The following is a guest post about an awesome DIY chore chart from regular contributor, Rachel at Useful Beautiful Home.
I’ve been stalking the chore chart world for many moons but could never find exactly what I wanted. My daughter is growing in independence and good about helping with household tasks when asked. So, I didn’t want another long list to check off for fear it would turn into a system that would get defeating. And, I didn’t want to ruin a good thing by making chores seem like, well… chores. She’s already a cheerful helper (for the most part) and I didn’t want to turn her attitude into drudgery. In the end, I decided to create my own interactive system to fit our chore chart needs.
I wanted something involving hands-on participation, something with a short-term reward system, and something that didn’t require much of my time to manage (aka little parent involvement). Additionally, I wanted to make it using only things I had around my house or things I could print at home, which mirrors Laura’s thoughts shared HERE about being functional and fabulous while remaining within our budget. Is that too much to ask?
You can see in the above picture, my system is NOT elaborate. If I limited myself to rudimentary directions; it would say, “print, cut, assemble, hang on wall.” It’s easy to create and the hardest part (the little picture cards that I will talk about in a minute) came from Erica who blogs at Confessions of a Homeschooler. All I had to do was employ the printer and a pair of scissors because designing the chore cards was already done. She also has blank cards to write in some unique-to-you house chores. In fact, Erica has a whole system to go along with the cards (both for younger and older children) that she explains in detail. If you’re looking for something more elaborate than what I’m showing you today, check out the directions HERE explaining how to use her system in it’s entirety.
Onward to the details of my “print, cut, hang” project. :) I began by cutting down to size a sticky board (affiliate link) leftover from a paper control project I wrote about HERE. I had it, therefore I used it; but you could glue all these parts to a poster board from the dollar store just as easily. The background doesn’t matter as much as getting everything displayed in one location. The sticky board has the added benefit of being able to reposition pieces and add or subtract from the overall design at any time (below pic). No gluing involved either, so technically that makes this a little easier than using a poster board.
My brainchild actually started when I stumbled upon a package of library pockets in the back of my desk drawer. I’ve had these for years (insert eye-rolling over my inadvertent supply hoarding). I was just about to donate them, due to the thick layer of dust that accumulated on top, when my chore chart idea came to life.
I use one pocket per day to hold the day’s worth of chore cards/instructions. The bright colors and designs make it fun, but you could also make pockets out of cardstock paper if you don’t hoard things like this in your desk drawers. :) Or, you could purchase a 6-pack like mine on Amazon HERE (affiliate link) or a cute trendy 12-pack like THESE. The theme possibilities are endless using these nifty pockets.
I then printed an assortment of chore cards from Confessions of a Homeschooler. I ran a google search looking for picture labeled chore cards and came across her free printables. I can’t give her enough credit, because she developed an amazing chore system that works for her family, so please be sure to check it out!
I should mention that I printed my own “Chore Chart” label and days of the week letter labels (rather than using what comes with Erica’s printable pack) because I wanted a specific size and color scheme. I cut the letter labels out with a circle punch (see below). You could make this chart without a circle gadget, but again this is just something I had at home and used. The circle punch is the only punch cutter I have and use regularly. In fact, I showed it in action with my Christmas garland HERE.
I was careful to choose chores that would be attainable for my daughter. Our homeschool days (twice a week) are filled with more chores than the in-school days because time dictates how much she can accomplish. My goal is not to “Cinderella-ize” her (yep, just made that up) but rather, teach her to be a responsible young lady.
We don’t include allowances for these chores. Some (not all) chores are simply expected of our children as being part of our family and household. In other words, we all pitch-in to help as a gift in service to each other. HOWEVER, I do believe rewards can be encouraging during these training years. So, after a chore is finished, that card gets turned around and place in the back of the stack.
IF all the chore cards are completed for the day, she puts a sticker on the reward card located in the last pocket. Each day she has the chance to add a sticker to the reward card. That alone is a daily motivation, small yet rewarding to a child.
Once the card gets filled up with stickers, she can redeem it for a special, bigger reward from a stockpile I have. My stockpile is mostly things collected along the way. I also put special trips or one-on-one events, like a treat with me at a coffee shop, on slips of paper as reward items to redeem. The older she gets, the more she treasures activities together over trinket toys.
It works. It’s not complicated. And, it basically can run itself. My daughter is in charge of flipping the cards and responsible for adding stickers to the reward card when a day is completed. Although I check it from time to time, I don’t have to constantly issue reminders or babysit the details. At the end of the week, the cards are flipped back to their front sides and we start afresh the next Monday. It’s interactive by design, which also proves to be motivational.
There is more appeal to flipping cards and tallying stickers compared to checking a box on a long to-do list. My husband and I have been surprised how much the interactiveness encourages her in getting the jobs finished. Now if only we could make a big enough adult interactive chart to motivate me for my to-do list. :)
In the professional world, I’m a nurse by trade. But, around our house, I’m known as Mommy to our young daughters. My two worlds collided and began shaping into a blog. Useful Beautiful Home represents the hours I’ve dedicated to managing my household as efficiently as possible. I offer you motivation to keep your home healthy, organized, and welcoming. My goal is to share what I’ve implemented in my home to inspire you with fresh ideas and to encourage you to keep up the good work in yours! Learn more about me HERE or visit me at UsefulBeautifulHome.com.
- Please note that affiliate links are included in this post to make it easier for you to find what is being referenced. A small commission is made should you purchase product using these links, but this is at no extra cost to you. As always, any and all opinions are genuinely my own – or the author, in the case of posts by my guest contributors. Thank you!*
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