Friday, January 13, 2017

Family Chore Chart

MeSs. C l u t t e r. DisorganizAtion. Such nasty words. And such a nasty way to live!  Yuck! Our house was recently feeling like this...chaotic to me!  The kids weren't picking up after themselves around the house, their bedrooms were atrocious, and this momma was doing her best to run (or limp) around like a crazy nut to just find some semblance of order--even just once in a while!  I suddenly realized that I had stopped expecting the kids to help around the house.  I had been so overwhelmed by just the day-to-day living, especially since my hip surgery, that I had forgotten to enforce our expectations. 

Immediately following my October surgery, the kids had pulled together to help me out.  But as time wore on, they became less and less inclined to help.  They became less cooperative, and downright lazy! I knew I needed to change things up, to flip the "script" that had been recently written. 

So, right after the New Year, I finally implemented a family chore chart that I had been working on for a looooooooooong time...like 1 1/2 years looooooong!  A couple of years ago, I had researched chore charts on Pinterest, finding many fabulous ideas.  But there wasn't one particular one that would work best for our family.  So, I just melded a bunch of ideas together to come up with our own system--one that I hope will work for us for a while! 

I knew I wanted the children to be responsible for themselves and their own rooms, but I also wanted them to contribute toward the family.  Because, well, family is a LOT of work, amiright? I also wanted an incentive system, or as educators and psychologists would call it, an extrinsic reward system.  I wanted to get my kids on board with regular chores and helping around the house, so I wanted to entice them with the promise of a reward for a job well-done.  But then as they become more accustomed to helping regularly again, my plan is to gradually reduce the rewards they receive.  I want them to learn that as a family, we all work together to run things, that each person is an important cog in our wheel.  Too, I want them to learn that we all have a responsibility toward each other to care for ourselves, our family unit, our home.  We are interdependent on one another.   

I decided to go with a "token economy" type of system, where the children receive a ticket for each time they complete a chore.  I also decided that I can use the tickets to encourage the kids to chip in even more often than just by doing their own chores.  So for every extra chore, they can earn one to five tickets, depending on the difficulty and length of time the chore takes.  I can also use the tickets as a positive reward for when they are super-thoughtful or kind to each other.  They are generally pretty good toward each other already, but every now and then one of them goes out of their way for another.  And by all means, I want to encourage that!  Of course, I always praise them verbally for their help and their kindness, too. 

On Sundays, which is our family day, we sit around the chore charts and have a family meeting. The children choose which chores they would like to do for the following week.  I have two categories of chores they have to choose from.  They pick a couple of chores they will have to be responsible for every day for the following week, and a couple of chores they only have to do once or twice during the week.  Little Miss is responsible for a bit more than the boys, due to her age being twice that of Miracle Man and Chub-Chub.  Other than that, my one rule is that they cannot choose the same chore they just had the week before.  That gives everyone a chance to try out each of the different chores, learn a new skill, and share in the responsibility of running the household.

Here is what our family wall with the chore charts looks like:

For the individual chore charts, I used shadow box picture frames for each child.  Inside the frame, I printed on cardstock the list of personal responsibilities for each child and I made areas where the chosen chores could go. I also printed the individual chores on cardstock, but I wanted a different color so that they would stand out against the background of the photo frames. Then, I laminated the personal responsibility pages, as well as the individual chores they can choose.  After the chores were laminated, I cut them up and attached a piece of Velcro to the back of each one.  Originally, I was thinking that I would open the shadow boxes up every week to change chores (primarily because I was concerned that Miracle Man would rip them all down if he had access to them). But, fast forward a year and a half, and I realized that idea wasn't going to work. It's too cumbersome to open them up each week.  And it was difficult enough to put the backings back on the frames in the first place!  So I ended up hot gluing Velcro pieces to the glass on the outside of the frames in order to have a place to put the chosen chores.  It seems to be working just fine and Miracle Man hasn't touched them (yet)!

To hold the individual chores and have them readily accessible each week, as well as to distinguish between daily and weekly chores, I made a simple table for each set of chores in Microsoft Word.  I then printed them on cardstock, laminated them, and hot glued Velcro to them.  I hang these up with a clip on the wall above the kids' chore charts.  So far, it seems to be working well!  Here is what they look like:

The boys' personal responsibilities are the same, but Little Miss has a couple additional responsibilities. 

Here are each of the boys' chore charts:

If you zoom in, you should be able to read the personal responsibilities pretty well.  When I originally created these charts, the boys were going to be able to earn a piece of candy for completing their chores.  However, several dental visits later and I do NOT want them to have any more candy than they already have!!  So I have substituted the tickets for the candy.  Luckily, the boys can't read all that well yet!!  Shhhhhh.....don't tell!!

Here are the tickets that I am using.  I covered an old recipe box with a pretty paper using Mod Podge to make it look nicer!  Even though you can't really see it in the picture, it looks adorable!  You'll just have to take my word for it!


On Sundays, when we are having our family meeting in front of the chore charts, we discuss what went well the past week, and where we need to improve.  We are also discussing ways we can make this system work better for us.  Then we choose jobs, each child getting to pick one chore at a time.  Afterward, the children can choose to trade their tickets in (or not) for prizes from my special prize box. 

Secret Alert:  (It's filled with junk I already had laying around the house)!  Mum's the word!  I do need to add some more things to the box that the boys would like to earn, but for now, it works just as it is!  When the children are trading in their tickets for prizes, we discuss how much each prize is worth.  For example, a pencil, an eraser, or a small sticker sheet is worth only one ticket, but the larger items might be worth 15 or 20!  Little Miss has decided to save her tickets to earn some of the bigger prizes, while the boys want to use up all of their tickets at once!  Oh, and bonus:  The basket I am using is something I already had around the house, too, so that's another win!!

Just look at all that CRAP!!  Literally, it is just crap! But to the kids, it is so ultra-cool!  Chub-Chub has such a difficult time choosing!!  LOL  I hope that keeps them motivated!!

Well, there you have it!  My new family chore system. It may not be perfect, but it is working right now!  I'm sure I will have to continue to tweak it over time, and as the kids get older, but I'm loving it at the moment, and so are they!

Hopefully yours,

Marathon Momma

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