One bite at a time together: Create a chore system (project 41)

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by Jeannett

Jeannett Gibson is a mom to four and wife to one who loves color and believes in story. She loves to tell you hers and wants to hear yours, too...because there is really no sense in wasting our suffering or not sharing in each other's joy. She blogs, fund raises, and sometimes even gets her crafty pants on at Life Rearranged.

iphone-chore-chart

I’m working through Tsh’s ebook One Bite at a Time and hopefully you are too!  You can jump in at any time and follow my own journey!  You can even go out of order…I sure am!  Buy the ebook for only $5 HERE.

Chores are something we start early in our home.  My son took on the responsibility of feeding the dogs before he was even two.  Granted, we reminded him twice daily, but for the most part, he has been filling those doggy bowls with that big blue scoop for the last three and a half years.  

With a family of six, there’s just no way I can do every single thing that needs to be done.  I regularly refer to our family as a team…and a team we shall be.  Even for the not so fun parts.  Sorry, kids.  You’ll get over it.  Promise.

PicMonkey-Collage

With more kids in the mix, and my oldest getting older (and more capable), I wanted to institute a chore chart. The problem I found was that many premade chore charts relied mostly on text, and my kids were too young to read.  Plus, I’m picky about what goes on display in my house.  I wanted it to be cute.  (I know, I’m silly. It is what it is.)

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Being a lover of Instagram, I decided to take advantage of those fun filters and make a chore chart that they could “read” on their own with minimal help.  So, a picture of Optimus reminds my son to feed the cat.  

A photo of her bed tells my three year old daughter that she needs to make it.  (It’s always wonky, but as someone once told me: “Don’t straighten their crooked beds.  For one day, it will no longer be crooked and you will be sad.”)

chorescollage

(For more details on what tasks I have listed, and how to make a chart like this, see HERE.)

Each child has tasks appropriate to their age and capabilities and get a sticker in exchange for completing it. (I also made sure to have the words under each image so that they can begin to associate.)

Can I just tell you about the magical allure of a sticker?!  Kids really like stickers.  And are willing to feed animals, “make” beds, empty dishwashers, and fill water bowls in exchange for a purple smiley face.

Now, I really hemmed and hawed about paying them for chores.  On the one hand, I believe that chores are just part of your job in Life.  But, on the other hand, I thought it was high time they started to learn the value of a dollar (or quarter in their case), and begin some lessons in saving, spending, and giving.  We finally decided that a chore chart filled with stickers would elicit one dollar per week, paid out in quarters.

It’s been a fun system that really seems to work for us.  Every morning, I remind the kids to do their chores, and even at three and five years old, they can “read” their charts well enough to know what tasks are expected of them and what is left to complete without me having to help too much.

Truthfully, it takes them ten times longer to complete a task than if I just did it for them, but in the end, they are learning valuable life skills and they really are lightening my load, even if only a little!

Do you give your kids chores?  What is your system for accountability?  Do you do allowances?

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Comments

  1. I’m thinking of starting something like this with my 5-year-old. How does the allowance work? Do you pay a dollar if all chores are completed for the week? What happens when a chore was neglected? I’m trying to figure how to set the “rules” but still have flexibilty.

    • we are really flexible, and give the kids a lot of grace. that being said, typically the charts are pretty well filled out because when i see an empty slot, i “remind” them that it needs a sticker.

  2. avatar
    Robin from Frugal Family Times says:

    We have chores and allowances in our family. It’s an expectation to help out (with reminders) as a member of our family team. And everyone gets a weekly allowance, including my husband and I! I didn’t want to pay per chore, because it made me feel like I was their employer, which felt too crummy to consider. It also seemed like if we paid them per chore they could opt out if they didn’t want the money – not really how life in a family works. I love how an allowance teaches them how to manage their money!

  3. Love the Instagram-y chore chart! Cute and functional :). My oldest is only 2, but I will implement this when she’s a wee bit older. Question, though: do you print new charts every week? Or laminate them and remove the stickers?

    • I have been printing out new charts weekly, which is a pain. I was thinking the other day of either laminating it and just drawing stars on it with a dry erase marker…but the kids love the stickers…so maybe only re-printing the black and white chart portion and changing that out weekly? Not sure.

