I am a big believer that our kids need chores. They need to feel like they are a vital part of the household and they need to learn some skills so they won’t still be living here when they are 30. So, over the years, I have come up with about 10 different ways to assign and track chores. Needless to say, they all start off great, then tend to fizzle out. In addition, when we added two more kids to the mix, it became overwhelming for me to keep track of who was doing what (and how well).
But, since it’s a new year, I am trying once again to light a fire under my kids butts. First, the big kids. At 11 and 9, they are clearly able to handle more complicated chores, however with swimming, baseball and an enormous amount of homework, they just don’t have a lot of time. At the beginning of the week, I print out a checklist with daily chores, and they each get 2-3 per day. This is no different than it used to be. However, I’ve now added “bonus chores” for which they can be paid. At the beginning of the week, I put magnets on the fridge with the job and how much they are worth.
I bought some plastic envelopes at Office Depot and cut off the flaps. When they do a chore (first come, first serve), they move the magnet into their envelope. On Sundays, I pay out for whatever is in the envelope. They also both get an allowance (one dollar for each grade level, so Sam’s up to six dollars a week), but that allowance isn’t tied to any chores. Since Eleanor is very motivated by money, this has been great for her. In the first week, she was able to double her allowance. I’m not sure how long the motivation will keep up, but she is trying to save up for the new American Girl doll, so that should buy me some time. The things that I pay for are things that I would normally do, so if they don’t get done, I don’t sweat it.
Since Ayub can’t read, I made a picture chore chart for him. Of course, it had to have a Captain America theme, because I’m pretty sure that Captain America is good about finishing his chores, don’t you think?
He has two columns: to do and “I did it!” There are pictures in the “to do” column each day and when he is finished, he moves it from one side to the other. I tried to make the pictures as understandable as possible and to include what type of tools/supplies are needed so that he could remember how to do it.
The first week was tough, because I had to show him how to do each task. At first, he was very excited about getting to help out and having chores like the big kids. He made it to Thursday before he told me “I don’t wanna do that…chores is boring.” See what a smart kid he is?!?!?! But, we’ve stuck with it and most of the time he will complete his tasks. And sometimes they are even passable. But, hey, he’s five, so we let it slide a little.
Lucy has only one chore…to feed the dog. For those who didn’t see it on Facebook, here’s how excited she gets about doing her part around the house.