Friday, March 8, 2013

Chore Cards

I've been reading "The Parenting Breakthrough: A Real-Life Plan to Teach Your Kids to Work, Save Money, and be Truly Independent" by Merrilee Browne Boyack.  Although I disagree with her that, "The ultimate goal of raising children is to help them out of our lives and into successful lives of their own," she has a lot of good information.  I think "interdependence" is a higher goal, but "independence" is needed first, so that's where we start.

One of the best things in her book is a large list of age appropriate chores.  Everyone's list would probably be different, but it's good to have a starting point!  I thought of a fun way to display the jobs of the day.
I loved this project because it was conceived of and completed--all before lunch!  That's my kind of project.  For the picture, I used this free template, and I used a frame and hooks I already had.  Nails sticking out perpendicularly would work too.  The complete stack of cards is hanging above the two frames in the kitchen.  If you didn't want to draw your own pictures, I'm sure you could find some good chore printables.  I used some of Boyack's jobs, and added some.

Daily Jobs

Brush teeth
Brush hair
Make bed

Rotating Jobs

Put utensils away
Pick up 30 things
Set table
Take out recyclables
Clean room
Put clean clothes away
Sweep ______
Put books away
Pick up puzzles
Unload dishwasher
Wash dishes
Help in the yard
Daddy's helper
Mommy's helper

Almost all of those jobs could be fitted to the ability of the child.  I give my 4.5 year old the three daily jobs, two rotating jobs, and a card that says "practice reading" (he has a list of words, and he learns a new word every day and we read a book together).  My 2.5 year old has his daily jobs, and one rotating job.  I will probably be adding a "practice letters" or something on his job list soon.  

I wanted the jobs to be something I wasn't nagging about, but something they just knew they had to do, and I wanted them to get the sense that it was better to do the jobs early.  So, as an incentive for early completion, they get a 15 min iPad turn if they finish their jobs before breakfast, 10 min if finished before lunch, and 5 if they finish before Andrew comes home.  They need to do the jobs before dinner.  Also, I will help them, on my terms, with some of their jobs: "I am available to help you clean your room right now.  If you don't come now, you'll need to do it on your own."

This system has really worked for us.  I have been surprised how much the boys have taken to this system!  They actually really love waking up and checking their chore cards!  After the first week, I removed all their cards, and hung a "cookie" from each hook.  When Abraham saw it, he said, "Those aren't chores!" And as he ate the cookies, he gave himself his daily jobs, and two of his favorite rotating jobs.

Boyack recommends a strick training schedule, which we might implement in the future.  For now, I want them to have positive association with chores and think of them as "doable."  I know the boys well enough to know when they've made an honest effort, and I give them little pointers as they go.

What has worked for you?  Do you have some kind of a chart or pocket system?  What chores do your children do?


  1. Cute, Ariel. We've done charts in the past that Sammy's helped create, but I like this more permanent fixture. Thanks for the idea!

    Daniel (2) can set the table, put silverware away, clean up toys. Sammy (4) can vacuum, empty the trash, and help in the garden. They're also responsible to keep clothes, hats, shoes in their drawers, and have toys put away before nap and again before bedtime. They'd love the iPad incentive.

    Sammy also has to practice the piano each day and do a reading lesson from The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading (which I've loved. Been meaning to do a review on it).

    Sounds like an interesting book!

  2. Thanks for the idea, Ariel. I love the chores lists from both you and Nonie. It's always nice to share such ideas!

  3. Hey, where did you get the little frames?

    1. They were just ones I had lying around. I decided it was cheaper and easier to paint ones I had than buy new ones. They are just 5x7.