Monday, March 5, 2012

Conquering Chores

Chore charts and checklists.  They make me crazy.  In the three years since Maddie has been old enough to begin doing chores, I've yet to find a system that works for me.

I've always struggled with the idea of doing chores for money.  There are "required" chores, like cleaning up one's own toys, brushing teeth, and making sure clothes make it to the laundry chute.  But there are also "extra" chores, like folding laundry, vacuuming, and sweeping the porch that could be used to earn allowance. 

 I saw the chore system pictured above on Etsy.  I knew I could do something similar for free.

So I grabbed some popsicle sticks, a pencil cup, and cute library pockets I had laying around my classroom.  I laminated the library pockets, used a straight razor to open the pocket part, and put a piece of adhesive magnet strip on the back.

I used the chore list on the Etsy site to start compiling a list of "extra" chores for which Maddie, and eventually Ava, could be paid.  Most chores have a $1 value, but some are $.50.  I was careful to not duplicate too many of the tasks in the consequence jar (more on that here). I wrote the chore and value on the popsicle sticks in colorful permanent marker. 

The idea is that when Maddie wants to earn extra money, she chooses a chore from the chore cup.  If it's the first time she's done that particular chore, I help or supervise as she works.  Sometimes I need to adjust my expectation of "clean".  I don't nag or demand that Maddie complete chores.  But I might suggest a task by saying, "Hey Maddie, I have a basket of clean towels here that needs folding..."  Once the chore is complete and it's been approved by myself or my husband, she can put the chore stick in her pocket.  Saturday is payday. 

So far, the system is working!  The "required" chores are getting done in a more timely manner, and Maddie has been earning allowance money, too.  The most she's earned in a week is $5, which I think is developmentally appropriate.  She's earned less, too.  I'm careful to motivate her that if she had a slow week, next week can always be better if you work hard!

How do you handle chores in your household?  Is it working?  I'd love to hear your comments!

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