Adding chores to the kids’ weekly routine is something I’m just now getting around to (in any sort of organized way, that is). At 4 and 8, I know they’re plenty old enough to handle a certain amount of chores. But quite honestly, I wasn’t organized enough myself to even dole them out on a regular basis.
Jillian’s one main chore was supposed to be setting the table for dinner. It worked fairly well over the summer (on the days that I actually remembered to remind her to do it). But once school started, I found that many evenings, she’s trying to get her homework done before dinner, and I just hate to ask her to stop working.
I decided I needed a system. A conclusion I have come to many different times, about many different chaotic aspects of my life. Some of my systems work, while plenty of others fail, mostly because I just don’t follow them. Yikes!
A system, yes. But a SIMPLE and EASY to follow/understand/maintain one.
In a feeble attempt at chores about 6 months ago, I bought this chart at Target:
Write a chore on the left, put a star in the daily columns when the chore is completed. Seemed simple enough. WRONG. When there is more than one child, you have to figure a way to split the chores up, or divide the days that each child does a particular chore.
I tried. I really did. But even for my pretty-darn-organized brain, this just wasn’t happening.
So I did what I always do when I need help creating something – I logged onto Pinterest.
I really didn’t see anything that was exactly what I had in mind, but from looking at all the unique and completely do-able variations on there, I decided to make my own using magnets.
Here’s what I did:
This was yet another Pinterest idea. Make your own magnets! I bought clear glass beads, glue and magnet backs. I then printed out a sheet of chores, complete with pictures for my 4-year-old, small enough to fit on a glass bead.
Then I glued the beads onto the pictures, like so…
When they dry, cut the paper, around the edges of the beads, and it works perfectly. Glue a magnet on the back, and voila! Chore magnets!
(Note: If you attempt to make your own magnets like I did, I found out that it’s better to use a stiff paper, like cardstock.)
Now, remember that old Target dry erase chore chart? Well, it didn’t go to waste! I covered it with some fabric we had lying around (just hot glued it on the back), and used some ribbon as section dividers. Then I printed out the labels on some cardstock and taped them on.
I decided on this layout:
I put all the magnets at the top under “Chores.” Each day that I want them to do certain chores, I move them down to “To Do” under their names. I made duplicate magnets of most of the chores, so they each have a “Put Backpack Away,” “Put Toys Away,” “Clean Your Room,” etc.
I added a “Get Money” magnet for the one day a week that they complete their main chores, like sweeping, dusting and cleaning their rooms. Then they’ll get their allowance on that day.
Once a chore is done, they move it from “To Do” to “Done.” This way it’s easy for them to see what I expect them to do, and they take some responsibility in the chores, too. It’s not just me barking at them, “Go clean your room, it’s a mess!” (I’ve tried that approach with very limited results. Hence the chore chart.)
I think this is going to work out very well!