I visited my son at college last weekend. A sophomore in off-campus housing, he’d been complaining about the standards of cleanliness among his roommates (in his view, the standards are quite low.)
For the first time in my son’s life, there is no one other than the 4 guys who live there to clean up the messes, dishes, or bathrooms. No campus cleaning service. No parents. No housekeepers. Not even a Roomba.
He told me that he convened the group for a “family meeting” to discuss the issue. Their solution: a chore chart. The chores included:
- do the dishes
- clean bathroom
- wipe & sweep kitchen
- pick up & vacuum common living quarters.
Each roommate owns one chore for one week. Then it rotates.
They’ve been using it for a few weeks now and my son reports that while he does not enjoy bathroom duty, the apartment is much cleaner and there is more harmony in the air!
If you have taken a Positive Discipline class with me (or anyone else), you are likely familiar with family meetings and job charts. We’ve been using both in our home since my son was around 7 years old.
I always say that Positive Discipline is all about the long term. (Read more about long-term parenting here) And the long term is here now, for at least one of my kids. How fun it was for me to hear how he’s implementing Positive Discipline (even if he doesn’t call it that) in his own home now!
Full disclosure: I was not allowed into the apartment because, my son said, “even though it’s a lot cleaner than before, it’s still disgusting.”
Fortunately, I also always say that “Positive Discipline is a practice, not a perfect…and practice makes better.” Little by little, my son and I (in our own ways) are taking small steps to grow into the adult we hope to be.
P.S. The job chart pictured in this article is one that’s been on my own wall for around a decade; my son didn’t want me to share his because he said it wan’t neat enough. Sigh!
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Looking for inspiration? A few more examples of chore charts/wheels are below.