Monday, September 12, 2011

The Perfect Chore Chart for Our Family! (And it Might Work for Yours, Too!)

I found the perfect chore technique for our family!!!

I just came up with another way to get the kids to do their chores. It's working like a champ! And, the house stays clean on a daily a matter of fact, the house will be completely clean and I will still have children asking what else they can do for chores. Oh, yes they love the concept and I love it, too!

I have written several posts about chores and presented many of my own ideas that I have tried to get my children to do the chores, including Chore Chart for Kids, Chore Chart for Large Families, and one of my favorites (and the most popular post on this site), The Talking Back Syndrome/Getting the Chores Done.

Although I have come up with some cool ideas to use with the kids to get them to do the chores - and they all worked! - I don't think I've ever come up with a chore plan that completely inspired the kids to take the chores into their own hands - and get them finished without any guidance whatsoever!

What Is My Secret?

Well, it starts with the fact that I (admittedly) have computer-addicted children! And, over the summer, they have (regrettably) turned into computer zombies. And, I have allowed it, for the most part, due to the fact that we spent a good portion of their summer packing and cleaning to move and then unpacking and organizing in the new house.

There are a million downfalls to having computer-addicted children....I'm not going to go into listing all of them, but one big one is the fact that it's like pulling teeth to get them to do any chores....until now.

The key was to find some leverage. And the computers are my leverage. So, I have now told the kids that there is NO FREE COMPUTER TIME. They must earn their computer time.

The Plan

I have yet to make a chart, because this is an all new chore plan for our household and family. I do plan to make a chart (I already have the poster board) that lists all of the chores in the house and the amount of minutes that each chore earns for computer time. Right now, we are just "winging it". As they do their chores, they come to me and ask me how much time they earned.

Using Other Skills

They're actually doing really good at calculating the time (mathematics!) in their head and saving up their earnings until they have stacked up a decent block of time to use the computer. It's great to have them offering to do the chores, and they work hard to do a good job, because they want to earn those minutes! They don't want to be told that they didn't finish the job, so they don't earn the minutes.

No "Milking the Clock"

I also told them that they are to work in an efficient manner. They cannot earn 3 hours just for cleaning up the kitchen after dinner. If I can do the whole kitchen in a matter of 20 minutes, they should be able to do it, too. I do take into consideration how messy the chore is and add a little more time for them, to be fair. BUT kids are smart! They will dilly-dally and talk while they work, so I made it clear that they won't earn extra minutes just because THEY took that extra time. They will earn only the minutes that the specific job "pays", so it eliminates the whole "milking the clock" thing that even us adults do sometimes when we work. (Come on, I know you've done that at least once in your life).

It's Kinda Funny...

Lately, the children have been absolutely greedy about earning minutes on the computer...which is a good thing for me! They've been so greedy that they actually have run out of chores to do around the house to earn that time, which is terribly funny to me. The house will be entirely clean and they will still ask me, "What can I do to earn more time, Mom. I don't think there's anything left to do...can I do something for you?"

Let's just say that I love this technique and I think it's going to be the one that we stick with for a long time.


I still have to monitor the time that they are spending on the computer, because they are sneaky...I mean, they are children and they will try to get away with as much as they can. I am still constantly asking them how long they have been on the computer...and quite often, they've overused their time and have to work some more to make up for it.

Computer Usage Chart

So, I'm probably going to have to make a computer usage log to go along with the chore chart. That way, there is a check-in time and a check-out time that they must put on the chart and they can log their time.

I'm still working on this whole concept, so it will be a while until I get it perfected, but I thought I would share it with you, because one of the most searched keywords on my stat page here on Mommy Rantings is "chore chart" and the second most searched is, "chore chart for kids". Apparently, parents are constantly searching for ideas. Hopefully, between the posts that I listed above and the idea that I have just come up with that I think will work for my family better than any other chore chart plan I've come up with, you can find something that will work for you and your kids!

Happy Cleaning!
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