Sunday, August 26, 2012

Say Jurisdiction Five Times Fast

Eight years ago, I met a woman who introduced me to child training, discipling your kids, homeschooling and the like.  She has influenced the "why" of what I do in my home every single day.  I am so grateful for her!

One thing Lori taught me was about giving my kids (soon-to-be kids...I was a newlywed with no bun in the oven yet!) ownership in our home.  I wasn't a great house-keeper then when it was just Treavor and me, so how in the world was I going to manage all the work that being a mommy requires as well as keep us from living in a pigsty?  I definitely have NOT arrived yet, but I am working on it.  Enough about me...

So, giving my kids ownership in my home can be seen in a million different ways, but there is one thing I have started this week: Jurisdictions.  Say what?


noun - the territory over which authority is exercised

Or, in my dictionary, the territory over which one child is responsible for.  It is different than a is more like a responsibility.

So, in the practical sense, every day except the Sabbath, in the morning and at nighttime, they are to inspect their "jurisdictions" and see if they are in right order.  If there is a need to, they might even have to teach someone in our family about how to help keep that place in order.  That's where the small ounce of authority comes in.

For instance: 

Jeshurun (the 6-year old) is in charge of sweeping off the front porch, throwing away any wayward trash that has collected there, and arranging the shoes outside the door.  In the morning, he will organize...and in the evening, he will shake out the rug, sweep, and puts things in a general order.  If someone is habitually leaving their shoes right on the welcome mat (, then he has the authority to remind me (politely!) about where to put my shoes.

The front porch - completed!  So much more welcoming than how it usually is.

Huy (the 4-year old) is in charge of putting all the shoes in pairs on the inside shoe rack, and is also in charge of sweeping the area around it with a small hand brush and dustpan.  When I told him about it this morning, he literally jumped to the job.  For some reason, he got the "orderly" gene that skipped me.  Bummer.

Huy's jurisdiction - completed!  Ah...mental stress freedom!  (At least at the front door)

Now, I realize that even my four-year old probably can't even say jurisdiction...let alone my little toddler (who is, conveniently, exempt from jurisdictions).  Hey, for fun, you should even ask your own kids (if ya got 'em!) to say jurisdiction five times fast.  That would be funny.  But, even though my four-year old might not be able to even repeat it properly, I was so surprised to find out how quickly he would "own" it.

As I have read and observed in my home and in others, kids really love to help out!  If the job is do-able for their age, and if we parents can encourage them and point out when they complete it well, it is so motivating to them to have ownership over certain areas of the home.  And, frankly, it crosses off a few more things on my list of things to clean every day.  As my kids get older, their jurisdictions will change as their abilities change, too.  And, I just might get to prop my feet up a little more instead of wear myself out every day like I already do.  

Score one for mom.

Score one for my kids' future homes.

And, amen for a light at the end of the tunnel to having a more prepared, hospitable home.  One day!  

This definitely needs some sort of ownership.  Yikes!  One day at a time...

Do you have anything to elaborate on the subject of ownership, chores, or keeping your own space in order?  I would love to hear it!  My closest friends know I need all the help I can get.  Share your thoughts in the comments below:


  1. I really like this idea. We're planning to start a family, learning from a ton of people, and this jurisdiction blog is now on my list of good ideas! Thanks!

  2. Great idea! Im gonna adopt this for my kids:)

  3. Heya Dustan! Thanks for commenting! Glad you took something from this post to tuck away for the future. That is exactly how I started preparing for the kids-to-be in our family. Blessings to you and your wife!

  4. Thanks, Deena! I hope it brings your home a greater order and purpose! I am hoping for the same with my own. We'll figure it out together, eh?

  5. I just read a blog of a lady with 13 kids and she elaborated a little more on this as well. She is expecting her 14th next month. The articles I liked were on the bottom on the right hand side on how she actually gets things done.

  6. P.S. Your front door and the area that I can see is really nice

  7. That's good stuff! Thanks for the link! I found the article on her "zones" that are just like jurisdictions. Cool!

  8. Thanks, girl! The boys are doing a great job. Maybe, soon, the whole house will look this way...we shall see!

  9. Even though Adeline is not even 2 yet, she LOVES to feed our dog, morning and night. She would do it every hour on the hour if we would just let her. She also puts clothes in the hamper and helps with the laundry. The orderly gene totally skipped me as well, so I'm trying to get her started as early as possible - and hey - all those things were her idea, so I just went with it :)

  10. That is awesome! Seriously, we have natural desires (as kids) to help out and be a part of making our homes run. Too bad this same desire doesn't increase into adulthood. At least, for me! I am a huge work in progress. So glad Addy is bringing you help and joy!


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