  4. I think it is great that you used pics to set up the chart. We wanted to start something similar this year with my two year old and almost four year old. I cartoons on the internet but I may change it to pictures now. I also made mine color coded and laminated so I could reuse it each week.

    We struggled too with paying for chores, so we decided they had basic chores that if they completed each day they got “computer” time (they got leapsters for Christmas). Then I gave them “Extra Chores” that they can get paid for. This may be a bit much right now but we are hoping the older they get it reinforces somethings you have to do so the house runs well and other thing you do to earn money. I guess we will see.

  5. I really like the picture idea. My three year old helps out a lot but doesn’t have any specific chores. Perhaps I should change that…though I think I’d like to wait on allowance until she’s a little older.

    • I only do allowance with my three year old because I’m doing it with her older brother…and we all know how that goes! I waited until my oldest was five to start.

  6. You are on to something important – Assigning kids chores that will help the household function well is a great idea and a very effective way for kids to learn skills that will make them feel capable. When kids contribute in a meaningful way to their family, they feel more connected and more important. Having a chore chart and using pictures for younger children is a way to organize the effort and make it easier for the children to take on the responsibilities on their own. It may be quicker in the short run to do things yourself, but you will be depriving your kids of the opportunity to grow in competence, learn valuable skills, and feel that they are an important part of their household. Yeah Chores and Chore Charts!!

  7. Right now we don’t have a chore list, but I think down the line I’ll create one for the family. My husband and I used to have one for the two of us and that worked really well. It’ll be nice to include our three year old in the mix, but for now he just does what’s expected of him. I’m sure though it’ll be nice for him to see his chores checked off (I suppose the equivalent of stickers?). And we don’t plan to do allowances for anything, even chores.

  8. Teaching kids to do regular chores is the prime example of lazy parenting — the kind that is more work on the front end but ultimately brings you rest and peace. Bravo!

  9. My 12-year-old gets allowance for three chores: take out the recycling daily, feed the cats every afternoon (I give them breakfast) and empty the dishwasher on the weekends. If he forgets, we dock his allowance.

    On top of that, he’s also expected to keep his room clean and make his bed. He also helps set the table, takes his dishes to the sink, and picks up his own messes. Those aren’t part of his allowance; they’re part of life and we don’t feel we ought to pay him for doing them.

    He, of course, has a different opinion on that matter! LOL

  10. avatar
    Wendy Lawrence says:

    This is great! I’ve been meaning to make one of these for the kids so they know whether or not they can play before school (it’s funny how much faster they are that way!) does anyone have their kids help with laundry? And what do they do. I feel like my 4yo could at least sort, etc… But I have t tried that yet.

    • My son is five and puts away his laundry (I fold it). It’s not on the chore chart because it’s not a daily thing. He also has other little things like clearing his own plate/space at meals that aren’t on the list…

  11. I don’t have kids but I think that it would be a good idea to use a chart like this for me and my husband!

  12. Cute system! Homeschool Creations has an awesome chore chart with pictures as well – here’s a link – http://www.homeschoolcreations.net/2010/08/preschool-chore-charts/ – we implemented this with my daughter this year and she really likes it! She doesn’t get paid for the everyday things she is supposed to do, but we try to give her one bigger chore a week to do, and she can get paid for that!

  13. Fun ideas! My oldest is two and loves to do whatever mommy does. I’ve been surprised at how truly helpful she is though usually it does take longer than if I just did it.
    One tip I heard for older kids is to have them keep the same chore for a while. So instead of changing each week who unloads the dishwasher or clean the bathroom, have the same child do it for six months. That way they really learn how to do that job well and you don’t have to re-teach every chore each week. I’m tucking that idea away for when mine get a bit older!

  14. I love this idea and will probably be trying it. Thank you :)

  15. How do you dole out the stickers? Do you just check all the chores and once and let them have the sticker, or do you check everything as they complete? I pay in pennies and if you have a great attitude and keep asking what next mommy I pay more :-) http://www.modernhomemakers.com

  16. I have tried many times, but never am good at routine myself, so it’s an off again on again deal. I need something simple like this with pictures cause my littles are well, little. I have paid for cleaning bathrooms and doing other tough things, but not for cleaning their room and doing laundry cause that’s just part of being in our family. :)

  17. You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be
    actually something that I think I would never understand.
    It seems too complicated and very broad for me. I’m looking forward for your next
    post, I’ll try to get the hang of it!

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