Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Every house has their own "system" for getting the work done.
Here is mine:
They're called chore cards.
I have each kid's name on a wooden clothespin. (Four of mine are old enough to do chores, so four clothespins.)
I have a WHOLE BUNCH of chores written out on index cards; they are kept in an envelope. In the early morning when I am up and about before the kids, I look around and survey what needs to be done for the day. I then assign the chore cards.
Some of the cards are:
sweep entry steps
clean up living room
vacuum living room
clean upstairs bathroom
clean off the stairs
vacuum front steps and entry rugs
straighten shoes and boots
clean your room (I have four of these)
put dishes away
clear off the table
clean hallway
shovel front steps
little boys' laundry (this means they fold and put away the little boys' laundry)
Ruby's laundry
sweep under Elijah's chair

You get the idea...(I have many more, some are more specific to our home. I also didn't want to make this post any longer than it already is going to be!!)
When they are done with the chore, they remove it from their clip and put it back in the envelope.
When we began this system, I had only some cards. I have added more cards as I think of them.
Of course, shovel steps only applies in the winter. In the summer, I assign mow the lawn for my bigger boys. I also assign clean off the yard and sweep garage in the months that aren't winter.
The point is that this way, I don't have to keep on them about what they are supposed to be doing. (OK, I have to keep on them about doing their chore cards, but at least I don't have to keep saying specifically what they are supposed to be doing!)
I had found myself telling them to do this and do that, and they'd be like "but Mom, you told me to do such and such"; I had forgotten whom I had told to do what and it lead to such frustration for all of us.
In the sometimes chaotic moments as a mother of many, when you have a new baby and you're changing diapers, and the phone's ringing, and the timer's going off, etc. the chore card system has helped eliminate the "who's supposed to be doing what" problem.
I normally assign about six or seven chores for the younger workers (ages 6 and 8) and about four or so for my older boys (10 and 12). This is because my big boys go out to the barn every morning and night and do the milking and calf chores, bedding the stalls and pens, etc. So, when they come in from the barn, they've already been doing lots of chores that day!!
A "light" day is when they all have only three or four chores to do.

I think each job should be divided up as much as possible. Like clean up living room and vacuum living room are two separate chores rather than one. I do this because I can either split it between two kids, or let one kid feel as if they've done more. Also, it doesn't always need to be vacuumed, but it does need to be picked up every day.
I used to write down what each kid should do each day, but I was just writing out the same things all the time, it seemed. This was my solution to that problem.
This way, I can also see how each child is coming along in their work. No computer or TV time until all chores are done.
I tried to post pictures of what my system looked like, but blogger won't let me add an image for some reason. I hope you get the idea.

I think this system would be easily implemented in any home with any number of kids. Even those who don't know how to read. I have had chores slipped under the bathroom door for me to read for a non-reader, and of course the older kids can quickly tell them what it says. My Andrew doesn't read yet, but he can identify all his chore cards. He has memorized how they look I guess.
Also, don't be afraid of assigning too many. Kids are quite capable of doing work around the home that they live in!!
Many people are surprised at how many household chores my kids are able to do. I also recommend getting some kid-size tools they can use, like a little sweeper/dustpan set for sweeping stairs and under chairs, for example.
Even if the job isn't perfect, it's better than not being done at all!!

1 comment:

  1. What a GREAT idea. I love this system!


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