OK, This is a big topic to cover here. If you missed the other posts in our chore series be sure to check them out.
What I have found is that a lot of different systems work. I have also found that after about 4-6 weeks the excitement of the system has worn off and everyone is slowly forgetting to mark charts or becoming laxidazical in getting the chores done in a timely manner.
We rotate systems and charts etc a lot here! We have used customizable chore charts for each child from DLTK’s Custom Chore Charts. These were a lot of fun and each child could pick out a character or picture to put on the top of their chart. I have also found other sites online which do the same type of thing. Chorecharts.com is one of them, along with another site called Successful Family Chores. We have purchased a chore system that uses cards and hooks. Works great with one child, but not once we had a few. It is called I Did My Chores. There are also multiple iPhone apps to track chores and reward systems. My sister found a website that looks really cool called Goal for It. You can make printable charts for each child and set up points for a reward system or you can do it all online. I might have to try this one out. I am looking forward to hearing what has worked for you. Please post a comment below and let us know.
I have found that rewards do get things done faster. Here’s the thing I have with them. I feel like some things my kids should do because they are a member of our house and I don’t think they should get paid for it. They should keep their rooms clean, help with dishes, their laundry etc. If they go over and above what is already expected of them, then we will pay them. We do let our kids watch a movie or play the Wii or DSi when they have practiced piano and their chores and school work is finished.
I know I posted a while back about schedules and what works for our family. We do much better with routines. I have written down what I expect my kids to do for a morning routine, and an evening routine. (sometimes we also have an after school routine). Their morning routines include getting themselves dressed, beds made, pj’s put in their laundry basket, and then their chores completed. (the specific chores depends on the child)
I have assigned chores based on a rotating schedule among my 3 oldest children. We had a chart on the wall by the dishwasher that had the 3 oldest kid’s initial written over and over. Each time they emptied the dishwasher they would mark off their initial. I would just look at the chart to see who was next. Here’s where I was mean…if one of the kids forgot to mark off their initial, they had to do it again. I gave them grace one time, after that it was understood that the job had to be done and marked off in order to have been done correctly. (if my children had a job and they forgot to clock in or out, it would be a problem, it is still part of their job to make sure they do that!) Other chores were assigned to each child on certain days. Andrew would sweep on Friday, do his laundry on Monday, scoop kitty litter on Saturday and Sunday and then do dishwasher on the days his name came up in the rotation. He was also always in charge of setting silverware out for every meal and clearing his dishes and putting them in the dishwasher.
I have also assigned chores based on zones. For example Joy, who is 9, is responsible for the kitchen zone. This includes emptying and loading dishwasher, setting and clearing the table and any other kitchen duties I might need help with. Matthew, 11, is in charge of making sure the family room is picked up (a huge job with 2 littles) and also in is charge of feeding our 2 cats and scooping kitty litter each day. Andrew, 7, is in charge of making sure our school room is picked up each day (again, that can be a big job depending on our day) and is also in charge of sweeping our floors each day. On Fridays the 3 oldest also each have a bathroom they are in charge of cleaning and they also do their own laundry. Andrew and Matthew are also responsible for collecting all the garbage in the house and taking the cans out to the curb.
I can see pros and cons to both systems. In case you were wondering about my 2 youngest, they help the bigger kids. The older ones will ask the younger ones to help empty the dishwasher with them, or fold towels etc. Faith, 4, is in charge of making sure the laundry room stays picked up. We come in from the garage through this room and everyone is supposed to hang up their coats and put their shoes on their shoe rack. She is in charge of making sure they do that. It also helps to get her to do her own shoes and coat. She is also in charge of making sure our 2 dogs always have food.
I hope this chore series has helped you come up with some ideas to help your family. Please make sure to leave a comment about what your favorite way to keep track of chores is. Did you make up your own chart, find something online etc?