Tuesday, May 26, 2009

It Wouldn't Be Summer without...

...Chore Charts!

Odd as it may be, my kids actually look forward to their summer chore charts. 

I ease up on them during the school year, but in the summer when they're home all day, their charts give them structure and responsibility. 

Last year, I let them each make their own charts each week, but this morning I decided I was going to make a master chart and later on they can make their own if they choose.

However, I didn't have any index cards, copy paper, or posterboard. Hmmmmm....what to do?

I was sitting at the kitchen table and had an idea.

Using a dry erase marker and ruler, I wrote the chart directly on the fridge--one of the perks of NOT having stainless steel appliances! (Here is a link to an older post I wrote about Refrigerator Art. It's a great idea for younger kids, but make sure to test a small area first, and make doubly sure that you give them a dry-erase marker instead of a permanent one!)

I love how it turned out and I love that it's highly visible!

Each of my three have 4 things they must do each and every day, including weekends.
1. Get dressed (clothes, brush hair, brush teeth)
2. Make their bed
3. Straighten their room
4. Read for one hour--which may seem like a lot, but my kids love to read!
After they complete these tasks, they'll put their initial in the box.

They also have different daily things they're responsible for (and I usually let them have the weekends off):
Feed/water the dog
Help with laundry (take basket downstairs daily and sort)
Empty bathroom/bedroom trash cans
Wipe down bathroom counters/sink
Windex (except we use vinegar. and it stinks! and they tell me that all. the. time.)
Lunch duty (make lunch for siblings! b/c I hate making lunch)
Dinner duty (helping me set table, cook, clean up)
Sort recycling
Mom's choice! (These aren't written down, but are chores I assign as needed or if they're whining that they're bored. Really? You're bored? Well, I certainly have a thing or two you can do.)

Most of the chores above are rotated from week to week. If Sarah has lunch duty this week, then Will gets it next week. Abbey is still learning how to do some of these things, but she learns fast from watching her siblings.

I've never paid my kids for doing chores. I've always explained to them that we're a family and each person in the family is expected to help out with things around the house.  

But this year, John and I decided to pay them. They're excited about earning money for the first time and I'm hoping this keeps them motivated all summer. They usually make it through June with gusto and start steadily slacking off through July!

The perk is that if they consistently complete their chores each week, they'll get a $20 bonus right before we leave for Durango. Money is a powerful motivator for at least one of my kiddos.

So...we'll see.

I have some questions for you guys.
1. Do your children do chores? Anything not on my list that I might possibly add to their workload, er, I mean chore chart? 
2. Do you pay your children to complete their chores?


Stephanie said...

Mine are much younger than yours so probably the things we do won't really apply. N1(5yo) has a morning routine of 4 things that we are working on her doing without reminders - straighten her bed, brush hair, brush teeth and get dressed. When she starts going to Kindergarten two days this fall, we'll add getting her backpack ready to the list. She also helps me clear the table after all meals and helps fold the laundry - all washcloths, handtowels, cloth napkins, dishtowels, etc. The 3yo helps with some things, and mine are little enough that they love to dust and windex (with the kid-safe cleaner we give them). It's still a game at this age.

And, we don't pay for chores ... I don't know what we are going to do about that down the road. I was never paid for chores growing up ... it was just part of being in the family and you just did your jobs. I'll be interested to see what comments you get!

Carpool Queen said...

Love this idea, and my kids always want to negotiate for chores (I hope this means I'm raising attorneys and they'll support me in my old age.)

Maybe if I write down what they are expected to do it won't be such a surprise to them.

And since they're angling for a dollar increase in their allowance, this may just be the thing to justify it.

Tracey said...

I like how you wrote it right on the refrigerator! Cool! Samuel is only 5 mths., so besides looking cute, pooping and eating, I want him to do rolling over now...ha ha! Anyway...great idea...by the way...we were never paid to do chores as kids but we never had a set chore list either, so not sure how I'll do this later.

Christi @ Writing the Waves said...

Love how you put your chart on the fridge! It looks so cute too!

