The Everyday Family Chore System: Practical Ideas for Busy Families {Review}

Having a clean home is one of those things that is a must for me. Now don't get me wrong, my house isn't a museum by any means, but I do like to keep things nice and tidy on a day to day basis. It just relaxes my mind when I can look around and see the house nice and clean and clutter free. The latter is what makes me the most frazzled–everything has to have a set place. I don't necessarily have a specific system, since I do like to try different things. My regular obsession with keeping a tight ship is just one of those things that I have been accustomed to doing on a whim. Having said that, I do enjoy hearing new tips and tricks from others who may or may not be doing things differently than me. That's why I was so eager to read The Everyday Family Chore System from Everyday Homemaking.

My son is now at an age where he helps me with some basic housekeeping tasks and actually enjoys it. I like to keep things fun by making a game of it, and we sometimes use little visuals to help us get going. My ultimate goal is to instill a sense of responsibility and servitude in him while he's still quite young, so that he can develop an eager heart and a positive attitude when it comes to helping out and tending to his responsibilities as they come up. This will also help him as he eventually enters adulthood, allowing him to be reliable and self-sufficient.

Please excuse the sticky tabs in the photo, above. There are several pages and helpful resources that I particularly like referencing back to when need be. 

Vicki Bentley, creator of The Everyday Family Chore System, doesn't just start her book with a list of dos and don'ts for cleaning. In fact, it isn't like that at all. The first section of the book goes into building a foundation where our children are trained in successful home management. This pretty much goes along with my own goals. The system offers a Christian point of view, which I really appreciate. It reminds parents that we need to model our own behavior with the Lord in the same way that we'd like for our children to act towards us:

  • Submitting to authority without rebellion
  • Apologizing when need be
  • Proceeding with things without complaining
  • Continuously working on skills and character

She also goes into detail about these four basic principles in order for a strong foundation to be built upon:

  • Have realistic and age-appropriate expectations.
  • Establish rules or standards.
  • Have a working knowledge of family disciple.
  • Tie strings to their hearts.

Even when I get a little curious at what others are doing to keep their household in tip top shape, it can sometimes be difficult for me to even take advice from others, which is why I enjoyed and even got a good chuckle at the title of the first chapter, Who is this woman, and why is she telling me this? Of course, after reading that Vicki has been a mother for twenty-five years, having raised eight children of her own, as well as almost fifty foster children, it is pretty evident that she is going to have some good pearls of wisdom to share.

The last two sections of the book are where the system actually takes place:

Part Two: Implementing the Plan, details basic ideas and concepts in what worked for her family and what may work in yours. This section comes complete with all kinds of sample checklists like What is a Tidy Room, These things should be done before school, and even How to Do Laundry. These are some basic guidelines that offer a good base to start with in creating my own lists.

One of the more noteworthy systems that's included in the book is a Job Label system, which lists a variety of different cleaning tasks, as well as blank labels that can be filled out for chores that are not already included. Vicki offers a variety of different methods in which these can be used, for instance, you could glue magnets to them and placing them next to family member's names on a magnetic "Family Jobs" board. Each week the jobs gets rotated, so everyone gets a turn on a specific task. Another tool, which I personally think is fabulous, is her How-To-Do-It Cards that offer step-by-step instructions on how to complete specific household tasks, right down to which cleaning tool or cleanser to use. There's even a reminder to put those cleansers/cleaning tools away. These can be printed on 3x5 index cards and a lot of them are already completed with detailed directions. Of course, the book conveniently contains blank templates so that you can also create your own. Why do I love this idea? Well, with my type A personality, I do have a certain way that I like things done. The cards helps alleviate the need to explain how a task should be completed, since all the instructions are right there on the card.

The last part of the book includes the actual tools and resources that can be used in the system. These include the How-To-Do-It Cards and Job Labels, which are all one-sided, so they can either be photocopied or used right from the book. Since this is a system that we may be tweaking from time to time, I prefer and definitely recommend the photocopy method in order to preserve the original prints. Of course this system is also sold as a digital copy, which will conveniently allow you to print to your heart's desire. 

The Life Skills Checklist is another handy resource that offers a generalized suggestion on age-appropriate tasks from as early as two years old through the teenage years:

One of the things that I really like about The Everyday Family Chore System is that is isn't advising you to do one specific thing. Since everyone's situation is different, there are some things that may work better than others. The key is to find the system that works best for your own family. Some cleaning tasks may be done on a daily or weekly basis, while others are on a monthly schedule.

Since my son is still quite young and really just starting to understand the concept of chores and responsibility, we use a variety of different systems that appeal to his specific age. He helps me with dusting, wiping down tables, making the beds, and cleaning the mirrors, etc. Of course other tasks like putting away his toys and books, or even just throwing his clothes in the hamper is a given. I think it's safe to say that we're are off to a nice start. While there were some systems in The Everyday Family Chore System that seemed more so geared towards families with multiple children who were a little bit older, there were other methods and ideas that could possibly work for us in a year or two. I did, however, find several concepts from the book that I was able to adapt in our home, like the handy (no pun intended) finger system, shown below, to remind my son of his mornings tasks, which we've been reviewing together each day.

The sample on the left is from the book. I was able to find a template that I edited and added text to (on the right). We then printed off the completed finger chart, glued it onto a piece of blue construction paper, and hung it on the fridge. 

Along with the finger system from the book, we also use this picture chart, which I've previously shared on my blog. This helps my little one remember some other important items that he should be doing throughout the day:

Whether you are happy with your current family chore routine or seeking out a new one, The Everyday Family Chore System is definitely one to consider. If anything, there's tons of inspiration included in this book, not to mention plenty of handy tools and resources to help you get started. I also have to reiterate that I really appreciate how the author doesn't just dive right into the housekeeping aspect, but instead offers the entire first section as a guide to talk about positive character building. I personally feel that this is the cornerstone for all that comes next in life.

Right now, Everyday Homemaking is having a special promotion where you can grab 10% off your order of the Everyday Family Chore System and/or Everyday Cooking (print or e-book) through September 5, 2017! Simply enter promo code TOS10books at checkout to receive the discount. 

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