Summer vacation is officially underway in my house. Five-count’em-five kids looking for mischief and messes. Which means it’s the perfect time to spiff up the chore chart. This is an easy one I created for my middle three kids. I like that it is simple and versatile so I can change it as the kids grow.
You will need:
- Adhesive lettering -Found in the scrapbook department of any craft store. I used my Silhouette to make mine.
- Auto pinstriping – Found at our local Auto Zone for $3.50. This is how I made perfectly straight (and long!) lines. One roll gave me plenty left over for future projects.
- Dry erase/magnet board – Got mine at Target. I use a dry erase marker to write in chores, but you could create magnet system like THIS one or THIS one.
Each child has a column, with a place at the top for me to write in daily chores. These are tasks I expect them to do every day (Monday-Friday). Below that, there is a box for weekly chores. Finally at the bottom I have a space for “Extra Chores”.
In my house, each child has six daily chores, chosen by age and ability. Includes things like: tidy bedroom, water flowers, empty trash, wash counters, sweep patio, vacuum, etc. In the summer, these are performed in the morning after breakfast. The seventh chore is called “PM Redo”, which means they are to revisit each of their daily chores to be sure everything is still in order. For example, the child responsible for vacuuming will do a quick once-over in the high traffic areas or where needed. This is done just before dad gets home from work so the house is pleasant and relaxing for him. If you’re a mom, then you know what can happen to a house between breakfast and dinner. Which is why I love the PM Redo.
Each child has one “weekly” chore per day, Monday through Friday. Some of these are chosen because they only need occasional attention, such as cleaning doors/trim, washing tub, vacuuming under furniture cushions, etc. Others are chosen because they are things the children need to learn. Each child has a turn every week setting the table, helping with dinner and doing the laundry. My older kids are periodically assigned basic home and car maintenance tasks such as checking fluids in cars, checking tire pressure, changing AC filter in our home, etc. These are things that are done with supervision, so we work on them primarily in the summer when we have more time.
The daily and weekly tasks are those they are expected to do as part of our family. We do not offer allowances. The extra chores are things I will pay them for. Here are some examples from our chart this week:
- Clean patio door windows inside and out $0.50
- Dust downstairs blinds $1
- Wash dining chairs $1
- Vacuum mom’s minivan $1
- Organize garage $2
- Organize lower kitchen cabinets $2
I have read (and tried) a rewards-based chore system and I believe it has its merits. But I prefer a system that instills in them an expectation for some family contributions with no rewards. And I like that they are still able to work and earn for extra effort by picking up a paid chore here or there.
Chore Chart Success: Teach (and Reteach!)
This is a lesson I learned the hard way. My poor, sweet oldest son Caleb was our guinea pig child, since we really learned by trial and error with him. As a (very) young mom, I naively thought I should be able to show him how to do a chore 3 or 4 times and he should be able to take it from there. I would get frustrated when I came into his recently “cleaned” room to find disheveled toys and an unmade bed.
Today I realize that training a child requires consistent, diligent and repeated effort. Sometimes they forget. For years. Sometimes they get distracted. Sometimes they want to see how much they can get away with. Whatever the reason, if they need another lesson then they get one. Because my ultimate goal is not to have a perfectly cleaned room, but to raise an independent and competent future adult. Getting angry or frustrated does nothing to accomplish this goal. Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt. Doesn’t work.
What Autism Taught Me About Parenting
I learned a lot about parenting by having an autistic child. Dylans behavior therapist always says, “If he isn’t getting it, then we’re doing something wrong”. I like that attitude, because it assumes that my son is capable. That he wants to learn. That he’s trying. That we just need to try another approach. To reteach and retrain with patience, optimism and praise. As many times as it takes until he gets it. It’s a great perspective, and it gets results. Learning that about him helped me see the truth in that for my other four kids. I don’t always know why they need repeated lessons on the same thing. But if they didn’t learn it then I need to try again, and maybe a little differently next time.
So thanks to my sweet son for teaching me yet another valuable life lesson. I’d love to hear about the chore system you use in your home. Share in the comments!
PS: In case you’re wondering why this chart only applies to three of my five kiddos, the youngest (autistic) has his own visual chart. My oldest is working two jobs and saving for college in the fall, so he is only responsible for dishes and mowing.
Posted in: diy