Chore charts. It’s a divisive topic. Should kids be rewarded for contributing to their own household? Should parents have to make a captain obvious list as to what needs to be done? Do they actually work? Does anyone use them after the initial month of fervour wears off? Do the white board markers go missing in all families?
We currently have a chore chart hanging off the fridge, laminated and ready for ticks and crosses. Once we can find the white board marker.
I think there is value in a chore chart, but like all things, everyone needs to “own” it. At the moment, I feel like the sole owner of a pretty chart.
On my side of the equation, I wanted a something to enable smooth running mornings. My youngest and I have to leave at 6:50am on work days. That doesn’t leave much room for anything other than getting ready. The morning routine part of the chore chart acts as a prompt for what has to happen next.
I was also keen for my eldest to work on a few areas and have a visual reminder for him to do that. Things like making sure he can tie his shoe laces (he’s eight – it’s no longer cute).
The chart acts as a communication tool with our after-school nanny – so that she is aware of expectations and what’s generally going on in school life.
There are also demerits on our chore chart for unacceptable behaviour. A few crosses on that side of things and no reward at the end of the week.
I suppose our chore chart is more about routine, goal setting and behaviour than chores. Which is what we need. I just need everyone on board.
Here’s how I intend to do that:
- Put it at a level that everyone can tick the boxes. I notice that it makes a difference when my eldest ticks things off himself, but at the moment he has to find a chair to do so.
- Have the kids input into what actually goes on the list.
- Clearly explain the chart and what it’s used for, with my husband around and on board.
- Be consistent with using it.
- Have a set time each weekend where we review the previous week and decide if the goals have been met and whether we will be headed out to the reward activity.
If you are interested, this is the chore chart we are using. The idea is to have a checklist for morning and afternoon routines, reminders as to the school routine, a list of expected chores (integrated into every day) and a weekly goal. If the goal is met, routine followed and limited unacceptable behaviour, then there is a treat — normally an outing.
I still haven’t really figured out the pocket money thing yet, to be honest. We put away a certain amount into an account for the boys every month, but that’s for the future. They know about it, but it doesn’t teach them how to handle money or relate money to work. On the flip side, I’m not comfortable paying pocket money to the boys for just meeting the status quo. They will have to actually go above and beyond to earn money.
The chart we are using only relates to the normal day to day routine, rather than extra chores. We have a cleaner that comes once a fortnight, which I rely on heavily. But I do worry that our boys are growing up not doing the jobs I learned, like how to clean the bathroom etc. Believe me, even getting them to flush is an effort at the moment. I am determined not to send useless men out in the world, so we will be addressing this as they grow older.
Here are some ideas around getting children to perform extra chores:
- Chore sticks in a jar
- 10 genius ways to get kids to do chores (there are some really great ideas here)
- Chore punch cards
- Chore envelope system
- A great article on why chores are important
- And, okay, this is old fashioned and doesn’t have a cute Pinterest link, but this is what happened when I was a kid. There was a day on the weekend when everyone was expected to be home and participate in cleaning the house. Mum wrote a list and we just worked through it.
I’ll let you know how our chore chart goes.
I’d love to know if they work in your household.