Recently, I’ve been experimenting with our chore charts, trying to land upon a method that doesn’t work me to death to keep it running and doesn’t bribe my children into performance. I’m really excited about the result, a system encouraging good habits.
Step 1: I downloaded a chore chart and set of chore cards. The one I am using is a preschool chore chart that you can download here. For older children, you might consider some of the printables available here. After cutting out the cards and laminating everything, I attached velcro dots to the cards and to the chart. This way, I can add the chore pictures to the chart or change them as I deem necessary.
I attached the charts to each child’s closet door so that they could easily see what is expected of them. The chart is broken down into “morning,” “afternoon,” and “to earn.” But since I have pre-readers, I have easily adjusted the chart to “morning,” “after naps,” and “evening.”
Step 2: The next step was making a Habit Chart.
My concept was that I would have each child focus on one chore at a time, performing it faithfully, until it became a habit. We learned, “To be faithful is to do what is expected when it is expected.” My son, for instance, has been extremely faithful making his bed each morning as soon as wakes up. I wanted a way to reward this faithfulness, a way that was meaningful and didn’t require my coin purse or the candy drawer.
First, I printed a second set of chore cards and cut them out. Next, I chose the card for the chore that I wanted my son to work on (making his bed) and attached it to the chart with a paper clip. If your kids can read, skip this step and just write in the chore.
I have the chart set up for 14 days of faithful performance. Each day that the chore is completed the way I expect it to be done and when I expect it to be done, I write a smiley face in the blank. When all 14 smiley faces fill the row, a “habit card” is awarded.
NOTE: For those with older children, it might be best to double the length of time and require 28 days of faithfulness. Check the box or write in a date of completion.
Step 3: When the 14 days have been fulfilled, a habit card can be awarded. My intention is to glue the picture card to the back of the habit card and then place the card on a metal ring. Each child will have their own ring of habits to maintain. If someone becomes unfaithful, the card can be removed and the whole process started again.
Step 4: The last step was implementing and organizing our new system.While the actual chore charts are attached to each child’s door, the habit charts are on my fridge so that I can supervise them. The cards are neatly arranged in small cubes in my utility drawer.
Will it work? Well, we’ll see. But my son was extremely excited about the cards, so much so that I couldn’t get him to be quiet long enough for me to explain it to his sister. Honestly, I think the key to any chore system being successful is for me to be consistent and enthusiastic. So, yes! I’m optimistic about this working. And I’m thrilled to have a system that reinforces the character traits we are trying to instill.