Someone was interested so I thought I would share our newly devised chore system. We have two daughters (Ages 5 & 3) and have recently begun a new system for getting things done around the house. Except it accomplishes so much more. It certainly is not perfect and we revise it nearly weekly. For now it works for us to accomplish some goals we have for our family. Before I describe the system, here are some of the things its getting done BESIDES helping our house look abnormally clean.
- Confidence – We have noticed HUGE changes in our daughters’ assurance in their own abilities to accomplish tasks.
- Money – Yes, allowance is associated with part of our system. They are learning at an early age how to manage it.
- Bonding – Nothing brings a dad closer to his daughters like being able to encourage them, dote on them, show them grace, and challenge them to raise their own standards.
- Routine – There’s never any guessing what is expected and when. There is a rhythm to our day and the whole family is better for it.
- Me time – I have more time to do things on MY list because I am no longer doing things THEY can do!
So… How does our system work? The key to our system is adaptability. We needed to be able to make small changes to our system without it messing up the routines the girls desperately need. So each day the girls have seven chores they need to do. They are supposed to do these chores every day. We chose seven for the simple reason that the chore charts Krista found at Target had seven spots. Each day at chore time, they go down the list and after each chore is completed they get to put a sticker on the chart.
A few words about chores and age-appropriateness. Our daughter’s chore charts each have different chores on them. At 3 years old, our younger daughter is working on basic tasks – making her bed, getting dressed, picking up her toys, etc. These are on her chore chart because she is still learning to do them. Eventually, they will become things that she is just required to do without any compensation. Our 5 year old has a “first things” routine every morning. When her alarm clock goes off (yes, we set an alarm clock for her) she is to make her bed, get dressed and say a good morning prayer. She does these and doesn’t get a sticker. As adults there are things we have to do around the house that we do not get paid for and as children they must learn that certain things we do because we are members of the family and other things we do because its our job and we get paid. Our 5 year old waters plants, washes windows, and empties bathroom trash cans among other things. These are sticker chores. She is old enough that when we tell her its time to do chores, she is able to complete them with little oversight from us, freeing us up to supervise and help our younger daughter.
So what happens if your child’s bed looks like it was made by a preschooler? Well… if your child is a preschooler, CONGRATS! She did it perfectly! Give lots of hugs and encouragement and tell her how proud of her you are. Jump down the hall together and put a sticker on the board! Doing age-appropriate chores is lots of fun when you hype it up like this. It’s easy to sacrifice having an immaculate home when you are focused on giving a boost to your kids’ self-concept. Don’t rob this from them by going back behind them and re-doing the job. If it bothers you that much get tags to put around the house that say “Cleaned with pride by an incredible 5-year old!” or “I dressed myself today!” All your house guests will get the idea!
At the end of the week we take the charts of the fridge and sit down to dish out allowance. Our older daughter gets 1 dime for each sticker on her chart. Our younger gets 1 nickel for each sticker. On their turn we hand them a handful of dimes or nickels and they get to cover up each sticker with the coin. This helps them know that they are getting paid for the work they have done. Once all of the stickers are covered up we have them count out ten coins from the chart. 1 out of every ten goes into their church bank, 1 out of ten goes into their “bank” bank and the other 8 they get to do with as they please. They could put the rest in their “spend” bank but most weeks they decide to evenly disperse the money between all three. We continue to do this counting out 10 coins and separating them out until all the coins are off the chart. We then remove the stickers and start the week over!
Feel free to comment with what has worked for you in your house! I love to hear new ideas about getting kids to become more responsible!