Renee from About the Garden has had huge success with this chore chart for her kids.
I’ve always strived to have my children participate in household chores, but haven’t always been successful. As I heard myself ask for the tenth time, “Pick up those toys!” I realised the need to review my method and put more of the responsibility and ownership of particular chores back onto to the kids, rather then me spotting a problem and — as my husband would say — nagging everyone until the task is complete.
So I decided to create a chore chart.
My children are aged 3 and 6, I wanted a chore chart that was interactive, tactile, yet appropriate for both ages. I also had a few additional considerations: my 3-year-old is a keen artist and has been known to create works of art on the walls with felt markers, and the 6-year-old is a repeat offender when it comes to using anything sticky (stickers, sticky tape etc) to decorate polished floor boards, cabinets and furniture. Needless to say, I didn’t want a chore chart with felt markers OR stickers. So I opted for fridge magnets and this is what we did.
Old fridge magnets (or you can find strips of magnetics at places like Officeworks)
Nail Polish (colour for each child)
2 pieces of A4 Paper or light card (one with the words Today’s Chores and one with Finished Chores)
1. I like to recycle and reuse things around the home, so rather then using magnetic tape, I had the children cut up strips of old calendar magnets that were no longer being used. We then glued the strips to wooden pegs and left to dry.
2. Whilst waiting for the glue to dry, I typed a list of age appropriate chores for each child (I found this article helpful). I encouraged the children to give suggestions on chores they might like to do, like feeding the dogs and watering the pot plants. I then printed and cut out the chores into strips, which were then glued onto the other side of the wooden pegs.
3. Once the glue dried, I let each child pick a nail polish colour to mark their chores pegs. I decided on nail polish over paint as our fridge has a water dispenser and paper on the fridge often gets wet.
4. Print or write the words Today’s Chores and Finished Chores on a respective pieces of paper (different coloured paper works well) and the kids can easily see what they have to do each day and move it to the done page once completed. It works better to fix the paper to the fridge with blu-tack or double sided tape rather than magnets (so they don’t fall off easily). I’ve found this method really useful, as I can select each morning what their tasks for the day will be, an added benefit when I’m the early worker in our home and not around in the mornings to get them ready for school or family day care.
The secret to making this Chore Chart really work is for every member of the family to embrace it. My husband has been great and has found the visuals on the fridge really useful in reminding him of what the children need to be doing in the morning before drop off (and yes! I have consider making a set for him too, it is widely acknowledge and joked about in our home that he suffers from an acute case of domestic blindness…. hehehehehe….. potential Father’s Day gift?). Secondly, there’s no crime in making chore time fun. We’ve had competitions to see who can fold the best towel, time trials for floor clean up and had serious philosophical discussions on were missing socks might be holidaying this summer (seriously, were do they go?).
I am thrilled to say it is WORKING! In fact, there has been very few arguments about chores, they are actually asking what else they have left for the day and even making up a few more of their own.
Currently there are no monetary rewards attached to our chore chart. I do expect that my 6 year old will raise this question further down the track, but for now I am focusing on ‘core’ chores around the home that just need to be done. In my view, pocket money chores are in addition to these, such as ironing, washing the car, weeding the garden. This is similar to the agreement I had with my parents growing up, I always felt it was a fair one.
Do you use a chore chart at home? I’d love to hear what you’ve found works well in your home and what has been a bit of a flop (it happens).