I am such a list maker, that I usually just make my kids a list of things that I need them to to each day. I do it at the same time that I make my list for the day. I have tried chore charts, but I have not been very good about keeping up with it, so for now, the individual lists seem to work best. We don't consistently pay our kids, but sometimes, if there is something that is kind of "above and beyond", we will pay a little bit.

Quality control is my biggest issue...they might get it done, but not done well. I have one friend that said that if her kids leave a part of the bathroom below standard, that they have to clean the whole bathroom again. She said that puts an end to sloppy chores pretty quickly...we haven't quite gone there yet though! :)

Sitesx6 said...

I LOVE chore charts...my kids are great helpers. We are HUGE FANS of the chore chart. They work well in our house.

My kids have a check list- they must do everything on the list BEFORE asking for free time. I keep the check list on the fridge and change it weekly ( I just make a bunch of copies)

Here are the daily jobs they must do:
Make bed
Brush teeth
Take vitamins
feed cats
Practice the piano for 30 min.

and then daily they each have a different job to do-one extra job Monday, one job Tues...ect....

They include:
Scrub entry way floors (I taught them to do this and they do a great job)

Clean sinks in house
Clean mirrors
Clean inside of windows
Vac upstairs
Vac Downstairs (and the stairs)
Clean the tubs
Water plants

Then we taught them to ask, "Mom is there anything else I can do to help you" before running off to play....and I might add: dishwasher, put clothes in dryer, fold clothes, etc...

They get paid $10.00 per month - and give $3 of that $10 to put towards our sponsor child for Compassion, plus they tithe from the $10...it gives them a chance to earn money and learn how to spend/save....but they know we are a family and we all have jobs to do.

Our system works great for our family, they are really learning a lot of great jobs, and I spot check them once in awhile to be sure they are done right. :)

PS our kids are 11 (twins) they have been doing jobs since they were about 4

Moriah @ Please Pass the Salt said...

We always had chores and we always had a weekly allowance. I don't think they were connected; meaning we didn't get more if we did more. My parents followed your philosophy that if you're a family, you help out. But they also wanted us to learn about money, hence the allowance.

My kids? Not quite yet...

Oh, also, we've had dry-erase "art" on our fridge for a really long time - any tips on getting old marker off?

Elizabeth said...

I was secretly hoping someone would do a post like this because I am notoriously bad at making up and sticking to a chore chart. I get that from my mom:) Every 6 months or so she would make a new one, but within a week we had forgotten all about it. Anyway, I need all the help I can get. It's an area I definitely need to be more consistent in with my kids.

I never got paid for chores, and we only pay our kids for "extras." They have a certain amount they each have to put towards our two Compassion kids, and that is very motivating for them. The one thing they each have to do in addition to regular chores is help with their baby sister. My oldest (10) is quite capable and can do some of the bigger things, like her bath. My 6-year old can play with her in his room for a while. It's great help!

Cathy said...

Love it! Thanks for reminding me that I really have been wanting to do this. I mean, they do things, I just don't a chart and they need to be doing more.

Oh, don't forget...water the plants!! ...my kids actually like this one! And sometimes, I have them do germ duty by going around and wiping down doorknobs, lightswitches, etc....

And we've been TALKING about an allowance which will, of course, be accompanied by chores...

Mama Voss said...

My kids love to vacuum... floors, stairs and the car. I've also started having them sweep. They don't get everything, but that is okay. I prefer to clean my own kitchen, so they are only responsible for clearing their place at the table.

Gretchen said...

Great ideas, both from you and your readers, Mer. Lurve the fridge idea. Except, my fridge is a bit textured. And my handwriting stinks. Our answer to that is personal white boards, so that the kids can erase their to-dos when finished. I'll let you know when I follow up with that with more than 80% accuracy. Or 50% for that matter. But you've inspired me.

My kids get a flat allowance every month, and they have direct deposit savings from this, as well. They get the allowance more for learning to budget and for incidentals more than for actual job payment. We're going to have a (another--ahem) tutorial on proper bathroom cleaning and poop scooping again veddy, veddy soon. Then, if not done correctly, I fear a loss of privilege will be invoked.

Because I'm the mean mom.

*carrie* said...

