In our home, (like many others I'm sure) we have difficulties getting our girls to consistently do their chores. We've tried bribery. We've tried allowances. We've even tried work contracts (which actually work really well but are only good for a short term).
Our end goal was to get our older daughter to form a chore routine and we decided to go with the classic chore chart (I had to, of course, use some cute fonts and clipart to make it cute!).
Now, a chore chart is not a new idea by any means and, the spin we put on it is probably not new either.
We had our daughter help us think of chores that she could do on her own or learn pretty quickly. We had her choose 10 chores that needed to be done on a daily basis. This is what we came up with...
We had her start out with really fast simple chores that would help us out a bit but also wouldn't take her 20 minutes for each one. We were hoping to help build her confidence and her sense of responsibility rather than having her clean the whole house on a daily basis.
The nice thing is that we can go in and change the chores to suit her (and our) needs. For example, the first time we did the chart, we had homework as one of her chores. Now that we're on summer break, homework is no longer applicable. So we were able to not only take that out and substitute it for something else, but we could also make the chores a bit more challenging.
We also learned from our mistakes the first time around. The original chore chart had the chores down the left and days across the top. Sounds simple enough but, for a 7-year old, having to follow the chores across and fill in under the right day (Friday for example), she would sometimes fill in the wrong day and chaos would ensue. So, the second time around, we put the chores in gray so we could still read them but it was still easy enough for her to check off the chores when she was done with them.
Now, once the chore chart was printed, we simply put it in a cheap $1 frame since the glass of the frame acts as a dry erase board. Once the week is up, we pay her said allowance, erase the chart, and start all over again on Saturday.
"But what happens if she doesn't do all her chores?" Well, I'm glad you asked! When making the chore chart, we explained the basic idea of how to use it and promised that, if she did all of her chores each day, she would earn $5 at the end of the day on Friday. However, for every chore she didn't do, she lost 10¢. Now, like I said before, she has 10 chores each day for 7 days. A little simple math tells us that that makes $7, not $5. That's part of the deal that we made very clear to her. If she did all the chores, she got $5. But, if she did no chores, she would OWE US $2. So not only would she lose the $5, but she would also be in the red to make up for the other chores she didn't do.
Finally, as an added bonus, we put a "bonus chore" section on the bottom. These are the chores that we know she is fully capable of doing but they take longer and really only need to be done once a week. This way, if she wanted to earn a little extra money and she didn't have anything else to do, she could do the bonus chores and earn an extra dollar for each one.
Does the chore chart work? So far, she has yet to ever owe us money for doing too few chores. However, she also has yet to make $5 or more in any given week. She hasn't gotten to the point where she does all her chores every day but, the fact that she will do chores with little to no argument is blessing in itself!
Want to try the chore chart yourself? Just click the picture below to find an editable version of the chart we used!