Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The Ticket to Cleanliness: A New Chore Chart

I wish this blog post was going to be about my latest deep philosophical and spiritual moors, but instead this about the inner workings of the newest addition to the Hepworth family home life - our chore chart. Then again, cleanliness is next to godliness, they say. . .

Whenever I see those memes or blog posts about how we should just disregard all the messes in our homes and cuddle with our sweet babies instead, I cringe inside and have a mini panic attack knowing full well what my not keeping up with the mess in my home looks like - for me, that reality is anything but cute, cuddly, relaxing or sane. And also realizing that far too often, that IS my highly uncomfortable reality, is an unwelcome reminder.

I have thought a while about implementing a new chore/consequence system in our home to help me out in this ever-daunting arena of home management. I had read about having a jar full of strips of paper with the chores listed on them to be used a negative consequences or as money making opportunities. The idea was appealing, but not structured enough for my taste. (However, every other parenting idea in the book where I read about the chore jar is AMAZING. Hands down, best parenting book I have EVER read: Nicholeen Peck's A House United. *This is an affiliate Link.*) When I read about this chore chart idea by Diann Jeppson, on pg.69-74 in Vol.3 of the Leadership Education Library A Thomas Jefferson Education Home Companion, I knew I had found the holy grail of chore chart systems. I modified it slightly to fit our family's needs. I am including all the nitty gritty details for whatever they are worth to you.

The chores are assigned as (AA), (A), or (B).

(AA) chores = 4 pts./$1
(A) chores = 2 pts./ 50¢
(B) chores = 1 pt./25¢

A child must earn over their daily minimum point threshold to start earning $ for extra chores. For our 3 year old, that is 5 points a day. For our 5 and nearly 7 year olds, the minimum is 8 points a day.

To reward consistency, if a child earns their minimum points for 5/6 days (Monday-Saturday, points aren't counted on Sundays) they receive a $2 bonus on pay day.

Points are recorded on our family calendar before we begin our bedtime routine each night. The kids are paid for their weekly work on Mondays.

After breakfast, I put on some fun upbeat music and we all do our best to earn our minimum daily points in the hour or so we have before our studies will begin. If the chores aren't completed, they will have wasted valuable time for earning their daily points. Because I am doing chores right along with them, though, this really encourages a group effort.

If some one else joins in on a chore to help, points aren't lowered for the one who started the chore first. Instead, additional points are awarded from the misc. envelope to the helper (AKA my 3 year old.) This is to prevent the "She's stealing my chore!!" problem.

Working side-by-side with younger children is necessary, and instruction for how the chores are to be done is also essential. Chores like tidying need to be done first before other chores. Every day, every family member is assigned tidying their own room and making their bed. They are also assigned animal care chores. The others flow out of necessity and what I assign as needed (or earned as a negative consequence.) Certain chores can also be requested by kids interested to make more money.

If a child is behaving negatively (hurting a sibling, being disrespectful, etc.) I issue a chore for the child to complete (without payment of course) as a means to amend the bad feeling the child is bringing to our home. Having my chart organized like this it is so much easier to come up with a consequence on the fly.

To make the pockets for my chore chart, I laminated two sheets of paper together and sliced them open with a razor. I used a different kind of scrapbook paper for each room and their corresponding tickets for easy location. I also made pockets for each family member. Simple silver tacks hold every pocket on the board. They are also used to create a middle divide on each family member's pocket. Chore tickets on the left side are To-Do and when tickets are moved to the right, they are done. The tickets are all laminated and written on with Sharpie.

Here are the specific chore tickets in each pocket:

Living Room
(A) Tidy the living room
(A) Clean the blinds
(B) Wash window
(B) Scrub down walls
(B) Scrub down baseboards
(B) Dust all wood furniture, picture frames, etc.
(B) Sweep up around rabbit cage
(B) Vacuum room

(A) Wash dishes
(A) Clean out fridge or freezer
(A) Deep clean oven
(A) Take out trash and recycling
(B) Empty dishwasher
(B) Wipe down all counters, sinks, and oven top
(B) Sweep kitchen area
(B) Mop kitchen area
(B) Straighten up pantry
(B) Clean window
(B) Scrub down all cabinets and appliance fronts

Dining Room
(A) Scrub down walls, back door and base boards
(A) Scrub down cubby shoe holder
(A) Clean light fixture and glass panes in back door
(B) Scrub down table and chairs
(B) Dust dining area
(B) Wash window
(B) Tidy dining room
(B) Sweep floors in dining area
(B) Mop floors in dining area

5x (A) Make Bed and tidy room
3x (A) Scrub down doors and walls
3x (B) Sweep/mop or vacuum floors
3x (B) Dust room
3x (B) Clean window/mirrors

