I am a fan of chores! My children have done chores since they could walk. Toddlers carried newly-changed diapers to the trash and helped throw away napkins after dinner. Preschoolers folded washcloths and sorted clean silverware into the right slots in the drawer. As they’ve gotten older, the chores have gotten harder.
My kids, however, aren’t always as in love with chores as I am. So how do I get them to do chores?
Here are 5 chore systems we’ve used over the years —
1. Weekly Zones/Responsibilities – Each child is responsible for one zone or job for an entire week.
2. Buddy System – Pair an older child with a younger child to do two chores for the week. The younger child learns from the older child. This helps build relationships between the children and encourages the older child to mentor and teach the younger sibling. It also works if older siblings play sports that take up an entire evening. The buddies can split up the week, so a younger buddy can cover for the older sibling on busy evenings.
3. Blitz – We do this when the house has gotten out of control or when company is coming. I make a list of every little chore that needs done, breaking big jobs down to the smallest task. Then the children start doing jobs and signing their names beside each job they do. The child who does the most may win a reward. If the chores vary a great deal in difficulty, we assign point values to each job and reward the child with the most points. It is AMAZING how quickly a house can get clean when every child works quickly to compete to get a prize.
4. One Daily/One Twice A Week — Each child is assigned a simple daily chore and a harder chore to do twice a week. The children were tired of the old zone system, so we started this chart this month. Daily chores must be finished by 7 p.m., and they have some flexibility about which days they do the twice-a-week chores. They like having some choice about when they do the work.
5. Tag Team — When a job seems completely overwhelming, this is a fun option. We have used this for a giant pile of dirty dishes or a really messy shared bedroom. The children all watch a movie or play a video game, except one child has to wash 5 dishes or pick up 5 toys off the bedroom floor and put them away. Then that child runs in to tag the next kid. That child washes 5 dishes or picks up 5 toys before tagging the next child, and so on. A huge job doesn’t seem so bad if it’s divided into small tasks that can be done quickly. And doing something fun during someone else’s turn makes it even better.
Have you found a chore system that works for you? How do you handle chores in your house?