If you’ve been parenting for any amount of time, you’ve seen the Pinterest pins and blog posts about chore charts. I’ve seen them. I’ve used them. I’ve even created one that was personalized for my unique kiddos 😉
Researching for this post, I googled “kids chore charts” and wow . There are so many options, so many. I could even pay (uhh, waste) $79 for one. And you know where that chart would likely end up? In a pile of stuff for me to declutter when I don’t have the energy or follow-through to keep up with it.
But no more complicated systems for me!!! I recently discovered my own 2 part system that works for my kiddos.
Back in December I realized I don’t need a complicated system. About a week before Christmas, we returned from a short vacation. We travel with a 5th wheel RV, so there’s a bit more to unpacking than just doing laundry. The boys and I had unloaded most everything from our camper, and even done some laundry.
But I still needed to do one last run through to make sure nothing important was left in our camper before we returned it to storage. I also needed to put some other things like clean sheets & blankets back in it and help the hubs winterize it.
Part 1- An incentive
It was literally 8 day till Christmas and I had not made one cookie or wrapped any presents. The boys had asked to play Batman on the Wii after lunch. We are fairly strict with screen time in our house due to the sensory needs of our oldest and our parenting style in general, so the boys have to get permission before jumping on the Wii.
I let them know they could play some AFTER they did their conditioning exercises for Tae Kwondo & AFTER they picked up random Legos and toys that had not made it back to their rooms from our trip. After lunch they started picking up some, but then got distracted by the toys they were suppose to be putting away.
My youngest was playing with our Lego Christmas train and the oldest was rebuilding a marble run with the Gravitrax system they had just received for Christmas from my in-laws. I was drinking my second cup of coffee and talking to the hubs who was still eating lunch.
Part 2- The List
As I started to remind the boys for the second or third time that they couldn’t play on the Wii until they completed the tasks I gave them, I stopped. I really didn’t want to discourage their creative play to get them on the Wii faster. So, I instead I started a list. A “To Do List” works for me, so why not for the boys I thought?
I listed the few responsibilities they had. A little while later, M finished his lunch and I finished my coffee. Before we headed out to the camper, I called the boys over and gave them the list. I told them they could continue playing as long as they wanted, but they needed to see me with the finished list before turning on the Wii.
The hubs and I headed out to the camper and left the boys happily playing. A while later, my oldest came out to the camper to tell me he needed me to hold his feet for his sit-ups. They had been working on the list. I finished what I had been helping M with and went inside to help with sit-ups. I saw that, for the most part, the legos had been put away and the gravitrax were in their box.
Our youngest informed me that he had done his mountain climbers and push ups. Our oldest had added to the end of the list “Play Wii Batman.” I was pretty excited and, to be completely honest, surprised at how well the simple list worked.
Why it worked for us….
- It’s visual. I am a visual learner and the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I could tell my kids ten times what they need to do, but for it to really sink it, they need to see it.
- It shifted the responsibility into their hands. I didn’t need to stay and nag about chores, and I could go about my own tasks without feeling like I was wasting my time hovering. The work got done and everyone moved on.
- They were motivated.
Since then, I have started a notebook with a list of school work for my oldest on our homeschool days. It has worked just as well!!! What I love about this “system” is its simplicity. There is no weekly list of jobs or assignments.
There are no stickers to give out for completed jobs. Stickers that I either can’t find or forget to use. There is just what needs to be done now before we can do something else. Just yesterday, I used my incentive and list system again.
In the morning, my oldest had asked to check out a new Batman ap (incentive) he had seen in an instruction booklet of a Lego set. He also knew that it was the day he was suppose to clean his room and do some other chores. So, I started a list for each boy and let them know they could check out the new ap when they were finished.
Some chores that made the list this time like cleaning floors and vacuuming the stairs, still require my supervision so I stayed available while the boys were working. But having the list in front of them, they plowed through their jobs without me reminding them what they still needed to do. When they were finished, they checked out the Batman game and I finished up some chores of my own.
I’m so happy about this simple system that is working for our family that I want to share. Do you have any simple systems that help manage your home? Feel free to share in the comments.