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It’s summer! In my house that can be said with chagrin or excitement, depending on the day. Summer is great for spending time with your kids but I have realized that to keep a little sanity in our house there needs to be structure. We have found that a schedule, including chores helps a lot. I’m going to describe how our chore chart system works. It is a system that works for us, it may not work for you and that is okay, feel free to adjust it or completely disregard it at your discretion.
I will describe the different parts of our system. It is quite detailed but could be simplified easily.
First off, my husband and I decided we didn’t want holes all over the wall so we built a ladder structure to hold our chore chart. With the ladder we can hang things where we need to and not have to worry about anchoring each item into the wall. We also don’t plan on having a chore chart forever. At some point our kids are going to grow up and this way we can remove the charts and display something else or remove the ladder all to together and there are only four holes to patch.
My husband and I decided we didn’t want to pay our kids to do chores but that it was part of being a family, each child has chores they do every day and also optional jobs they can do to earn money.Although we didn’t want to pay them for chores, we did want them to have opportunities to earn money to learn how to budget and plan for things they want. The solution for us was a work for hire section at the top of our chore chart board.
There are jobs ranging in value from $1 to $20. They can pick a job they want to do or they can come up with their own and get approval. They ask for permission to do one of the jobs and once completed they are given the predetermined amount of money. I’ve found that having the money attached to the clip with the card makes it easier to pay them for their job. If I have to look for my wallet and often don’t have the correct bill amount it is difficult to reinforce that the job was done well and they earned money for it.
The next part of our system is the chore charts. We use clipboards and dry erase markers, they are handy to be able to carry around and mark off the jobs as they are completed. I used clear clipboards with a dry erase marker but they are not holding up like I had hoped, the dry erase markers are scratching up the clipboards. There is dry erase adhesive vinyl available that would work better on top of the clipboard, when I redo the clipboards, I will go that route. The clipboard is also nice to be able to hang it on the wall and also the clip is used to hold their assignment card.
The assignment cards are double sided cards that tell them what their job is and what needs to be completed. One side has pictures for the younger kids, the other side has words for the older kids. This clips to the top of the clipboard and is rotated every week.
Besides the assignment card they also have personal chores they complete. Such as, homework, cleaning their bedroom, cleaning up their stuff from every room in the house, and they have to observe something that needs to be done around the house and do it. They can check off each item as they finish it.
When they have completed all of their chores, they have report to my husband or myself for us to mark it off. This allows us to be able to check their chores and make sure they are being completed correctly and completely. They seem to do a better job when they know we will check to make sure it is “mom’s clean” not just clean enough.
Each week we rotate charts and I hand out tickets for the previous week for the days that have been signed off. We do one ticket per day. We keep the tickets in some cute little buckets from Target that I put their names on (I covered their names in the picture for privacy). I love the buckets at Target, there are some many fun designs.
About once a month we have a reward night. Generally this is a time we spend together as a family. In essence they have worked hard to do their chores and because of that we can do fun things. Some of their favorite reward nights have been ice cream sundaes and a movie night with treats and popcorn. It is also a good time to sneak in a little math practice. They have an order form they fill out with what toppings they want, they count up the total and take it to the “ticket counter” with the correct amount of tickets.
My favorite parts about this system are; that they are learning to be observant, they have to see something that needs to be done and do it. I also like that they have to report back and take responsibility for their chores. It is a chore chart but it helps teach life lessons at a young age.
A few words of caution. This chart system does require some time from you to check their charts, change the assignment cards, and plan rewards. It may be more than some have time for, it can definitely be simplified. For us it works best if we can plan a date for the reward in advance. This also helps us plan a specific activity to do as a family. If there is one thing about summer, it is crazy busy. This helps us spend a little more time together and have a clean house in the process.