This is one of those easy DIYs that is totally worth the time and effort.
I know, I know. Right now you’re all “shut up with your annoying Pinterest-inspired chore chart that you claim is a lifesaver.”
Ok, I get it. I’m annoying. But I swear I’m just like you.
I’ve barely rolled out of bed and taken a sip of coffee (one sip, literally) before being bombarded by kids who want things and are already fighting over the remote. No mom wakes up with the birds chirping, claps her hands and in a sing-songy voice says, “alright kids, time to do our chores!”
But recently I became so fed up with the push-back I got when I asked the kids to do something that I decided we needed a change in our house. And I could be wrong, but I think if you get one of these going at your house, you might feel at least a little bad about making fun of me (maybe).
It’s not all roses and sunshine at our house; even with an established chore and behavior chart, we still have plenty of whining and complaining to go around. In my head, I thought if we could make these daily tasks part of the routine, the kids would stop whining about it and eventually just do it without me asking and without complaint. If that actually happens, we haven’t gotten there yet.
HOWEVER, these charts have helped us get things in order and at least have a plan in place. And some aspects of life are, in fact, a little easier. Once I decided to make the change, I knew I had to stick to it. This couldn’t be like in the past where I started a new chore system and then we all forgot about it 3
weeks days later.
So when I saw this awesome hanging magnet board on sale at Michaels, I knew it was time to get it together and create a system. I was super lucky to come across these square magnets in the Dollar Spot at Target right around the same time. I realized after buying the magnet board that I would need to hang it low enough for my kids to reach and move their magnets, but duh, I have a two year old who puts everything in his mouth and would also be able to reach it… and the last thing I need is a child who ingested magnets. But these ones from Target are too big for him to swallow, so I think we’re good. And I know because he has already put them in his mouth… ugh. That kids is giving me gray hairs. (If you haven’t got a toddler to worry about, you can get some similar magnets that are slightly smaller here)
Anyway, I came up with a simple system of daily responsibilities for my kids, which includes brushing their teeth and hair, getting dressed and making their bed. I also started making them pick up their room and the living room every night after dinner, hoping that the struggle I usually encountered in getting them to clean would eventually dissipate and the mess would be easier to pick up if it happened more frequently.
Not so much.
But we are a work in progress and still trying. And finally, I put on there to put away laundry, which they only need to do when applicable. I forgot to add wipe the table and sweep the floor, which I require each of them to do after one meal a day.
Once they finish a chore for the day, they move their magnet from “not done” to “done.” That way, they can see their progress and know what is left to do.
The bottom sticker charts are for extra chores and serve as behavior chart and reward system.
I put together a small jar full of popsicle sticks that are labeled with extra chores they can do to earn a sticker. Once their sticker chart is full (20 stickers), they are able to either pick a toy from a bin that I put together or receive a $5 bill; their choice. I have NEVER given my kids an allowance (they are 4 and 6, what do they need money for?) until now. But I feel like $5 is appropriate for a few reasons.
First, they take a very long time to fill the chart (we’re probably on at least week 4 or 5). Second, the incentive also helps us regulate their behavior. If they misbehave, they lose a sticker (I cross it out with a marker). The next time they do a chore for a sticker, they have to place it over the crossed out one in order to “earn” it back. Because of the cross-out system, they are always moving back and forth, but always reaching toward that end goal. It’s been tough work for them, so I don’t feel too bad about making it worth their while with $5.
Here are some of the extra chores I have written on popsicle sticks:
- Shake both bathroom rugs
- Clean sink in upstairs/downstairs bathroom
- Organize pantry
- Dust one level of the house (we have 4 levels, so it works out to about 2 rooms per level)
- Empty the dishwasher
- Fill the dishwasher
- Empty the trash throughout the house
- Take out the recycling
- Gather the laundry from the house and take it to the laundry room
- Sort the dirty laundry
- Wipe down the fronts of the fridge/dishwasher/stove
- Clean all the doorknobs in the house
- Vacuum your bedroom
- Mom’s choice (my favorite)
So far these seem to be doable for both my 4 and 6 year old, though they occasionally need help. So there are times I have to say “no, you can’t do extra chores right now” because I’m not able to help them out.
It’s not a perfect system, but it is helping my kids understand responsibility and contribution to the family and taking pride in our home by taking care of it. I have explained to them that when our responsibilities are done, we can then do fun stuff. So they know that if they want to play a game, they need to complete their daily responsibilities first. Just like in order for me to play with them, take them for a walk or go to the park, I have to take care of my responsibilities – which can be anything from house work to professional work. Sometimes they can help me with those things to help it along, which they usually do because there is the incentive of something fun to follow.
So, that’s our current chore chart system. Do you have something you do that works for your family?