This Fall I implemented a new responsibilities system and after spending several months using it. I’m excited to share how very helpful it has been. I adapted the responsibilities for each of my children and their abilities. My youngest had pictures to list chores because he is currently a non-reader but my girls, although they are readers, still enjoyed illustrating their personalized charts too.
This is how we got started.
Before creating anything I took time to think through pain points in our daily routine. What were some areas I needed help with and that the children really could help with. Some areas were a challenge to relinquish (loading the dishwasher) but I knew they needed to learn and they never would if I always did it for them. Here’s a list of some chores I needed help with:
sweeping, sweeping, and sweeping again….
tidying the porch area
wiping off the table
I included responsibilities or activities that weren’t necessarily things I needed help with but I knew if I enlisted their help I wouldn’t forget them. Likewise, they would be reminded of things they needed to daily. Things like:
bring in mail
For my youngest, still learning that homeschooling isn’t an optional act I included lessons on his chart. Just a loving daily reminder that lessons do happen every [week] day. 🙂
Make it personal.
The next thing I did was make a general template for the chore charts. I kept it super simple. Two reasons simple is good:
- The kids can personalize their chart to make it their own.
- Sometimes the extra “fun” stuff can be a distraction for easily distracted small people.
Once it’s complete with your responsibilities, print and let your child decorate, design, and label with their name. I laminated ours so that we could hang them on the fridge and reuse them daily with a dry erase marker.
My sensory loving little fella got a velcro upgrade. He enjoys moving the images from “to do” to “done.” It helps see and feel the movement of completing each task. I still included the words because he is learning to read. Having the visual cues together with the words is helpful. Over time he will recognize the words as he associates them with the responsibilities he is expected to complete.
The other nice thing about this format is that it’s veryyyy easy on your printer AND there’s not as much heart ache if the chart gets lost, ruined, or needs to be revamped. It’s just so simple and easy to pull together.
Why we LOVE a chore chart
Ok so now that you know HOW I make our chart, let me share with you the WHY. I love love love having help in our home. For the little tiny years there was so much that you just have to do for them. They want to help and of course you let them come beside you, but the truth is the bathroom isn’t getting cleaned unless YOU do it. The floors aren’t truly getting swept unless YOU do it.
Over time as the kids got bigger they took on more responsibilities. While we did most things together side-by-side they really began to be proficient in helping around the home. They learned by watching me, practicing, and sometimes through error- but they learned. Now, my girls, as 8 and 9 year olds, with their chore charts, they have moved to become more autonomous. We still do a good amount of choring together but I believe as they get older it’s good, may I even say, needed for them to help independent of me. We are all part of this home and family and we all work together in effort to serve and bless one another. I’m learning part of parenting is coming beside until it’s time to step back to give way to develop a sense of responsibility.
The beauty of the responsibilities chart is that they come to know what is expected of them in a clear and visual way. Who doesn’t love knowing and having clear expectations?
When our day begins they can each take their chart and get to work. As we established this routine it took some hand holding as we determined what each responsibility required but over time they got it. (Going on record here to say, your first born will more than likely LOVE the chart idea)
Keeping Your Responsibilities Chart
Now, there can be differing opinions on this one but we don’t attach our chore chart any where permanently. It’s just hung up on the fridge with a magnet. This is so they can take it down and carry it with them as they complete the chore (i.e. don’t forget what they’re doing or get distracted along the way.)
I suppose when you boil it down, this isn’t anything too truly profound, BUT what I can say IS profound is the weight lifted as you see your children really, actually help at home. It’s good for them and for you too! Their future friends, roommates, spouses will thank you for this investment in their personal responsibility.