Family as Housing Co-op
March 14, 2020 4:20 PM   Subscribe

What can be put in place to make our family togetherness better in this time of social isolation?

We are 4 fully grown people including 2 adults. With no school and no outside social events, the day-to-day operations are changing dramatically. I continue to work, even busier now due to circumstances. While kids will have schoolwork, I don't think it will take the usual 7 - 2:30 plus commute plus after school plus extra-curriculars. With everyone home, there is a lot more work and mess in the house. Looking for plans and ideas that surely must exist out there. I'm imagining some housing co-op type chore charts and processes and maybe some general rules to live by?

Here's what I'm thinking:

House standards - like what?
Shared responsibility by everyone - how to assign?
Everyone working toward some personal goals (not just video games) - hey this could go on for a while
Daily dinner together
Breakfast and lunch on own, clean up your own dishes!
Have at least some number of personal activities, not just tv
Video games and mindless tv limited to something

How can this be done? What else?
posted by RoadScholar to Human Relations (4 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
We're going to have a family meeting tomorrow to talk through what's going to change. Your list looks good!

Things we're also going to talk about:
- Snack standards (eating an entire box of Cheese-Its at 3pm is NOT a thing, my 10-year old)
- Exercise / PE breaks (for everyone, since the adults won't be going to the gym)
- How to stay in contact with friends (in person or not)
- How we might be able to help our neighbors
posted by feckless at 5:36 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]

I’ve got two college students coming home tomorrow plus a high schooler who is out for at least two weeks. And I’ll still be working full time (unclear if at office or home). I’m thinking they can each plan and cook one or two dinners a week. We can do board games and puzzles. The windows need to be washed. Exercise outside and in. Go through closets. Detail cars. Read, study. Watch a dumb show together. Calls to grandparents.

I do think a schedule will be helpful as well. And keeping common areas clean, limiting screen time.
posted by Sukey Says at 8:02 PM on March 14

What about a shared project just for fun, like a huge puzzle or art project? Something that everyone can contribute to at random times throughout the day.

Depending on the competitive natures of your family members, could you turn this into a friendly game? Come up with a list of chores/projects/one-off tasks, and assign a point value to each. Maybe doing your own laundry so that the usual Family Launderer doesn't have to is worth some points. Doing your sister's laundry too gets you extra points. Working on a project that benefits the whole household, like cleaning out a kitchen drawer, gets you points.

Keep a leaderboard posted in some visible place where everyone checks off the chores they've completed that day, and the winner for the day/week/whatever gets a special treat like getting to choose the movie for family movie time, or gets breakfast in bed served by the loser or something.

Here's an example - Chore Wars.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 6:36 AM on March 15

My family had a meeting to make a new daily schedule. We started with talking about what we need: time alone, time together, time to get work done, time to visit with friends. And then planned out from that, with my spouse's basic work hours, a specific time for my kid to video-chat while I get an uninterrupted hour for schoolwork, good times for exercise, playing games, and watching tv/movies together. We do have all our mealtimes on it because we like to have our meals together. We don't have a ton else on it; for some families having more granular things like when math or art happen may be helpful. My kid prefers swaths of free time and her school is not doing any kind of distance learning, so she can spend as much time as she wants researching and writing fanfic and read books until she runs out. While I didn't assign more chores, we did talk about her doing more to have more parent time; she generally does them with us whenever we're doing chores anyways.

Whatever parts you want to plan, I suggest starting with what people will need and figure out how to make that work together. It helps to get buy-in.
posted by Margalo Epps at 3:18 PM on March 15

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