With my five children getting older and gaining more independence and responsibility, they made obvious to me the need for a better way to help teach and remind them what chores they must do daily.
Thus, our new chore card system was born.
Maisie would like to let you know that she was a delightful and very willing model for this blog post. Camera shy she’s not.
I got pre-cut strips of card stock memory paper at Michaels. Armed with my Painters paint pen in black, medium tip, I wrote out everyone’s chores. This took a long time. There are five “make beds” and five “put your shoes away.” And so on and so forth. Some chores there are only one of, like “kitty litter” and “bring garbage can down from curb.” I assign those at random when needed.
Then I had them laminated. Then I cut each one out, put a hole punch at the top and put a ring at the top.
I got this arrow hook thing at TJMaxx. I mounted it low on the wall and secured it well with anchors since it will be tugged on daily by five hands.
There are three categories of chores in our house: Morning Chores, After School Chores and Bedtime Chores.
When it’s time for chores, I simply hang the chore cards on the hooks. The hooks go in birth order, so Kieran’s is on the far left, Cullen’s is next, Maisie’s is in the middle, Stellan’s is next to hers and Lachlan’s is last on the right. The chore cards they each have, like “make bed” have their initial on the back. So if I find an errant “make bed” chore card on the floor, I know who it belongs to and who hasn’t done that yet for the day.
I found this neat metal hanger thing with three containers also at TJMaxx. The chore cards, when not in use, stay in there. Morning Chores go at the top, After School Chores are in the middle and Bedtime Chores are at the bottom.
As soon as the kids wake up, get home for school or when I tell them it’s time for Bedtime Chores, they go to the Chore Card Hanger and take off their chores and look at them. My rule is the chores must stay on the hooks until they are done. Otherwise they get lost around the house. There are two hooks on each of the kids’ hooks, so they can sort, hang some on the bottom, and put the others back while they work on the chore at hand.
And then they get to work. There is never any complaining about chore time, it just is what it is. Some of the kids may drag their feet or get distracted and so I redirect. A lot. But it has become so routine they just get to it.
Maisie usually sorts the laundry (We use a dot system there to tell us whose clothes are whose as it’s hard with the boys’ clothes otherwise.), while everyone has the job of folding and putting away their own clothes once she does. I almost do zero laundry around here anymore! It’s so nice.
They also empty garbages, wipe tables, vacuum, feed the dog, water the snake, clean their rooms, fold towels, change and wash their bedsheets weekly, keep the car cleaned out and monitor and organize their own homework and library books. I do have a fab team of girls I hire who clean my house weekly, also. And then I do everything else. Or have Maisie help me with the extras, because she is such a willing servant.
Some of the chores are really just reminders. “Hang up your backpack,” “bring your folder to the kitchen,” “put your lunchbox in your backpack.” Instead of running around looking to see who remembered, I can just glance at the arrow and see who has chores left to do.
When a chore is completed, the child just puts that card back into the correct container on the wall. To make it easier to spot where to put their finished chore card, I have a magnet that I put on the correct (Top, middle of bottom.) metal bin we are currently on, whether we are doing Morning, After School or Bedtime Chores.
This is just a random photograph of Kieran, who will be 11 this coming Wednesday if you can believe that, unrelated to my chore post. You’re welcome.
When, and only when, a child has completed all their chores for that time of day may they move on to whatever is next, be it getting in the car for school, playing in the afternoon or hopping into bed with their most recent library book.
While it’s not a flawless system, as it involves many imperfect humans, I am 100% satisfied with how it is working at the MckHousehold.
So there you go!