Saturday, June 21, 2008

This weeks question...

"One more thing: Enjoyed the towel plan. Read an article about large families and dirty dishes (family fun magazine). This mom's solution was to pack away all dishes, buy dollar tree clear glass plates, paint names on plates, everyone has one dish (large flat bottom bowl) and washes their own. No more dishwasher. Can't eat if your plate is dirty. Downside was washing dish between courses (dinner, dessert, soup or salad) So here's my Saturday request: how do you handle dishes?"

Well, I have to say that while we were experiencing drainage problems, we were using disposable dishes as much as possible because washing the dishes had become an excruciating chore with whoever was on dishes having to constantly check the level of water in the pail below. More often than not - we experienced an overflow due to the level of water sneaking up on us. Thankfully this is no longer a problem!

I have to admit that the chore of washing the dishes has been a thorn in our family's side for some time. This was due to the tendency of the child on duty for the day ultimately leaving a few dishes behind. This was also my fault. By the end of the day and supper chores time, I am usually quite beat and often do not double check the kitchen so as to ensure that not only all chores have been completed - but have been done thoroughly. This would result in arguments the following day...
Finally the children themselves came up with a solution. They suggested that we make the chores permanent and not constantly revolving. As I mentioned in a previous post, I did not like the idea of the chores being permanent. I want children to experience a variety of chores and then there is the reality that some chores are easier than others. So I compromised and came up with a 3 month revolving list as opposed to a daily revolving list. This semi permanency of the chores has completely eliminated the constant bickering that not properly done or incomplete chores had been causing. I am also finding that children are taking more pride in the areas assigned to them. I imagine because it is evident to themselves they have not done a good job and also realize it is evident to the whole family that, for example, the living room is not swept well - because they did not sweep it well. It has also made it infinitely easier for me to keep track of who is responsible for which chore - which also makes it easier to crack down on sloppy work.

Over all I am happy with this solution and wish we had come up with it sooner. We have tried many ways of encouraging chores to be done well and consistently and this has by far been our best solution.

Thanks for the question Peg! I hope you, and the other readers, enjoyed the response, as well as found it helpful.

Be sure to submit a question you might have about the challenges of parenting a large family - or parenting in general. You can leave it in the comment section or email it directly to me.

Oh, as to the lady who decided to buy one plate and cup per child, I have to wonder what happens if a dish breaks? Did she have some put away as back up or does the kid have to wait and borrow another child's dish until the mum found another dollar dish that would suffice as a bowl/plate. Her idea is quite unique but I know dish breakage would be a definite challenge for us!
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