Summer, schedules, and chores go hand-in-hand. Add in the topic of allowance, and you've got a parenting debate that could span decades.
It's taken me more than a few years to fine-tune our scheduling and chore system, but I'm excited to report that THIS summer, we are off to a great start. And the kids are loving it! This also means I'm loving it too.
Our chore system is quite simple: family chores are required and are not paid; after family chores are completed, additional chores can be completed for money (25 or 50 cents).
My three main goals with this chart system:
1. Teach my kids that work equals compensation (no "free" allowance).
2. Reward my kids for helping around the house.
3. Teach my kids about being responsible with money — in the "spend some, give some, save some" method.
We use one chart for each child (starting at about age 3), and the chores are totally modifiable and can vary by the day. We update the chore progress throughout the day as tasks are completed—the kids love this part. We pay for completed tasks the following morning, and have new updated chore charts ready at the same time.
My 8-year-old's favorite aspects of this system are the detail and strategy in the chart and the goal setting. She loves knowing exactly when she needs to do to reach her goal. My 4-year-old simply loves that he has his own chart, he looks forward to checking the boxes when he completes tasks, and he loves that he gets to decide what he buys with his earned money. I love that I have a quick plan whenever I hear "I'm bored." And I really love the lessons this system teaches.
My kids' chores include tasks like:
- make your bed
- brush your teeth
- help a sibling with a task
- set the table
- water plants
- refill bathroom toilet paper supplies
- empty bathroom garbage
- pair socks in the laundry
- haul dirty laundry to the laundry room
- help do the dishes and/or load dishwasher
- feed pets
- weed the garden
- organize shoe closet
- wipe appliance exteriors
- tidy rooms or tidy toy closet
- straighten up books on the bookshelf
And I rotate in a few educational self-improvement tasks too:
- write in a journal
- build something (using wood blocks, legos, play-doh, etc)
- read for 30 minutes
- do a page in an educational activity book (handwriting, math, alphabet, etc)
- write thank you notes
- read a book to a sibling
The bottom of the chore chart has space for the kids to set their earning goals, their buying goal, and their giving/donation recipient.
The chore chart is available to print (free! right click the image below to "save image" and download the printable chore chart, and print on your printer using the setting "scale to fit page").
You can make a copy of the chore chart each day—or—save paper and laminate the chore chart, using wet-erase (overhead projector style) pens to customize the chart and track progress every day (scroll down for Amazon links).
Here are two must-have supplies we've used to make this chore system easy:
This laminator is a bargain on Amazon! I laminate each child's chore sheet so we can wipe it clean each day and update easily.
Don't forget the Vis-A-Vis wet-erase pens for writing on laminate—they're tricky to find in stores.
My master schedule is on my phone, but I also crave something visual and in a central location in our home, accessible to our whole family. This dry-erase board has been a mainstay favorite for over a year and I absolutely love its simplicity—it's totally flat and magnetizes to the front of our refrigerator. I hang it vertically and write our weekly schedule on the left side and use the right side for my day-to-day to-do list. Way too easy, right? This is also a perfect place for random tidbits like a happy birthday greeting or spelling word reminder.
I love easy little tools like this that make our lives a little more organized and a lot less chaotic.
What are your favorite chore and scheduling tools?