Creating a Chore System that works for us

Monday , 20, January 2014 Comments Off on Creating a Chore System that works for us

At the beginning of the year, one of the things I wanted to start implementing with the kids (6.5 and 3.5) was a chore system. Big Sister is old enough to start earning an allowance, and the thought of them being more independent and able to help out around the house more when #3 comes certainly appealed to me. I scoured the internet and asked Facebook friends how they did it at their house (for example, paid each month? Per chore or a set rate? How much?) and took my own adaptations and went with it. We’re only 19 days into our system but it’s working well so far. I knew I didn’t want set chores on set days. I understand the value in, say, having Sister vacuum on Mondays and help fold laundry on Tuesdays, but that seemed too rigid for me. Also, while I thought Sister was old enough for an allowance, I didn’t think Brother was, and had to do some further brainstorming for him. While he certainly is capable of helping out more, I really wanted to emphasize him being able to get dressed on his own, clean up after himself (instead of being sent to clean up only to find a bigger mess) and to use manners regularly and without having to be prompted all the time. We’re getting there. 


So, here’s what we did.

I decided after talking to some friends that a dollar per age per week was a fair allowance. Big Sister has 6 chores, and gets paid $1.00 per chore per week. The book report is the exception. She gets paid $2.00 to read a book of both of our choosing aloud to me or her dad, and then to write a report about it. I’ll share the template we use, as well as others I found helpful, at the end of this post. I use this as a “help” to motivate her to want to read aloud more and to work on her reading comprehension. Her chores are as follows:

1) Vacuum her bedroom, the playroom, and the living room. This is an all or nothing chore.

2)Vacuum under the couch cushions

3) Empty bathroom trash cans

4) Clean out all upstairs bathroom sinks (There are 3)

5) Wipe all upstairs windowsills

6) Read a book & write a book report

She may choose to do all or none (but won’t get paid if she does none!) and can choose the timeframe in which to do them. For example, the first week she did 2 chores and did them on 2 separate days. Last week, she chose to do all of them on a Saturday afternoon. I also make her keep track of her money on a printable bank ledger. General helping around the house, keeping her room clean, and doing her homework are all things her dad & I expect of her…she will not get paid for those things, but we reserve the right to give out bonuses for extra effort as we see fit. (Examples of this are a stellar report card or helping her dad rake leaves without being asked.) I didn’t find any printable chore charts that quite fit my vision (though there are many cute ones out there!) so I just wrote them out for her and hung them on our family bulletin board.


Brother is a bit different. Like I said earlier, I didn’t think he needed an actual allowance, but he does know what money is and I knew a tantrum would happen if he saw Sister getting money and he wasn’t. I also knew that he wouldn’t grasp the concept of, do a chore on Monday and get paid Friday. For him, I made a sticker chart for 14 days with 3 tasks: Get dressed, clean up as needed, and use manners. When his chart is full he may get a special treat of some sort (details TBD). He also gets a quarter immediately after each time he unloads the silverware basket from the dishwasher. Sometimes he likes to put the quarter in his pocket, sometimes he likes to put it straight in his piggy bank, but it’s a task that is working well for us so far and that he likes doing. Eventually I will add in more paid chores for him. For example, he BEGGED to vacuum today (weird!) so I paid him .50, mostly because he took the initiative to do so, and for that I am grateful! His sticker chart tasks may change too as needed. He’s now pretty good at getting himself dressed in a timely fashion so we may not need to put a special focus on that one for too much longer.

I found the following charts/links to be most helpful as we set up our own system:

The ledger idea came from this post at Ducks in a Row. I use this ledger.

I like this chore chart broken down by age from The Happy Housewife. 

Do you have a chore system at home for your kids? Does it work well?



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