Each Member of the Family is part of a team. When the kids are little, you find yourself doing everything around the house, but as they grow and become a little more independent, it’s important to instill a sense of team work and community. Making a responsibility chart has changed our lives. Here’s how it works:
Each child receives a chart with responsibilities given according to age and maturity level. The older they are, the more responsibilities, which means, the more stars they need to earn a prize, whether it be stars or money or something from a treasure box.
Example: 8 year old Responsibilities:
15 minutes of Reading
Unload the Dishwasher
Put away Folded Clothes
Help Make Next Day Lunches
Laundry (separate towels from clothes)
Example: 6 Year old Responsibilities
Set the Table
Unload the Dishwasher
Homework (Write Spelling Words)
3 Year Old Responsibilities:
Feed the Dog
Make Bed (as best they can)
Pick up All toys in backyard
Putting away folded socks/underwear
2 Year Old Responsibilities
Clean Up Clean Up Every Body Clean Up
(put your toys in the toy box)
As they begin to do these responsibilities on their own, I take it off the list and put something older / more mature for them to do.
If there’s 5 items and 5 days in the week, that’s 25 stars. I make the 8 year old earn 20 stars to get a prize or money, whereas, the smaller ones need around 17, anything less than that, they’re slacking on their responsibilities. That means they’re only doing each item 3 days out of 5 days a week.
At the end of the week, whoever has the total number of stars needed, will be given $3 to go to the dollar tree and spend it anyway they like. It’s cute to see them walk in there with their money. They’ll pick up an item, think about it, put it back and pick up something else. They pay for it themselves. It gives them an idea of how much something costs and how hard they had to work for it.
Sometimes I will notice that one or two of the kids aren’t cleaning their room, so I’ll give the one cleaning his room a bonus star, which gets them an extra 30 minutes of “stay up time” while the other kids go to bed early or something special they like. For my 6 year old, it’s gum. For my 8 year old, it’s playing his video game an extra 15 minutes without the kids in the media room harassing him. : ) This makes the other kids more alert to the fact that a bonus could be given at anytime, so they better do all the responsibilities.
How to Construct the Responsibility Chart:
I take a bright yellow piece of felt, from Michael’s or other craft store – it looks like a place mat, (cost $1) Map out their responsibilities and place it on the front of the fridge. I bought stars (from Michaels / Hobby Lobby) that you peel off the back, so it’s sticky. All their stars start out on the right hand side of the chart.
When they do a chore, they move the star to the box. During the week, we access how well they are doing. They often times have to be reminded to do certain things like READ. But as time goes on, they just get in the routine and it becomes 2nd nature.
I noticed that when I took down the chart, they quit doing everything. They need it as a guide for the day.
If one kid does the chart and another doesn’t, then they have to go to the Dollar Tree and watch the other kids buy something. It’s a tough lesson, but one not repeated. There will be cries and tantrums, but they know you mean business. If on Friday evening they are lacking 1 or 2 stars, I’ll give them a chance to make it up before we go to the store, by having to do extra work that they wouldn’t normally do, sort of like giving them Grace. And then off we go. We make a big deal out of it, as if we were buying a new car. I tell them how proud I am and their grinning from ear to ear.
So, now you have it. There are always adjustments. The Dollar Tree may not work for you. You’ll figure out what works for you and your family and before you know it, you won’t be doing ALL the work. The trick is figuring how to make them more independent! It’s a Team Effort.