I think it’s safe to say every parent wishes for their kids to be hard workers, but how do we do this!? One way is to have them help out around the house, and this also happens to help the burden placed on the parents to keep the house clean! It should be a win win right? Then why is it so hard!?
We have tried A LOT of different chore chart and ways to have them help pick up after themselves. I feel this is one area that will always keep evolving as your family evolves but also as you or your kids get bored. One day I’ll write a list out of all the different ways we’ve tried to get our kids to do chores but for now, know there are many!
Thankfully, and prayerfully, we’ve landed on one that has worked for a few months and is still going strong! I created it because we kept running into a common problem. I’d ask everyone to clean up and the following things would happen: two or three of my children would start cleaning, two or three would pick up one thing and on the way to slowly put it away seemed to be contemplating the meaning of life, and the others wouldn’t try to clean at all but would just continue playing. So the house was cleaned by the same two or three kids while the others only cleaned up one or two things because they knew their brothers would pick up their slack. This was fine when we were in survival mode but I needed to help my children learn responsibility and the satisfaction of a job well done!
The set up: I took 7 colored papers and labeled each day of the week on a different color, though it would work fine with just white as well. I listed my children down one side giving the smaller two a buddy and including myself, I wanted them to SEE that mom does clean too and also so I can make sure that area was deep cleaned at least once a week! Next to each name I wrote a job for them to do; I chose chores that all ages could do knowing some would be easy for some and harder for others. I wanted to make sure there were 7 people and 7 chores so they would have a different chore each day. When I went to the next sheet, I did the same thing but rotated the chores. Instead of rotating the chores in order, I skipped two children then wrote the chore, so it wasn’t as predicable. When I finished with each day of the week, each person has a different chore each day.
I hang the papers on a clipboard on the fridge so they could be seen easily and referred to often. My children are not allowed to play with any friends or watch any screens until their chores are done. If their chore is not finished before bedtime, they will have to do that same chore the next day PLUS their new chore. If they choose not to do any chores again, the new jobs keep adding to their list of jobs. And the boys’ favorite part: if their brother didn’t do his chore but it’s now your chore, you don’t have to do a chore that day! For example: If Steven didn’t clean the family room on Monday, on Tuesday he’ll have to clean the family room AND the front room. And since it’s Max’s job to clean the family room on Tuesday, Max doesn’t have to do a chore that day. This goes on until they complete their chores.
If they get their chores done each day of the week, or only missed and made up one day, they get $1 on Saturday. I figured I would gladly pay $10 a week to not have to clean so much! The first few months we did this we just gave them the dollar or went to the store and let them pick something out, but with the new year we’re having them put 10% aside for charity (tithing), 40% aside for savings, and they will get to keep 50¢. So far so good!
The benefits: This is helping our children who liked to slide under the radar with responsibility and accountability. My children who usually picked up the slack love it because they can do their one chore and not have to worry about anyone else’s. And I love it because the house gets cleaned with minimal frustrations due to the straightforward nature of it.
I should mention that there have been a few times when a child or two have not done their chores for a few days and I just can’t take the mess anymore. In these cases I give them the option to do them that night or I will do them. If mom, or someone else, does their chore they will have to pay them for the work they did. We’ve only had this happen twice and the child didn’t have any money saved up so he had to pay me in Christmas candy. So to be clear, it’s not always easy and I do still have to check and help them when the chore is not up to my level. And there is often reminding to get their chores done, but it’s worked the best for our family so far.
I’d love to hear your best chore chart/jobs that have been the most effective in your family!