Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Tip of the Day: Chore Charts

As I have previously mentioned, I don't really use chore charts consistently except for summer vacation.  I just feel like it adds one more job to the huge list of "to-do's" that I already have.  I do, however, frequently use reward charts for my little ones until they get in the habit of doing a specified job.  During school, I expect the older kids to know their required jobs, and then I just ask them for additional things.

One thing I have learned with every chore system I have used, just like any other repeated thing, it gets old.  I have had some chore charts work for a month and others work for a week.  Whatever system you use, have one waiting in the wings so that your kids don't get bored.  It will help keep them enthused and won't become more work for you.

The most frequently used chore chart, of course, is the list with space to attach a sticker, or just draw a check mark upon completion.  This is one of the systems that lasts only a week for my family.  Having said that, this system works great for very young children.  I draw a picture of the job they are expected to do, and they can't get enough of putting stickers next to it.

One of the the things that worked the best for me for the longest period of time consisted of a clown holding balloons.  Beforehand, the kids colored their own clown and I laminated them.  I then put jobs on a series of balloons and laminated them, taped on a piece of string, (so they looked like a helium balloon), and then put magnets on the back of everything.  We then stuck the clown on the refrigerator and each kid would have to complete personal daily jobs, a certain number of household jobs, and a couple of weekly jobs.  Every night, we would stick their new job balloons in the clown's extended hand and the next morning, the kids would do all of the jobs on their balloons.  Their goal was to have all of the balloons "float away".

Another system that worked well for quite a while was the "build-a-caterpillar" job system.  I cut out a bunch of circles of different colors and wrote jobs on them.  I then laminated those and attached magnets to the backs.  As the kids completed the job they picked out, they would attach that segment to the caterpillar head.  The kids loved to race and see who could build their caterpillar first.  They would sometimes even start trying to build the longest caterpillar by doing extra jobs.

Another very successful chore system was building ice cream cones.  Once again, I put jobs on "ice cream scoops", laminated them, and attached a magnet.  We would put up the cone, and then pick out "ice cream".  The kids would really get into trying to build the biggest ice cream cone.  I really liked this method because after a week of successful job completions, I would take the kids out for ice cream.  This was a great motivator.

(Bonus money-saving tip:  For the magnets I used on all of these chore systems, I would just cut up the free flat advertisement magnets you get on the front of your phone books, or from various businesses.  Small squares were strong enough to hold up many of the little things I used them for.  I would just use Elmer's glue to attach them to the item.)

There are thousands of chore charts and chore system ideas.  If you try one and it doesn't work, try another.  Be prepared to change your system often so your child stays excited over the prospect of completing chores.  Praise your children for their accomplishments.  This is the best way to "pay" them for a job well-done.  Even if a job isn't done how you think it should be done, if your child tried their best, praise them.  And then go show them a few things they could try next time.  Be patient.  A few minutes spent now will save a lot of time later.

If you have a successful chore system that has worked for you, please share your ideas here.  I love receiving feedback from my readers and know that it is helpful to others, as well.

1 comment:

  1. This is me Rusty's wife. I agree that my kids get tired of chore charts. The one I use is produced by a friend at this link.
    On the right side you'll see Abbies House. Both of these sites are my friends. But I've used these mostly in the summer but they hang on my wall year round and does pretty well on Saturdays, too. I'm changed mine a bit to add 3 performances levels: dynamite, pretty good and "try another day" and there's a list of rewards next to their charts according to how they performed. Sometimes I have to change it up. Thanks for your great ideas. Fun to read your blog.


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