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A Curious Case of Multiple Hat Disorder

Popsicle Sticks aka Chores

Popsicle Sticks aka Chores

Everyday, after our afternoon snack, I look at AB and say, “Anna…Popsicle Sticks” and she hops into motion. It is my creative attempt to make chores fun, teach AB the value of team work, being part of a family, how money works, and most importantly…getting the house tidy before daycare parents start to arrive to pick up and before Dustin gets home from work. We try to start around 3:30 and on a great day it takes about 30 minutes.

I have a glass that has 14 popsicle sticks in it. Each one is labeled with a chore. She pulls one out, one at a time. Together we do whatever is written on that stick and then we move on to the next. After we finish the last one, I line them all up on the floor and pull out my change. She gets 3 pennies per popsicle stick. Yes, I know you can do the math. I pay my 4 year old $.42 to help me tidy the house and it only takes 30 minutes.

I tried the whole flylady system and it wasn’t for me. But I did take some nuggets away and one was that my house will never be more than 15 minutes away from “company ready”. And even though it takes us 30 minutes to finish, I would be ok with someone popping their head in 15 minutes into the process.

So here is what is written on the sticks:

Dishes/Trash – this is the one we do first. All the others are chosen at random but I think this one has the most impact and I try to get it done before LMNOP parents arrive. As you can imagine with 7 children in my home, we create quite a load of dishes from breakfast, lunch and snack time. AB empties the dishwasher, I load it. She brings me the small trash cans from the bedrooms while I take out the kitchen trash and well, there’s no way around it…the foul diaper trash. (I told you my job is not luxurious). The popsicle stick is finished up by having AB put a new bag in the kitchen trash can. How cool is that? I love that she can help. All total, this stick usually takes 6 minutes.

Family Room – its nothing more than putting toys in the cabinets. I try to get LMNOP to help with that one while AB and I are doing other chores. If AB and I had to do it by ourselves, it would probably take us 3 minutes but we do not calculate this one into our total since we get the other kids to do it.

Sun Room – tidy it up, put LMNOP Sleeping mats away and straightening shoes by the back door. All total, this stick takes 2 minutes.

Kitchen – we get out a pack of wipes. AB starts at one end of the kitchen and I start at the other and we meet in the middle. After the dishes and trash is done, there really isn’t much to do in the kitchen. AB also straightens the daycare tables and pushes the chairs in. All total, this stick take s 2 minutes.

Feed Moose – AB checks on Moose’s food and water. We have an automatic feeder and an automatic water-er. It’s just a matter of her running to the laundry room and telling me if they are full or empty. We usually refill it every 5 days so this stick takes less than a minute.

Water Plants – We have 2 plants in our house that I have yet to kill. One thing that has helped is I added this to AB’s chore list and she is faithful! The stick takes a little less than 2 minutes. Sometimes she drinks the water so she has to refill the cup a couple of times before it makes it to the plants.

Lydia’s Room – Surprisingly AB does this one by herself. It takes 1 minute. Lydia would rather play in AB’s room so her room seldom gets messy.

Hall / Bathroom – To pick up the hall it is just a matter of putting any dirty clothes in the hampers we have there and straightening a rug. The bathroom is easy as well, straightening the shower curtain, clearing the sink of any thing that doesn’t belong and straightening the potty training sets and putting them back where they belong. I usually do the bathroom and AB does the hall and we are done in 2 minutes tops.

Dining Room – One of the easiest. Clear the table and wipe the table. I clear it and AB wipes it down. It takes 1 minutes.

Living Room – One of the easiest yet most important. It is the first room that the LMNOP parents see as well as Dustin when he gets home from a long and hard day. It’s just putting toys away. I straighten curtains, pillows and the rug. 2 minutes tops.

Front Entrance – Its putting shoes away, making sure the LMNOP Sign up sheet is there, with a pen, all of the kiddos toys they brought from home are in their bins, and the cabinet I have in there is cleared. Its another 2 minute job.

AB’s Room – depends on what kind of day we had, it could be a 3 minute job or a 20 minute pulling teeth job (I know you know what I mean). If its the 20 minute kid of day, I make her do it last and she goes to her room and knows she can’t see Poppy till its done.

Mommy and Poppy’s room – I put away a Pack N Play from LMNOP, pick up dirty laundry and AB helps me make our bed. 2 minutes is all it takes.

Laundry Room/Basement – It usually looks like cycling a load of laundry or something or putting a box out for recycling. AB knows how to empty the lint catch in the dryer and start the dryer. She loves doing it. Most of the time I don’t even need to do anything. As far as the basement goes,I only do anything if we have company coming or have had company recently. Another 2 minute job.

This has been our most successful system yet. Can’t wait till Lyds is old enough to help too and by then, maybe AB could take over my part. I could put my legs up and sip lemonade. I could, but probably won’t. What memories do I want to have with them, or better yet, what memories do i want them to have of me? A slave driver sipping lemonade screaming “popsicle sticks, popsicle sticks” or us racing each other, trying to beat a timer, or singing our made up song at the top of our lungs…”when the house is clean, when the house is clean, we can do most anything. I will do my part, with a happy heart. When the house is clean, when the house is clean, we can fly, play make believe. I will do my share, show my family my care…when the house is clean”

One Comment

  1. What a great system – do you think it would work on Bill?

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