Wednesday, August 31, 2011


With a new school year starting, I've been getting organized to make life run a little more smoothly.  Part of the organization is to assign daily chores.   It took me several years to come up with a good system that worked for our family.

Each child has a chore card for each day of the week.  The daily chores are written out on each card.  These chores are the same week after week.  I change the chores about once a year.  I change it up so they can learn to do a new task, but I don't change it frequently because it takes more time and effort on my part to teach the new child the responsibility.

The Chore Cards.  The child's name is written on one side.  The other side lists the day and its chores.
 It doesn't take long before the children have their chores memorized.  The cards just become a reference point for mom when she sees something isn't getting done.

The Chore Card filing system.  Each child has a slot to keep their cards in.
Why this system works for us:
1.  It cuts down on complaints.  My kids don't like things sprung on them (any more then I do).  They like to know what is expected from the beginning of the day.  I've found that they rarely complain about their daily chores.  It's just what we do.  It's the extra jobs that have to be thrown in from time to time that bring out the complaints.
2. It's a stress eliminator.   I don't have to get stressed each week thinking up what jobs need done and who they need done by.
3.  It gives me freedom.  I can be gone for a day, and the house doesn't fall into shambles.  Or I can spend extra time doing something fun with the kids.  And I can focus fully on teaching the kids during school hours.
4.  It makes for flexibility.  The children know what their responsibilities are.  Some of them get up and do them first thing in the morning.  Others will do them during break time or lunch.  And still others wait until after school.  The only stipulation on the chores is that they must be done before supper. 
 5.  It creates a spirit of unity.    It helps us to think about one another and work together for the good of the whole family.
6. It helps each individual child see that they are important.  They each have a role to fill, and they are sorely missed when they don't do their part.

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  1. You are such a great manager of your home! What do you put in the 8th slot?

  2. What a great system! I like that the main requirement is that it's done before dinner. Maybe I should make that a requirement for my own chores. hmmmm. :)

  3. Melissa, the 8th slot has extra cards in it, so if I do need to change someone's chores I grab a card and write on it.

  4. I think I need something like this to keep MYSELF on track!!

  5. Great idea. I love it also that the complaints are limited and that that can actually happen. Any suggestions for the 3 year old regarding chores? It's funny, because when I request my daughter, who is almost 8, to clean her room she consistently wants a list of what to do. I think she feels overwhelmed by the task. I think I'll try to implement this idea with her today. Just give her steps to follow and hopefully she will eventually not require me to tell her every time it comes to cleaning her room. We'll see how it works.

  6. Jennifer,
    I've found that children are often overwhelmed by even simple tasks like picking up toys. I read one time that ten toys are about all a child can realistically be responsible for taking care of. I tried limiting the number of toys we had out (put the others away temporarily), and it made an incredible difference. For a 3 year old, use pictures on the chore cards. i.e. toy box for picking up, clothing for getting dressed, toothbrush for brushing teeth.

  7. I also really like the requirement of being done by dinner. Sometimes it's hard to accommodate my procrastinator and her sister, the get-it-done-now girl. I bet that would help. What do you do if something is not done by dinnertime?