It’s a new year and with it always comes the desire to make changes. Last year in January, I came up with a scheduling system for our family. It includes a household chores chart, homeschooling chart, and I have just added a weekly food chart to start giving us so more variety in our diets. The initial challenge I gave myself was called 40 days of Togetherness.
I wrote this in my journal to inspire me in this challenge last year:
Diligence requires more of us than our bodies and egos desire. It requires us to restrain ourselves from too much leisure. We must go about our days seeking to be, and do life with those closest to us, not go to our own corners. Take the time to clean together, learn together, eat together, nap together. Be together; make memories together.
As much as is in your power from Hashem, you must do this. You can do this. You will do this and not put off your life any longer. For this is your life. This is what you’ve been called to; there is no higher calling. You have been blessed with the beautiful gift of motherhood; don’t shrug off so great a task as has been set before you. You are special, you are capable, you will conquer and nurture this part of you, and you will reach your full potential in the process. This is the soul stretching your vessel has been longing for.
40 days of Togetherness was an experiment to see how much I could let go of control over all my household responsibilities and begin to teach and delegate tasks to my children. We have three little ones ranging from five to nine, and I have been wanting to get them more involved in the running of our home and to teach them basic skills that will give them more independence and a greater sense of accomplishment in their daily lives.
Here’s the challenge.
- Make it a daily intention to do all the household chores with your children. Resist the urge to rush through each task. They will need extra time and attention while they are learning to do new things.
- Delegate chores according to their age and ability, and adjust the schedule as they gain proficiency in a task. This is a hard one for me, though I am working on it. I have been doing household chores so long, that I struggle with consistently don’t jump in and just do it myself.
- Be available. This is, perhaps, going to be a little more difficult for some. When I began this challenge, I actually had to deactivate my FB account (and subsequently, closed it all together shortly thereafter). Another thing I had to do was ask friends and family who called before our schoolwork and chores were done if I could call them back later. Being available, allowed my children to feel more loved, more important. And as a side effect, became more well-behaved.
- Remember the magic words. Say please, thank you, and you’re welcome to your helpers. Modeling respect is just as important as reminding your children to say the magic words. Be especially intentional in saying thank you for their help through out the day. We all appreciate praise.
By the end of this challenge, you will hopefully have gained more:
- delight through diligence
- presence of mind
- mutual respect
Below, I am sharing the charts that we use in our home. These are by no means perfect, and may not work for everyone. The main thing is to either find one or if you have the time and ability, make your own. Each family is different and everyone organizes in slightly different ways. Feel free to download mine, and change it to suit your own needs. (Click on the image to download the Excel spreadsheets. There are tabs at the bottom of the spreadsheet labeled “Chores”, “School”, and “Food”.)
*One final thought* When I initially started this challenge last year, I began it on a Wednesday. I didn’t try to catch up with all the chores from the previous days, I just started with what was listed for Wednesday. If you only do what is required for each day, within a week or two, you will hopefully have gotten caught up.
If you decide to try the 40 days of Togetherness Challenge, I hope you’ll let me know how it goes, but more than that, I pray that it will produce good fruit in your life and the life of your family.
Many Blessings and Shalom,