(A) Scrub walls in hallway and stairs
(A) Sweep/mop stairs
(B) Tidy hallways and stairs
(B) Scrub down entry door and glass window
(B) Scrub down garage door
(B) Shake out entry rug and sweet entry landing
(B) Sweep/mop downstairs hallway
(B) Vacuum upstairs hallway

Bathroom #1
(A) Clean toilet - inside and out
(A) Clean shower/tub
(A) Deep clean floors
(B) Wash mirror
(B) Scrub sink and sink area
(B) Tidy area
(B) Dust light fixtures

Bathroom #2
(A) Clean toilet - inside and out
(A) Clean shower/tub
(A) Deep clean floors
(B) Wash mirror
(B) Scrub sink and sink area
(B) Tidy area
(B) Dust light fixtures

Home School Room
(A) Tidy room
(B) Vacuum room
(B) Dust room
(B) Scrub down walls
(B) Scrub down doors
(B) Clean window and sill

Guest Bedroom
(B) Make bed
(B) Vacuum
(B) Dust room
(B) Scrub down window and sill
(B) Scrub down walls

Animal Care
(AA) Deep clean chicken coop
(AA) Deep clean rabbit cage
(A) Feed and water chickens
(A) Lock up the chickens
(A) Empty and wash out full litter boxes - replace with fresh
(B) Feed rabbits' pellets
(B) Sweep rabbit cage
(B) Refill rabbits' water bottles
(B) Take chickens food scraps
(B) Give chickens crushed egg shells

Outside the House
(AA) Rake leaves in front yard or shovel snow in driveway
(AA) Rake leaves in back yard
(A) Pick one full grocery sack of weeds 
(A) Distribute rabbit manure to plants/trees/garden
(A) Help mom or dad with yard work
(A) Sweep and tidy the play house
(A) Sweep and tidy the back porch
(B) Sweep front porch and steps

6X (A) Put laundry away and return box*
2X (A) Sort 2 loads of laundry
(B) Fold all rags or match all socks
4X (A or B) Help Mom or Dad with Project
8X (A)
4X (B)

*Side note to our chore chart - the picture below shows our laundry system: clothes are sorted (ideally) fresh out of the dryer into every individual's bin. Then each person is responsible for folding and sorting them into their appropriate drawers and returning the bins to the laundry station.

So far, this chore chart has been like magic for my home. The kids are really enjoying it, too. That said, we are only one week in so far. Time will tell how effective this is for the long haul. But for now, it is giving me hope that a clean home with 4 home-schooled kids is totally doable.

What amazing home management tips have you tried with success?


  1. Jami, I'd love to know, how is the chore chart doing? It's been a couple months, does it actually work for your family and your routine? Has it been harder than expected to maintain? How are your kids about using it? Does the punishment factor work just as much as the incentive factor? If the chore is a punishment is it completed then and there or done later? Let us know how its working.

  2. Nicole - So, right now we are in the middle of getting our house ready to sell, so everything is a bit dismantled over here. But, I use the chore chart consequences for bad behavior and they work well. I like having work be what can help improve a sick character. Having made this chart, it is easy for me to come up with a chore that they can do as a consequence very quickly. More than once knowing in advance how I was going to address a bad behavior has saved me from getting angry. It's just about serving up consequences. If we are home, I have them do the chore immediately. If we are out, I have them do it right when we get home. (Or I come up with a chore to help the car space!) Additionally, we have had a couple of instances where my kids see something at the store and decide they want to buy it a work like crazy to earn 20 points in a day with no provoking from me. Last night and this morning the kids were out weeding with no encouragement or mention from me. So that is awesome! There are a couple of difficulties I have encountered. One is managing the tracking of points. With our lives so out of control with preparing to list our house and move, I have not been as consistent, so that is totally on me. I need to establish that as part of our nighttime routine and remind the kids to be accountable. That is just going to take some time and consistency on our part as parents. The second thing I have noticed, is that my kids like to pick what chores they do, but don't always like to have me tell them which ones need doing! Once my home gets in better order, I am going to pull put the chores that need done first each day and let them choose which chores they want. One other difficulty is with Jocelyn, who is 3. She is old enough to help, but she needs A LOT of hand holding and directing. She does love to be a little assistant to me throughout the day, and so I make sure to give her points for being helpful where I can but she can't follow through on her own without a lot of feedback. Lincoln (7) and Atley (5) are rock stars at the chores. They totally get it! Does that help, Nicole? Any other questions?

    1. That does help tons. I love that you found this system and shared it. I think we will try something like this once our kiddos are older. (I may ask you about it in another couple years ;-) Good luck with the move. Never fun to pack but I'm hoping its an exciting move for you all.

  3. I have been looking for chores for my 3- and 5- year old, and I felt disappointed by the simplicity of chores in the suggestions online (for example, a 5-year old being expected to "get their own drinks" - sure, I expect my Rusty to do that, but he can contribute a lot more!) I thought, I bet Jamie will have good suggestions for me! Sure enough, you did. I've added lots of these to my list. Thank you!



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