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