Posted by on December 8, 2009  Add comments
Dec 082009

“Time to pick up jurisdictions,” I call.

There is honestly no way I could possibly follow behind five children and keep our home straight. And homeschool. Since we are all part of a family, all should contribute. Carving the big job into smaller parts makes it easier for everyone.

We adopted the jurisdiction habit from the Duggar family several years ago.

Jurisdiction: the territory or sphere of activity over which the legal authority of a court or other institution extends.

Simply translated for our home, a jurisdiction is the area a child is responsible for maintaining. Pick up the toys, keep the area clean. To start with, each child is responsible for his or her own bedroom. Those that share a room share in the duty.

But each child is also in charge of another area of the house. Older ones have a bit more responsibility. Here’s a peek at the way our jurisdiction lines are drawn:

  • eldest girl: bedroom, upstairs shared bath, classroom
  • eldest boy: shared bedroom, downstairs shared bath, family room, his quiet time space
  • middle girl: shared bedroom, music room (her quiet time spot)
  • youngest girl: shared bedroom, her quiet time space
  • youngest boy: putting toys back in bucket after room time

We take time to pick up jurisdictions several times a day: before lunch, after quiet time and before bedtime. A tidy jurisdiction is a prerequisite for a 4 pm computer turn. Usually all that is needed is a five minute room rescue. Make it a game – set the timer and see if you can beat it.

So what happens when someone makes a mess in someone else’s jurisdiction? Either the two share in the work or the one in charge of that area cleans it up. We’ve found this to be an important lesson. Having charge of an area is a responsibility and a learning opportunity.

When a mess is made somebody has to clean it up. Isn’t that true all the way through life?

Jurisdictions are the basic duties. From there we add in those tasks I am willing to pay for. Next up service opportunities (no allowances here!) and Hodgepodgedad‘s computer tallying tool.

  14 Responses to “Jurisdictions”

  1. I love how clear you have made it for each child to know his/her responsibilities. We often struggle with the “he made a mess in my room” issue. I like the idea of looking at it as a learning opportunity!

  2. It sounds awesome!! Everything you suggest does =) I was I was better at sticking to habits and maybe my boys would be =) It’s worth giving it a try though!! Thanks for sharing!!

  3. Great ideas! Yes, we did this, too. I had to learn to delegate to get it all done. It wasn’t natural to me.

    • I agree Cassandra. It wasn’t natural for me either. So much easier to do the job myself.

      But then I got to the point I couldn’t keep up. And at the same time realized that teaching the children to be in charge of an area was all part of homeschooling. An investment with a blessing for all of us 🙂

  4. It’s one of those habits that takes continual practice. Teaching a young one to pick up. Showing an older one how to straighten books to make a shelf look nice.

    Thanks ladies.

  5. We’ve been working on a weekly rotation of “CAPTAIN” duties….Captain Kitchen, Captain Laundry, and Captain TV Room. Obviously laundry is the least favorite but they love the Captain title. They clean their bathroom every Friday and maintain their rooms as needed. So, you don’t do allowances? We’ve gone back and forth on this one. I assume then that if your kids want to buy any toys between birthdays they have to save birthday money or extra jobs. Do they tythe off the extra jobs or at all? There are so many views.

    • Jenny I love your captain duties! How fitting in your home 🙂 Now…service opportunities and tithing is a topic for next week. Check back and see!

  6. Hey Tricia, I just stumbled across your blogs and I love them! thanks for such wonderful information! I have a follow-up question about how you handle it (and how your children handle it!) when child A made a mess in child B’s jurisdiction. Is it case by case? just wondered if you had a magical solution to this or a trick for handling it, as this is our biggest issue. thanks and blessings – I love what you’re doing here!

    • Aha!! You have found on of the biggest character training part of jurisdictions! Of course, ultimately Child A helps the sibling because he/she made the mess. But it is Child B’s jurisdiction. And ultimately Child B’s responsibility. An no, it’s not fair that someone else made the mess – in the child’s jurisdiction. But this teaches so much about service and doing things cheerfully no matter what. It also helps the owner of the jurisdiction be mindful to avoid making messes in other’s jurisdictions. Because they know what it is like to clean up another’s mess. Does that make sense?

      The mess maker cleans it up but the jurisdiction owner helps because it is his/her jurisdiction. Family members help family members. And all are learning. Do to others as you would have them do to you. (And thanks for your kind comment) 🙂

      • Tricia, thanks for the follow-up! that’s the model we’ve been using (and working on…and working on….and working on…ad nauseum 😉 so thanks for the confirmation!! Blessings and I can’t wait to read through more of your posts!

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