“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.