We have a chore chart that’s been successfully piloted and sustained for about 6 months.
A parent that has household chores to tackle, knows well the balance involved in “getting stuff done” while spending quality time, connected with the children in the family.
This chore chart fills the needs of a couple of daily family challenges.
This is how our chore chart works:
I make a chart, 20 chore squares for each child.
Chores are chosen as a team, knowing the child is capable of completing tasks independently.
In the beginning the boys needed help learning how to accomplish the chores.
These are the chores we chose together.
1. take out garbage
2. take out compost
3. feed cats
4. wash the dinner table
5. empty clean utensils out of dishwasher
6. bring wood into the house for wood stove
7. help with cooking
8. switch out laundry machines
9. putting away their own laundry after I fold it
10 cleaning up toys after friends have come over to play
When a chore is up for grabs (the dishwasher just finished a cycle and the utensils need to be put away) I offer the boys the chance to complete the chore to earn a sticker. They have the option to “work” and earn or turn the job down. They have to finish the job to earn the sticker. I check on their progress. If after taking out the garbage, they haven’t put a new bag in the garbage bin, I have the option of taking the sticker back. The boys get “paid” for said chores when the chart is full. They earn a toy within an established budget, usually $10-$20. They can earn money to save or they can choose a fun family activity, like ice skating or a trip to the movies.
Sometimes the boys will eat all their veggies without having to be reminded, and they’ll ask, “Do I earn a chore sticker for that?” The answer is no. The boys don’t earn stickers for things they should be doing already: hygiene routines, being nice, eating healthy food, completing homework or cleaning up their messes.
The chores are specifically meant to help the family team with house chores.
Chores get done without it being one person’s burden.
…They offer a chance for kids to learn how to take care of the home
…they offer a chance for parent and child to work together accomplishing a task
…they help parent connect with child
…chores completed faster = more time to play a game, go for a walk, read a book together
…chores also give the children a chance to know what it is to want something and earn it
My boys are 5 and 6. The chores and rules are tailored to who they are and what they are capable of developmentally, and with thought to their schedules and needs. For example, sometimes play is more important, so I will not offer a chore if I know they’ve been in school all day and are engrossed in a project. Young children would be given simpler tasks, like helping to fold a couple small towels and stickers may be enough of a reward. As the kids get older, I can see the chore chart growing with them. Maybe, the chores themselves change. The boys will be able to help more with more complicated jobs…helping with whole meals, doing dishes, mowing the lawn etc. Maybe, the chores become a required part of their routine.
There hasn’t been a lull in chore interest so far and the kids take pride in accomplishing their little jobs. I always make sure they know how much we appreciate their help and hard work.