Appreciated this post, Mer. And I sent the link to Monica because she was just mentioning wanting to do a chore chart!

Nathan is just 2 1/2 but I'm amazed at how much he can help with if I ask him. Just found a link to this great article via another blog:

IdahoAngie said...

Our kids do have chores. Though probably not any different then yours.

The only difference in pay is... they don't get paid if they whine about a chore or say they did a chore and only half did it or try to hide things. So their stubborn little selves have learned that in order to get paid for doing their chores they need to do them without complaining and to do it right and follow through. The only thing they are not allowed to do is have anything to do with the making of meals unless there is an adult present because they are messy and we don't like messy because even after they clean up their mess it still looks like they never cleaned up their mess.

Amber said...


Our chore list looks a lot like yours. Very similar chores.

We established an allowance system this year. Each of our kids has the opportunity to earn their age in money every 2 weeks (Keaton can earn $8, Sawyer $7, and Tate $5). The catch is that in order to earn their allowance they have to go "above-and-beyond". We have set chores that they HAVE to do, just because they are part of the family. But...if they do "extra" jobs to help out, or do things without being asked, then I keep track of whether they went above-and-beyond enough to earn their allowance. The boys have really jumped in and done their regular chores without complaint and then work hard each day to beat their brothers to extra jobs they find that need to be done. It's worked so far....we'll see. I feel a lot better about paying them for extra jobs, than jobs that they should do just because they are part of the family.

Did I tell you I LOVE your refridgerator chart....so cute!

Kendra said...

If my brother or I ever DARED to say we were bored, we were given the job of dusting the baseboards. Lots of fun. You might want to add it to your mom's choice list.

Angie @ Flibbertigibberish said...

Man. This post came not a moment too soon. Chores just might be what get us through the summer. ;)

I have to figure out age-appropriate chores for my 3 and 5 year olds. I'll let Brody off the hook this year.

We've not ever started official chores yet and they certainly don't get money for anything (yet). Our problem is getting them to do what they're asked in the first place. Is there any kind of discipline if your kids DON'T do their chores, besides not getting money? My kids just aren't that motivated by stickers or rewards... they're weird I guess. We've told them before that they've got to stay in their room until it's clean, and it's been hours later. One day, it was an ENTIRE day. We felt bad, but...

Today proved this could be a long summer. Sorry to pour it out on you! :)

Jackie said...

Well, I'm not quite to this stage in life yet, but I am looking forward to it - assigning chores? Pretty sure I'll be good at that! :) I would've never thought of putting it right on the fridge - genius! I'm taking lots of mental notes....

His Girl said...

We go back and forth on paid or unpaid work. Currently, there are things you HAVE to do as a member of this family, and there are chores you CAN do to earn $ IF your regular chores are done.


Christen said...

We are the same way, school year it's just the basics but summer I make chore charts! I've tried a lot of different things (never just the fridge) but this year I was planning on printing one for each of them then slipping it in one of those plastic page protectors and letting them check it off on there and wipe and reuse. I might make my 3 1/2 year old a simple one with pictures this year. Pretty same list, I have my daughter also empty the dishwasher, and empty litter box, son does dog poop, sometimes mows the yard, takes trash out of the whole house then to curb, they each put away their own laundry, vacuum out the van/wash it too. We don't pay them, we tell them the same thing, you are part of this family and helped make the mess, you help clean it. I've also told them they get to enjoy privileges like being in sports and stuff.

Shanda said...

School is out and I am officially catching up in blogland and at home!

We have never pd for chores; but I do "spot check" their areas 2x a week (any time that I choose - so they always have to be on their toes! *But I try to be fair*) They keep the same area (bathroom, play room, etc.) for a whole week at a time. When I "spot check" IF they have been doing a good job they get a "bonus" of 50 cents. So they can earn a dollar a week if they are doing their chores well.

I may offer the kids the opportunity this year to weed for $. We have had rain, rain, rain and our weeds are taking over everywhere!

We haven't began a formal "allowance" yet. But we do encourage them to tithe, save, etc. when they receive money from jobs, birthdays, etc.

Thank you for sharing all of your ideas!