There are several purposes behind having kids do chores:
- Teach responsibility
- Teach work ethic
- Teach home-ec skills
But as a mom with a newborn, toddler, and preschooler, I NEED my older kids to help out around the house to keep it from becoming a complete disaster. I used to assign specific chores for the kids to do each day, but I kept running into the problem of them sometimes being unable to complete the chore (can’t read to younger siblings if they keep running off, and can’t empty the dishwasher if it didn’t need to be, etc). I wanted more flexibility– that their chores could change based on what actually needs to be done. I also wanted them to have more say in how they help out around the house (when they get to CHOOSE what their chores are, they take more pride in doing them– similar to adults usually getting to choose their career path and job).
After brainstorming, my husband and I came up with a point system. We listed a ton of chores and categorized them based on difficulty and time to complete.
The easy, quick chores are worth 1 point.
The moderate chores are worth 2 points.
And the more time intensive, difficult chores are worth 3 points.
This chore system is all about flexibility to fit our needs though. This is a pretty extensive list of chore options, but there still are sometimes when I have something extra that comes up that I need done. In that case, I say, “Who will put the stroller in the car for 1 point?” (or whatever task I need accomplished).
Each child needs to do points that will add up to their age. For instance, our 11 year old completes 11 points of chores each day. He earns a “Behavior Buck” for chores once he meets his chore requirement for the day (which takes him maybe an hour at most). Yesterday, he did the following chores to accomplish his chore requirement:
empty trash (1 pt), wipe up a spill (1 pt), help younger siblings wash hands (1 pt), play with baby for 5 min. (1 pt), meal prep (2 pt), clear/wipe table (2 pt), and tidy family room (3 pt)
So far this system has worked really, really well. The kids get points towards their chore requirement for the day for little things they help out with. They’re looking around and seeing what needs to be done more often (instead of completing some rote list of tasks). And they’re becoming more experienced with a wide variety of household tasks!
I should note that not ALL chores are appropriate for every age (for instance, the preschooler would NOT be allowed to iron Sunday shirts). But our pre-teen is able to accomplish every item on this list. Use your own common sense 🙂