My children are like most children and have an aversion to anything that looks like work. I realized that in order to keep from doing everything for them for the rest of their lives, I had to get them used to their chores with some kind of habit-forming system. Here's what I came up with:
- I decided on the chores of which my children were capable and which would be most helpful to me. I bought several different colors of index cards and let them each pick their color. Jessica chose purple and Jeffery chose green.
- I wrote one chore on each of their cards. They each got a Make Bed chore, for example, so I wrote those words on a purple card and on a green card.
- I wanted the chore to be listed simply with as few words as possible, yet some of them needed explanation until they learned to do it effectively. If a chore needed explanation, I just listed the steps to it on the back of the card. For example, the "Clean Room" card might need a list like this: 1) Pick up dirty clothes. 2) Pick up toys. 3) Close dresser drawers. 4) Clean closet., etc.
- For my non-reader, I wrote the words and a picture of the chore under the words.
- I put their cards in a little basket that hangs on their bedroom door. This is their "mailbox" that has their "mission" in it. (Have to make it sound exciting, y'know!) When my daughter wakes up, she checks the mailbox and does her chores in order. Two of her last cards are "Wake up Jeffery" and "Help him start his chores".
- The last card is "Check with Mom". Then, I check to make sure the jobs are done and remind them to return their cards to the "mailbox" for the next day.
- A few of their chores are extras for which we pay commissions (thank you, Dave Ramsey!) Those cards have a little star on them so they remember that those cannot be skipped or they will not receive a commission for them.
I'd love to hear about your chore systems! Please leave me a comment or an e-mail about them!