You guys! How are you all doing!? What a crazy turn of events. I celebrated my birthday a week ago last Wednesday (had a great day with family and friends) and then on Thursday it felt like the world flipped upside down. I hope you’re all safe and healthy and are surviving our recent events. You have all been in my thoughts and prayers this week. This is such a unique time with a lot of uncertainty and at our house we are just taking it one day at a time! I took a couple of days off of my computer and social media to just be with my family and get some things set up at home over the weekend. I felt like I needed to be fully present with my kids. Kids watch their parents to see how to respond to stressful situations like this so I’m trying to stay calm and carry on! What we are all going through is hard and my heart breaks for those who are really struggling right now. We will all face challenges in the upcoming weeks, but I’m trying to focus on the upside to this situation. I often struggle with how busy we are in general so I’m using this time to recenter, regroup and enjoy a slower pace! Less rush and more time for family. I’m also looking forward to more time for home projects! When everything started shutting down a few days ago I sent my family a text to lighten the mood and said “so let me get this straight.. I’m supposed to stock up on favorite foods, stop driving my kids to 10 million activities and just stay home in my pjs where I can decorate and organize all day? I’m going to be living my best life!” Ha. Always a sliver lining. ;)
A big challenge a lot of us are facing is having our kids out of school (for who knows how long!). Because of that I thought it would be a good time to share my Zone chore system with you all! I often get asked how I keep my house so clean and while it certainly isn’t always clean, we have definitely learned how to stay on top of the basics. I credit that to our routines! I have a cleaning routine and so do my kids and our routines are how we keep the house looking mostly clean most of the time. :)
I’ll share more on my cleaning routine soon. My zone cleaning routine is how I make sure my kids are helping. They have always had to pitch in with chores, but I started this particular system with my kids right after the holidays in January and it has been working so well for us! (Pic from January of Kole working in the mudroom.) I was going to share this earlier in the year, but I wanted a printable for you all that you could type on and customize to meet your own needs and I wasn’t sure how to do that. I enjoy the tech side of blogging about as much as I love cooking a casserole. ;) A good friend helped me out so now I have a printable for you that I hope you LOVE!
This printable is pretty easy and straightforward. I type in the things my kids are responsible for daily and they check items off each day when they’re done. I usually don’t have “exercise” on this list, but added that this week because now that my kids aren’t in school and doing extra curricular activities I want to make sure they are getting outside for some fresh air and exercise. We’ve had a lot of rain lately so the treadmill has been a backup!
My kids’ daily items are all the same other than one item for each child. Kole is in change of trash, Ellie is in charge of folding and putting away all towels and Addison is in charge of helping me with Kole. She has become a little tutor for him with his saxophone practice, play practice and homework. So helpful!
One item on their daily list is to clean their ZONE. You can set this up however you want! I picked the main hotspots in our home that are often messy (kitchen, mudroom, family room, and office). I wanted 3 zones so that my 3 kids could rotate them each week, but you could put 2 kids on one zone a week OR they could all do all the zones.. however it works for your family! I put our family room and office together as one zone because those two areas don’t usually take as long to clean.
My kids know what they need to do in each zone but this printable helps as a good reminder! They each have one zone (area) that they are responsible for all week. When they were in school they would just clean their zone once in the afternoon when they had time. Now that we are home more I’ll have them help me keep that space clean throughout the day. Some things only need to be done once a week (like vacuuming the family room rug) so I let my kids pick what day during their week they want to do that. Part of cleaning our office is organizing their wall file once a week and part of cleaning the mudroom is organizing their own locker. They also vacuum out all of the shoe drawers once a week. (That’s what Kole was doing in the picture above!) It has been so nice to have those things done weekly and now their own mudroom lockers get cleaned out every 3 weeks so I don’t have to do a huge clean out as often!
I also give my kids an allowance each week for helping with all of this. Obviously it’s totally up to you how you handle that with your kids! For years I didn’t pay my kids for helping out around the house. They have always had to pitch in and help just to help but I felt like I needed to start doing an allowance system last year because my teen girls were constantly asking for money to “see a show with friends, go to the mall, get nails done, etc.” I wanted them to learn the value of money and to have to prioritize what was most important. It has been a really good thing! They are much quicker to spend my money vs. spending their own. ;)
I hope that all made sense! If you have any other questions ask me in the comments! You can get your own Zone Chore Chart HERE. When you download it it will come as a blank PDF like the sheet above that you can type on and totally customize! It will also come with a set of instructions that will help if you have any problems getting it to work. You might have to download the fonts I used, but I promise it’s not too tricky. If I can do it anyone can do it. ;) You can also just have your kids fill it out with a pen if that’s easier!
If the zone cleaning chart is a little too much for your kids you might want to consider using my Daily Expectation chart! I have one version with a behavior/reward section for little kids and one for older kids that is just a list of tasks. It comes in this fun color copy or in black and white. We use these every summer and love them! Well.. I love them. Whenever I pull my charts out I get a few eye rolls and Ellie usually mutters “tragic” under her breath, but then they get over it and get their chores done. So like I said.. I love them! ;)
I have other printables in my library that also might help during this time. If you are craving some structure and want to make a loose daily schedule with your kids I have lots of options!
I also have fun calendar pages for each month this year. You can use them so many different ways. Maybe write a fun activity to do together each day. Let the kids come up with fun ideas and write them all down and that in itself should kill a little time! ;)
I have monthly to-do pages too and I’m going to have Kole use one of these to list fun activities he can do when he’s bored. No doubt we’ll be referring to that list often!
Now that the kids are back on track what about a way to help us adults get through this!? I know for me I’ll be using the extra time at home to chip away at projects around the house. My Current Projects printable is a great resource to help break large projects down into smaller steps!
I shared this Home Projects printable at the beginning of the year and love the way it helps me focus on a few things I want to do to each space.
I’ve slowly been chipping away at this list and need to cross a few things off and add some new things I want to tackle!
Looks like now I’m going to have some extra time on my hands to do just that. ;)
I hope these printables are helpful to you! If you use one and love it share it on IG and tag me.. I’d love to see how you are using them!
(If you are already a Sunny Side Up subscriber just enter your info. again to get the printables.. it won’t add you twice! Also, if you sign up and don’t get an e-mail soon after check your junk mail! Once in a while it lands there first.)
I’ll be back soon with some organization progress! Organizing has always been a stress reliever for me and it’s a passion I’m especially grateful for right now. No doubt it is what will single handily keep me sane during this crisis. Hang in there and may the force be with us all!
*Sorry.. Star Wars has been on repeat around here. Gearing up for a long month. ;)