I hear from a lot of families who struggle to find a simple AND effective system for getting their kids to do chores consistently. We would all love to find a system that does not involve constant nagging, or inconsistencies. (Or just giving up and doing it all ourselves because sometimes that’s just easier, right?)
Well, I spent years trying…and failing…to find a system that would work for my boys. And since by nature I’m not the most organized person, I was beginning to blame myself and nearly just gave up.
And then I tried something new. And it worked. Like magic.
Seriously — we are on our fifth year of using one simple system, and my boys are completely independent. Like auto-pilot. It is possible, parents. It really is!
Following is a slightly edited post from a few years ago here on the blog. Since there are so many new readers here, and I get asked this question a lot, I thought it was time to share again.
(Note: I had a YouTube video in this post originally but at some point it got deleted — oops! so I hope the written version is clear enough!)
OUR CHORE SYSTEM: Our chore system is not at all fancy, or complicated. In fact, it is the most simple system I have tried. But it works for us, and that says a lot.
A little closer-up look at our chore chart. Sorry about the sloppy writing. It’s only because…I have sloppy writing.
(You’ll still get the idea, I think.)
An example of one of the weekly rotating chores:
A couple notes:
1. Before I assigned any of these chores, I have made sure to walk each boy through each of their chores. This takes some time early on. You don’t want to give them the chore of “mopping floors,” until they know exactly how you like your floors mopped. Training at the beginning is key to successful chores later.
2. Our actual chore chart has ( a lot) more on each card than the ones I show here. For example on list C above, I have scribbled in “use stainless steel cleaner to wipe down microwave, dishwasher, and fridge” under weekly, because I realized that would be part of a weekly kitchen cleaning.
I reserve the right to change lists at any time–so kids need to keep checking their list! 🙂
3. A couple common questions:
A. What do we do if someone neglects their chores? Well, that’s a tough one. First of all, there is plenty of peer pressure from the whole family to get chores done, (“we’re all in this together!”) so that rarely happens. However, if it seems someone is slacking in their chores we will either A. Dock their pay, B. add extra chores to their list, or C. Take away a privilege (free time activity, etc.) It totally depends on the circumstances, so the answer to this question varies.
B. How would you apply this to less or more children? More children is easy–just add more cards AND MORE WORK! 🙂 (the beauty of big families, haha.) If you have two kids, I think you can follow my example, and simply divide your most needed chores in half, alternating weekly. With just ONE child, I still think having a rotating system is helpful. If their weekly chores vary a little bit, it keeps things interesting, and there might be a little more motivation than doing ALL of the same chores every week.
C. How much money do we pay, and how do the kids manage it? As I said in the video, WE choose to give our boys a dollar per grade level that they are in. (9th grade= $9, 4th grade = $4, etc.) I don’t remember when that started, but it seems to work for us. As they need more money for things, they can always do extra chores (especially bigger jobs outside for Dad,) and earn more money.
Side note: I know some families don’t believe in paying their kids for chores because they want the kids to do work simply because they are part of the family, and that is totally fine, too. The reason I DO pay my boys is so that they then can learn how to manage small amounts of money well, and begin to use some of their own money for things that we normally buy for them. There are plenty of lessons to be learned in all of these things, so it gives us something tangible to work with!
As for how to manage the money: We have our boys divide their weekly pay into three envelopes: One for giving, one for saving, and one for spending. See below:
You can get nit-picky here, but our boys usually just round it out…Josiah (9th grade, $9,) might put $1 in GIVING, and both SAVE and SPEND $4. Pretty simple!
As for the “giving” envelope, our boys give approximately 10% of their allowance to either the church (like a tithe,) or to a specific ministry/fundraiser that they have a heart for: They might give to a specific mission, a group that saves children out of trafficking, or whatever might be on their heart.
I hope this gives you a little inspiration for how you might do chores in your home!
I’d love to hear about it if you have a great system as well. Or, if you grew up with a great system, etc…I’m also interested in how you help your own kid manage their money. (How much do you pay them, IF you pay?) Also, feel free to ask questions, or leave a comment!
And as always, if you found this helpful in any way, please don’t forget to share, and PIN. 😉