“I am not your maid!”
“I love picking up your socks!” (heavy sarcasm)
“Am I the only person who knows how to unload the dishwasher?”
These were some of my favorite sayings.
I was tired of doing all the chores in our home. I also struggled to implement a chore chart that did not add more to my load, because I would have to keep up on assigning chores, marking them off, “paying” my children, etc.
At first, I went out and bought a fancy Melissa and Doug magnetic chore chart. I hung it up and really tried to use it. It just never worked for me, the magnets were not the exact chore I wanted my kids to do, I couldn’t keep track of all the pieces and simply managing the chore chart was beginning to feel like a…. chore. Then I looked all through Pinterest and found some really beautiful chore charts, however, I am not very crafty and once again, nothing seemed to fit our family.
I needed a chore chart that I could customize on a regular basis, I wanted it to be so simple my 5-year-old could manage it. I also wanted it to be helpful for our whole family. So I did what I always do, grabbed a scrap piece of paper and a pen. Then I created what I think is the World’s Simplest Chore Chart.
Every 2 weeks (or so) I draw one of these up for my 2 oldest children. I come up with 4 chores for each of them. Each chore goes in one of the squares, then I come up with the number of times I need them to complete this chore in the assigned amount of time. Once they have checked off each number for each chore they can redeem their prize. Often times I have them do one of these charts to earn a specific activity (i.e. a wristband at the zoo, money to purchase a yearbook, ice cream at Dairy Queen, etc). Occasionally I will actually give them money, but the amount is dependent upon how much they had to do, typically around $5-$10.
This chart works great for actual labor (empty dishwasher, clean sinks, take out the trash, etc). It is also very helpful for dealing with behaviors. The chart on the left shows a “?” in one of the boxes. I am working with my daughter on not repeatedly asking me the same question in the morning. If she can do that, she gets to mark off the number. I am also working with my other daughter on getting herself ready in the morning without me having to constantly prod her along, so “Morning Routine” is one of her chores.
The whole purpose of a chore chart is to teach responsibility. So if they don’t remember to cross off the number, then it doesn’t count. If they are really working towards something they want, they usually remember to check it off. I want this chart to actually lighten my load and if I have to constantly remind them to do the chore and then check it off, then I have added work for myself.
I have been using this method for over a year and it has worked wonders. When they ask for money for something special at school or an activity, I tell them they can earn it with a chore chart. Sometimes they decide it isn’t worth the extra work, so that saves me money and teaches them that if you really want something you have to work for it.