Saturday, January 19, 2013

Responsibility Chart: Putting My Kids To Work!

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Forgive me as I deviate from food for a moment.  Mamahood is taking over for a bit in my attempt to wrangle my kids into actually doing what they're capable of.  For those of you who don't know, I have three boys, ages 3, 7, & 8.  As any multi-tasking parent does, I'm usually found cooking dinner, cleaning something, helping with homework and doing never-ending loads of laundry. 

After several frazzled nights in a row of feeling like the "maid" around here I decided I must take action.  Now!  My mind took me years into the future of when my boys would become college roommates or husbands (yikes!).  The thought of them struggling to pick up after themselves, do the dishes or wash their clothes seemed frightening. Hence, the "Responsibility Chart" was born!

I did some research hoping to just purchase 3 charts (don't get me wrong, I'm crafty and all but I was not in the mood to find time to make one on my own).  I found this chart which I liked the best out of the ones I found but at $35 a pop x 3 kids that wasn't going to happen.  Plus, I decided I wanted more creative control to tailor it to my families' needs.  

I assure you, this project is not as hard as you may think.  Here's the scoop on how to make your own.  

Tools & Supplies:
large poster board
sticky back velcro or painters tape
laminator* (optional)

1.  Take the poster board, ruler and pencil and write the child's name and "Responsibility Chart" (or whatever you choose to name yours) at the top center of the page.  You'll go over it later with colorful markers.
2.  Use the ruler to draw a line across the entire top of the page, about 7" down.  Mark off the "To-Do's" section and the days of the week.  
3.  Next, create 2" x 2" squares below the days of the week on a separate large piece of paper (or piece them together like I did), then mark off the rest of the "To-Do" section.  Go over all of this with a sharpie. 
4.   Tape the "Rewards" onto the bottom so kids can see what they earn.  You may also need a spot to write in stickers earned if they're saving up for something.

How It Works:
Once you've figured out which To-Do's you want done for which child for specific days, simply stick them onto the side of the chart under the "To-Do" section.  Rotate the jobs as you need to.  Sometimes that may be every day or other times every few days, depending on your schedule and what your needs are.  

As kids start getting the hang of one thing, remove it from the chart and add something new that they haven't seemed to tackle well enough yet.  (For example, once my 3 year old remembered he needed to brush both morning and night, we swapped it out with "Floss Teeth")

The paper with the stickers on it can be replaced at the end of each week.  If you wanted to get really fancy, you could come up with a way to make the stickers removable or use something else that can be replaced (laminate stars and place stickyback velcro on the back).

*I bought a laminator at Target for $20, plus some extra sheets which can be pricey but well worth it.

Jett's chart is tailored to his 3-year old needs like "try not to whine", put away toys and share.

7-year old Braylon is my most excited candidate so I'm finding it easy to rotate his To-Do's more frequently.

I typed up their To-Do's on the computer using different colors, printed it off, laminated it and cut them apart.  Put painters tape or sticky back velcro on the back and store the extras in an envelope.

To-Do's (in random order):
brush teeth, floss teeth, make bed, good table manners, try a new fruit, sweep the kitchen & dining room floors, mop the kitchen & dining room floors, try not to whine, do homework, clean windows, mirrors, computer & tv screens, empty dishwasher, load dishwasher, share, go to bed on time (8:30pm), wipe down table after a meal, dust, vacuum at least 2 rooms, wipe down sink in bathroom, fold & put away laundry, put away toys, put laundry in dresser, clean up & organize bedroom, babysit Jett for 45 minutes (this one's fantastic to encourage my older kids to watch the little guy), be ready for school (out the door at 8am), feed crayfish & clean tank, feed & water birds & clean cage, help cook a meal, take out garbage, awesome workout (my boys wrestle), take out recycling, practice piano, get dressed all by yourself

(NOTE: I didn't add reading to the list because we have a different system for that one.  My boys earn 1/2 the time they read in screen time so if they read for 30 minutes they can play on the computer for 15)

-choose dinner for the night 25 STICKERS
-ice cream 25 STICKERS
-watch a movie 20 STICKERS
-sushi 30 STICKERS
-$$ for piggybank 30 STICKERS
-stay up an hour past bedtime 20 STICKERS
-Jamba Juice 40 STICKERS
-make a your own movie (on iMovie) 50 STICKERS
-play a game with mommy or daddy 10 STICKERS
-have a friend sleep over 75 STICKERS
-FREE PASS to skip 1 To-Do 20 STICKERS
-pizza night 35 STICKERS
-toy car 20 STICKERS

My boys were beyond excited to see their charts which I placed near their beds.  (Each night before I tuck them in they get to go over their charts and see where they've earned stickers-something they look forward to nightly!)  You should've seen my busy little bees working hard to get their To-Do's completed!  I almost felt guilty as I sat on the couch sipping my wine tea as my kids worked and worked.  I said almost!  

We're about a week into it now and it's still going strong.  My youngest has already earned himself some ice cream (So Delicious chocolate flavor) which the other boys were envious of.  It made them work harder to see their brother reep his reward.  

All this being said, I wouldn't consider myself a super organized person (although it's always something I strive for and I do love the concept of Feng Shui....ahhh).  So even though we have this system in place, it most likely will change as the kids grow and figure out what needs to be done around here and to chip in on their own without being rewarded.  The goal of this project, for me, is to nurture responsible, thoughtful little people that can eventually fend for themselves.  I mean, the empty nest thing is inevitable, right?  So why not prepare them for when they're out in the real world.  But for now, you better believe I'll be soaking up every bit of their cute little kiddish ways while I can!

I'll be back next time with a Triple Power Muffin recipe!

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  1. Love your charts and how much you shared about how you did it! This is inspiring to me to get started with my little ones as well and even my big one again to whip her into shape (4, 7 & 18 yr olds).

    Thanks for sharing, great post.


    1. Thanks Kim! I hope it works for your 3 too! Hey, any age can do it...18 or not ;)