15 Minutes of Service

I have teenagers living in my house. They are busy. They don’t have free time, so they say. I want them to help with housework and contributing to the family workload, but having scheduled chores doesn’t work for us when they have to get up early to leave for school at 7:15 am and they are hungry and tired when they come home from school and have after school activities and homework to manage, in addition to finding time to get to sleep at a decent hour.  I might be making excuses for them, but I truly believe that they have a lot to manage on their own, yet I still want them to help out and contribute.   How? How can I make this work?

We tried chore charts and we tried allowances, but these didn’t work due to luck and timing.

I came up with a new method that is working, although they did grouse a bit at first.  I think it is important for everyone to contribute to keeping the household running, clean and organized.  I don’t think one person should be responsible for it all. And when everyone pitches in, just a little bit, I feel happy.  And if the mama is happy, everyone is happy.

I used to subscribe to the FLY LADY, who taught me that we could do anything for 15 minutes. She used to tell me to set a timer for 15 minutes and pick a project and go for it! Spend the 15 minutes focused and working on one area. And every day she’d give you a new task or idea and to encourage me to set my timer. This worked!!  I was amazed and impressed and in awe. When you break tasks into smaller, more manageable tasks, they’re not so overwhelming and amazingly, stuff gets done that you never thought you’d have time for. 15 minutes can be squeezed in without feeling like it’s taking over our schedule.

So I’m practicing this with my kids. I am asking them to give me 15 minutes of service. For some reason, this seems doable and less daunting. And if they have 15 minutes to check their social media accounts, and to make food, or sit on the couch, etc, they have 15 minutes to contribute. This is not hard and it’s not too much to ask.

I am asking them to choose how they would like to be of service, and they are coming up with ideas which I love. If they can’t think of what to do, I give them suggestions of what needs to be done and they can choose. They are empowered and there isn’t a battle using this method, at least for this week.

Yesterday, Christian swept and mopped the floor. Juliana cleaned up both bathrooms. Charlie helped declutter his room and to declutter the house by putting shoes and jackets away.  Our house looks so much better and it didn’t take much effort!  I am so happy. I think they are happy too because they were industrious and gave and helped contribute to the household, which I believes makes them feel good about themselves too. Everyone has to do their part and I love that I am not the nag anymore.  I hope it lasts!!

How does your family manage and divvy up the chores? Do you have a method that works? Do share.  Or try this way and let me know how it works for you.


3 thoughts on “15 Minutes of Service

    • Thank you. I love it too because they can choose when and what and how and feel a sense of control and giving before they go to bed. Instead of a duty it becomes a service opportunity and if they say they’re too busy, then I’m all of a sudden too busy to drive them to wherever, the kitchen closes and oh my… they miraculously see the connection and find the time. Miracles do happen. 😉

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