Chore Chart
(Or: how not to nag your
kids, especially if you can
barely keep track of your
own responsibilities!)
I am the world's most disorganized person. So when I  found myself with three little kids, I realized I would have to come up with some way to help
them keep track of their own daily chores.  I checked out a stack of library books about how to get organized.   I even scanned a few, before they got sucked into the stacks of overdue bills and piles of paperwork and started racking up late fines.
So maybe six years ago, using a combination of ideas from different books, I drove
a row of nails into a board and hung a row of those metal-rimmed paper key ring
tags with my oldest son's "things to remember" --brush teeth, rinse your toothpaste
slobber out of the sink, put your dirty clothes in the hamper, feed your hamster, stuff
like that.  I still have some of those battered old tags, and they have been through
two more kids, but the system has evolved as my kids have grown up!

How it works:

I use thumbtacks and string to divide the cork board into sections, one for each
child. Before they could read, I put a photo up of each kid.

I made
a row of nails for each kid, for each day of the week. Use the tags, laid out,
to make sure the spacing is right. (I did weekdays only, with a few nails below for
weekend days.) At the top of the chart I put letters for M,T,W,Th,F.

Before they could read, I used
pictures as reminders -- a toothbrush, a pawprint for
taking care of pets, a messy room. As they got older, their jobs got more complicated
and I could write out details.

Chores are set out
in the order in which I need them done -- morning routines in the
morning, dishwasher unloaded so I can reload all day, clothes set out before bedtime.
They are also appropriate to the day of the week. Recycling gets loaded into the van
the day before we grocery shop. Wastebaskets are emptied the day before trash

When a kid does a chore, he flips the tag. When the day has a row of shiny stars, the
chores are done for the day and it's free time!

We've worked out solutions as problems arose. If a kid flipped his "clean your room"
tag and it turned out he stuffed it all under the bed, then I make a "checked by mom"
tag and nobody's done for the day until mom inspects all jobs. A badly done job
results in an added job... usually the dreaded, "SORT SOCKS."

If kids seemed uninspired to do chores, I made rules -- usually posted on little square
computer-label stickers so nobody forgets -- tying the week's chore completion to
weekend nintendo, or full allowance, or some other privilege. I avoid "rewards",
because we all pull our weight as part of the family - it's not a favor, it's your job.
Chores my kids do: (No, not all at once! These cycle by
season, by week and by kid!)

Empty wastebaskets (before trash day)
Bring in empty trash cans (after)
Bag recycling (or donations)
Gather library books (before library day)
Practice piano
Practice tae kwon do
Wash a load of clothes
(full cycle, wash and dry)
Sort clothes by color
Feed your pet
Change bedding in pet cage
Write a journal entry
20 minutes of exercise
(mostly needed in winter!)
Clean out van (trash, books, toys, etc)
Strip your bed (Saturdays)
police (tidy one room of the house, for that day)
Organize coats and shoes in mud room
Wipe bathrooom sink (toothpaste slobber) and tidy
(what's ripe --berries, cherry tomatoes, etc)
Match 3 pairs of your own socks from sock bin
Water house plants
Water window boxes
Bring in firewood
Set up crock pot oatmeal
(on timer for next morning)
Make bread machine loaf (or pizza crust on pizza night)
Clean your room (daily)
Organize toys/craft drawers
Clean bathroom mirrors
Lights-out walk through
(helps with electric bill!)
Set out scout uniform (gymnastic leotard, sports gear,     piano
books, or whatever)
day before class
Sweep front porch and steps
Shovel sidewalks
Empty hampers
Set/clear table
Sweep kitchen
Make dinner
(one day a week, big kids)
Vaccum a room (weekly)
Empty dishwasher (daily)
Homeschool (weekdays)

Green tags: I have dollar amounts written on green tags, and use
them to keep track when the kids do extra paying jobs. We pay
it all off on Sundays, when they get allowance.
Red tags:  If somebody leaves lunch dishes on the table, I clear
and then put a red tag on their chart that says "PAY THE
WAITRESS: 25 cents." This also works for paying the maid
(dirty socks, sprinkled toys)
The ring tags are not cheap! As you can see in the photo above, I have recycled mine
a hundred ways.
Liquid paper, round white price stickers or masking tape can
be used to cover a chore that's no longer needed, and make a new one.
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