up with one-man-parties.
Parties are fun. It’s the thought of having to tidy up afterwards that isn’t. That’s when the fun stops. But the party doesn’t have to stop when all the visitors leave. To be able to call the party a success, the party must go on!
Cleaning time aka “The After Party”
- Draw strings or coin toss which teams gets to clean what area
- Turn up the music
- The team to finish first (it has to be spotless) wins
- Losers have to follow dance moves from a music video chosen by the winners
- Winners get to sit back and enjoy the entertainment