A few weeks ago for my I Love Friday… post, I gathered a ton of ideas for chore charts for children of all ages. As usual, perusing the internet for ideas gets me inspired! It was definitely time to do our own chore chart. However, I wasn’t quite sure which version to choose. There are so many, and of course you also have to customize them with your own children in mind as well as your own house (and what you would actually want them to do with minimal supervision). My stepson (R) just turned 5 and my stepdaughter (K) is 7, but they are rather far from each other on the spectrum of understanding and following directions. K wouldn’t need much direct supervision/direction and could follow multi-step directions to a tee, but R would require all of my attention. I knew I needed some easy chores for my stepson and some harder chores for my stepdaughter. And we also decided to assign allowance amounts to each chore as well. We hope they’ll start to understand money a little better.
The most amazing thing happened. I announced that we would be starting chores today, because we all live in our house (we have them every other week) and all need to take care of it. I even admitted that our current system is just not working…our house is a perpetual disaster (to which they looked around with fresh eyes and nodded). I was feigning excitement for the chores but prepared myself for groans and moans. But before that could happen, I slapped their chore chart sheets in front of them, which immediately drew their attention. R checked out the graphics, and K ogled the items with three quarters next to them rather than one.
I told them that I want to try to do at least one chore per night, but if they want to earn extra money they can do more than one. While I’m explaining this, R exclaims, “THE TOILET! I WANT TO CLEAN THE TOILET!” — and then — ” DO I GET TO DO BOTH TOILETS?”
I tried to stifle my laughter and be supportive that yes, he can clean both toilets and he will get double the money! K busted out gut-laughing and I had to explain to her that if R wants to clean the toilets, he certainly can. Then we don’t have to do it *wink wink*.
Both kids got to work immediately. Then they asked to do more chores….and when those were done, they asked to do MORE chores. They nearly had the whole list tackled in one night! I actually had to stop them from doing chores because it was getting late and I was planning to reward them with getting to decorate their own allowance jar.
(We used clean formula jars and covered them with paper, and the kids decorated them with markers, stickers, and wood letters that I helped them to glue them on. We cut a slit in the top to push coins through.)
Our chore list is going well. Every day they have actually asked me if they can do chores, I don’t have to ask them! It is totally refreshing. Of course, I have to give them direction and some supervision, depending on the chore.
A few days after the chores began (we only had R that night) we took R to a local frozen yogurt place. On our way home we drove by an in-ground pool/spa store, and this is the conversation we had:
R: I wish we could have a pool like that!!
Me: When you become a millionaire you can buy a pool like that.
Me: Do you know how to become a millionaire? Be really really good at something.
Husband: What are you really good at buddy?
(a split second’s thought and he proudly proclaimed –)
R: I CLEAN TOILETS REALLY GOOD!!
So look out, World. R will be some super extraordinaire toilet engineer and will become a millionaire! And it’s all because of a chore chart.
The second awesome benefit that I mentioned previously (besides my stepson becoming a millionaire part) is that whole understanding money thing. We ran out of quarters to give, so this was the perfect opportunity to exchange quarters for dollars. Of course, R felt that a dollar was worth more than his entire SLEW of quarters and was very upset when his sister received one dollar and he received only 6 quarters. We did some exchanges and all was set. The next day, Grandma was in town and wanted to take the kids to Space Aliens (for those unfamiliar with the small franchise, it’s similar to Chuckie Cheese). K exclaimed that she would bring one of her dollars to pay for tokens. Ahh, yes. Let’s see how many games you can play with that one dollar! We told her to save it for something else, but did show her how many (ahem…how few?) tokens one dollar would have purchased. It really seemed to open her eyes. That is, until the next day when she asked why we don’t have a new car.
Our charts will continue to evolve, but for us this was a great starting point. It was very easy to put the actual charts together. I am keeping a list of what they do so we know what has already been done this week and to also keep track of how much money each child has earned. Once we have this down I can start thinking of other chores to add to the list for more options, and will most likely put a little more effort into a chart like the ideas I posted recently.