This post is not going to make an argument for chores. I’m going to assume that your children do chores — or, at the very least, you wish they did. I’ve talked about my chore system in a variety of places, so this post is going to serve as a one-stop shop for the chore solutions that work for our family. There are, of course, millions of other ways to assign, organize, and execute chores. This is what I like to do, and it just might give you some helpful ideas.
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I assign chores by not assigning them. Now, this doesn’t work for really small children, because early on there are limited chores that are age appropriate. So, for example, when we had two-year-olds, they always put the clean silverware away. This sort of chore was the perfect match for their abilities.
But around ages 7 or 8, depending on maturity, my children were ready to graduate to The Chore Store (this is only fun, by the way, if you have more than one child competing for the chores). Allowing them to choose their jobs in a more creative manner encourages initiative and keeps attitudes about chores more positive.
Here is my video describing The Chore Store:
Getting Chores Done
During the school year, my children’s chores are listed on their weekly spreadsheets right along with their school assignments. This makes it easy for me to hold everyone accountable — I can check assignments and chores all at once!
But during the summer, we used to have issues. I felt like our summer mornings were often wasted because there was no deadline on the chores. It seemed like my children delayed chores longer and longer, and at 10 or even 11 I was still
nagging reminding people to finish their work. I thought we’d all enjoy the mornings more if we finished chores quickly and had truly free time on our hands.
There were also other things I wanted to see them do on an average day — things like practicing math facts or keeping up a language.
So, using Microsoft Excel (my beloved spreadsheet program), I whipped up these tickets, printed them on cardstock (when printed, they don’t have lines — but I know that some of you like to see the spreadsheet lines so you know how it’s formatted, which is why they appear this way above), and laminated them with packing tape. This way, we can reuse them day after day — boxes can be marked off using whiteboard markers.
The children keep their tickets at the dining room table. Each morning, they Do The Things until they are done, turning the tickets in to me in order to receive their free time. That’s why I chose a sun with a clock on it.
Remember how I said that I used to waste time on summer mornings, too? Well, I made myself a ticket the first year I did this. I don’t turn it in to get free time (because we all know I have more to do than what is on the card). But I do have to check all the boxes before I get a cup of coffee. Hence the clip art of a coffee cup.
A couple summers ago, exercise fell through the cracks more than I’d like. By making it a morning priority (as part of my morning routine), I hope to build better habits that will serve me well during the school year.
Want to make some tickets?
Fill out this form to get an editable template file. (You’ll only be able to use it if you have Microsoft Excel or some way of opening and editing an .xlsx file.)
Want to make your own tickets?
Use this editable .xlsx file to get started!
Any Other Chores?
Why, yes, actually. I used to have “special chore of the day” on their tickets. I didn’t hand one out every day — more like a couple times per week — but this managed expectations. These days, however, I’m using my Job Board system instead:
Every year I hope this will be the year I can afford house cleaning help. And just about every time I think I’m going to take the plunge, my car breaks down. 🤑😜 On Friday, while sitting at the mechanic’s (I forgot to bring a book! 🤦♀️😩), I had an epiphany. My children keep begging me to finance their pet projects (they don’t receive an allowance), and I wish I had more help with the house. Maybe this is a providential problem? My children work hard and do chores daily, so I’ve hesitated to add more to their lists, even though there are things undone. Enter the Job Board. It’s my new experiment. A child who wants money can check the board. Most jobs will only pay $1 (though I ALWAYS pay $5 for the shower…long story I won’t go into). Here’s how it works. If Girl A wants to do a job, she comes and asks me for it so I can give any necessary instructions. She does the job and then reports back to me. I inspect the job and pay her once it passes inspection. She erases the job from the board. I add new jobs as I think of them…and try to remember to keep dollar bills on hand. 😊 💵
A Video on Setting Up Summer for Success!
I recorded this as a Facebook Live in 2017, but the details still apply — especially about how the ticket system prevents nagging. 🙂
A Video on Getting Chores Done During the School Year
Because I know you’ll probably ask, I thought I’d also share this video that I recorded this past school year, which details why I put chores into our Charlotte Mason homeschool schedule: