June 9, 2014

Household Helpers

Morning place mats have been working wonderfully for two years now.  But, with summer fast approaching, I knew it was about time to set up some sort of system to let the boys know what chores I expect them to help with.  At 5 years and 7 1/2 years old, they are able to help out more around the house, especially when they are home all day.  Also, we have been discussing starting to give our boys allowance. 

All of this got me thinking about what would work best in our home.  A great excuse to look at Pinterest for inspiration!  You can see some of my favorite ideas saved on my Parenting board.  There are lists of developmentally appropriate chores for different ages, commentaries on linking allowance to chores (or why you might choose not to), and many creative ways to create chore charts.

The thing is that my husband and I don't want our children to think of their helping around the house as "chores."  More important, we want them to understand that certain helpful behaviors are their responsibility as a member of our household.  This mind set applies to both jobs around the house and to routine responsibilities.  Here are a few examples of responsibilities that I expect my boys to take care of without my asking: put your shoes away when you come inside, flush the toilet, clear your dishes after you eat, throw your dirty laundry down to the basement.  So, we decided to extend the idea of our morning routine and also establish summer afternoon and evening routines where the children are reminded of their routine responsibilities.  Here are the cards:

So many ideas on Pinterest were very cute and definitely practical.  In the end, however, I decided I wanted the boys to be responsible for more than just a half dozen of the same daily chores.  Inspired by how another mother used mailboxes, I came up with our non-chore non-chart Household Helpers kit.  {BTW: The boys helped me decide on the name.}

See that list on the left?  I know it looks like a lot of household jobs.  Well, they each only get a total of six cards maximum each day.  But, this way I can change the jobs as needed.  I wanted the boys to help with whatever needed to be done on a particular day, instead of doing a set list of daily chores.  They have enjoyed having variety in what tasks they help with around the house and learning to do new jobs.  They actually begged me to hurry up and finish the project and have asked to help choose jobs!

So, here is a quick run down of how I made our kit:
1) I purchased two mailboxes at the craft store.  2) I made a name label (sticker) for each boy, and I used an awl and brads to attached two old card catalog drawer pulls (that I had stored away in the basement).  3) I printed a ticket image and a chore on each card (using sheets of business cards that I already had).  4) Then I laminated the cards (and printed a master list of jobs) and stored them in our family binder.  5) Finally, I created envelopes for each boy to "mail" them their allowance.

And, in case you were going to ask... We've been discussing how to handle allowance for some time.  Each family is different, but here is what we decided: Since my husband's paycheck comes every two weeks, the children get allowance every other week also.  The total paid each month equals their age in years.  (For example, when a boy is 8 years old they receive $4 twice a month.)  Allowance is an opportunity to teach our children about wise money management (saving, giving, spending) and is not linked to chores.  Because we are all part of this family, everyone in the house is expected to help with jobs (or chores) in addition to their routine responsibilities.

1 comment:

i choose joy today said...

Thank you to my friends who have asked for more information about this project. I have gladly shared the documents I used to print our chore cards. Please send me an email if you are also interested. Also, thanks to Jayne for sharing her family's new morning routine sheet:

Good Morning!!!
This is the day that the LORD has made, let us rejoice and be glade.

Get Dressed
Check Room
Brush Teeth
Set Table
Feed Pets

I think this is a great resource for children when you say "check your chart" in the morning. I also like that her boys take responsibility for checking off what they've done by themselves. Jayne had a great idea of using a letter of the day, instead of a check mark, to her boys practice writing skills too.

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