Chore charts. Do these 2 words make you hopeful or cringe with feelings of "it's just another thing to do"? I used to feel the latter, but I've become a convert.
I know, I know. Right now you’re all “Stop it with your annoying Pinterest-inspired chore chart that you claim is a lifesaver.”
Ok, I get it. This seems like another great idea that average moms can't actually follow through with because it's more work than it's worth. That's what I thought, but I promise it actually is worth it and I'm making it easy for you with free downloads!
I'm just like you.
I’ve barely rolled out of bed and taken a sip of coffee (one sip, literally) before being bombarded by kids who want food and juice and their turn to choose a show. No mom wakes up with the birds chirping, claps her hands and in a sing-songy voice says, “alright kids, time to do our chores!” and is greeted with shouts of "hooray!"
But recently I became so fed up with the push-back I got when I asked the kids to do something (even something small) that I decided we needed a change in our house. The number one thing I want my kids to understand is that we all contribute to this household and - say it with me - MOM IS NOT THE MAID.
It’s not all roses and sunshine at our house; even with an established chore and behavior chart, we still have plenty of whining and complaining to go around. In my head, I thought if we could make these daily tasks part of the routine, the kids would stop whining about it and eventually just do it without me asking and without complaint. I have since learned that that will NEVER happen day in and day out.
HOWEVER, these charts have helped in the long run. My oldest (8) is able to complete her daily chores with little complaint and without us having to guide her through it. She has come to realize how quickly she can breeze through it and that it's not quite as big of a deal as she once thought. HALLELUJAH!
Our 5 year old still needs some guidance and a gentle push, and the "clean up" portions of the chart are a fight some days; other days, he can get it done without throwing a fit of epic proportions, and it honestly has gotten easier over time.
Our 3 year old is a different story entirely and the word "chore" immediately produces a "noooooooooooo!" Baby steps, guys. Baby steps.
The Secret to Chore Chart Success
I think the secret to success is two-fold:
- Consistency in action and message. ie "This is what we do to contribute to our family and our home and we do it every day"
- Age. Truth be told, it just gets easier as they get older. Obviously you can't rush this, but keep it in the back of your head every time your 3 year old screams "noooooooooo!"
Our Chore Charts:
Here is how I have laid ours out in order to make mom's life easier...
These are to be completed before school. It is everything they need to do in order for us to leave with everyone wearing pants and without morning breath. My oldest has more responsibilities than the youngest.
These need to be completed as the day goes on at the appropriate times. I generally don't make my kids clean up one mess before making another. I mean, I do if I catch it, but a lot of time, I am working in my office while they play and I don't supervise every toy they get out. So the end of the day (generally before dinner) is when we focus on our clean-up time. I will admit that their bedrooms don't always get cleaned every day, but I do make them clean up the living room (because otherwise my anxiety goes through the roof when I sit down to watch TV at night).
Magnet Board Chore Chart
After printing our chore charts, I taped them to a large magnet board that I found at Michaels.
I picked up some magnets (small enough to fit in the squares, but too big for my toddler to swallow) at Target in the Dollar Spot a while back. You can find some similar ones on Amazon (all are bigger than 1" in size, which helps with swallowing fears, but use your own discretion):
Download Editable Chore Charts
I have created a similar version of the chore charts we use for you to download, edit and print! I included the chores we do, but change them out if needed and make them work for your own family: