Last year, I posted “Rules, Points System, and Chore Charts for Children” to share with my readers how we maintain order around here. Our five kids now range in age from almost-4 to just-turned-12 and their chores have changed over the last year. We’ve evolved as a family and have modified a good bit of our personal system. I thought I’d start updating my site each year with the changes we implement as our children grow older to help you all out with ideas on how to organize and schedule your family’s day to day life. It certainly helps keep a level of sanity in a large family! {Click here to check out all my articles on routines!}

HOW IT WORKS

The overall points system for our chore and behavioral charts pretty much works the same as before, but with a few tweaks. I have a spreadsheet with functions assigned to various fields that helps calculate daily and weekly totals so that they are able to keep track of where they are at any given time. Each line item is assigned a “score” according to its importance or level of difficulty. Each day, I enter a 0, 1, or 2 in the appropriate field depending on whether they did not meet my expectations (0), did meet my expectations (1), or exceeded my expectations (2). That number is then multiplied by the number of points in the score field and is added to the daily/weekly totals. Normally, the only time they get double points (exceeding my expectations) is when they accomplish certain tasks without having to be reminded, corrected, or instructed at all – that rarely ever happens. ;)

The idea of “chores” hasn’t changed, but the chores they are expected to complete have increased in difficulty over the last year. The kids don’t JUST earn points for doing chores though. They get higher scores by doing various other things such as brushing their teeth twice per day, doing good deeds, finishing homework without procrastination, being prepared for the next school day, participating in our family Bible study, praying, and going to bed on time. The end goal in all of this is to raise them spiritually, responsibly, and help them develop into well rounded adults with healthy habits and respect for routines, deadlines, and personal accountability

Around here, though, you can lose points just as quickly as you earn them. The spreadsheet I created also contains a section which has functions that deduct points for unacceptable behavior. They can’t earn those points back. We have a whiteboard where we have a calendar, an at-a-glance copy of our house rules, and checklists for their chores. If you haven’t already gotten your children into the habit of doing chores, it might be a good idea to create a list of chores for them to accompany the points system chart so that they can keep up with what they need to do on their own. My kids have had the same chores for years, so those are understood without listing them, but I do have the checklists available so that they don’t forget any part of their designated responsibility for a particular day.

Click the image below to enlarge

If you want to give your child credit for each chore individually, you can modify your own chart to reflect each item… I don’t consider any of their chores done if all of them aren’t done. At the end of the week, they can “cash in” the points they’ve earned for various things – a few bucks for a particular purchase they want to make, a privilege, or their choice of activity for Family Night – or they can “save” them to cash in the following week if they are wanting something more than what they’ve earned. We use a three-level tier to allow them to obtain certain rewards, which I switch up each week. Sometimes they will have the option of going out to eat, getting cash allowance, or taking a trip to the park. Other times they will have options like getting to choose snacks for the week, getting treats after school, or having company.

MY CHILDREN & THEIR CHORES

Over the years, no matter what has changed there is always one thing that remains the same: everyone pulls their own weight. We firmly believe that failing to teach our kids how to be self-sufficient is a huge disservice to them so each of our children are responsible for specific things on a day to day basis. We alternate certain chores between the oldest four on a rotating basis; other things are assigned to one or two of the kids in particular. Last year when I posted the article, our niece Tiara was living with us; that is no longer the case so we’re back to the oldest three kids taking turns on kitchen duty. Last year, they also got a break on Wednesday as that was my night; that is also no longer the case. I straighten up in the kitchen during the day and I go behind them to make sure everything is completely clean, but ultimately they do the majority of cleaning. Why? Well, because they do the majority of messing up! lol

Whoever has kitchen duty or bathroom duty doesn’t have to do anything else that day except for the chores specifically assigned to them on a continual basis (such as their bedrooms). The rest of the kids are expected to take care of tidying up the rest of the house — sweeping, straightening up, putting things away, getting whatever paper or whatever they’ve left in the yard during playtime, etc. The one thing that has changed is laundry — I do the majority of washing, drying, folding, hanging, and putting it up but if I put clothes in their rooms they are expected to make sure that they get to their proper places. Every now and then I will tell Bri or Talia to start the washer or have Tre bring clothes upstairs that were in the dryer, but that isn’t specifically a part of any of their chores.

  1. Briyana (age 12) has the kitchen on Sundays and Wednesdays and the bathrooms on Tuesdays and Saturdays. She has third shift on the kitchen on Saturdays as well so that anything she doesn’t do is still her responsibility on Sunday morning. She is responsible for keeping her own room clean, bed made, etc. She is also still expected to set a good example for her younger siblings (which she doesn’t always do such a hot job of…)
  2. Tre (age 10.5) still has the same tasks of feeding the dog and taking out the trash from the kitchen and bathrooms. He is also expected to make sure the trash  bin gets out to the road on Wednesdays. He has the kitchen on Mondays and Thursdays and the bathrooms on Sundays and Wednesdays. Tre has second shift on the kitchen on Saturdays.
  3. Talia (age 9) has the kitchen on Tuesdays and Fridays and the bathrooms on Mondays and Thursdays. She is responsible for ensuring her and Avalyn’s room stays tidy – they have equal share in cleaning it and each are expected to make up their own beds. She has first shift on the kitchen on Saturdays so that anything she didn’t do on Friday night is still her responsibility.
  4. Avalyn (age 6.5) does not have kitchen duty, but she is expected to dump her own plate and put her dishes in the sink. Ava has the bathrooms on Wednesdays. Her responsibility basically entails helping her siblings when they have the general house as a chore – she walks around with a Walmart bag and picks up anything that needs to be thrown away, takes clothes to the laundry area, etc. She is learning how to sweep.
  5. Zoe (age 3.5) isn’t expected to do a whole lot, but she does have simple responsibilities to prepare her for chores in a couple of years. She picks up toys after herself and puts them away, folds any clothes that she takes out and has to put them back where she got them from, and has to get paper towels and wipe up things she spills. Her tasks pretty much only deal with cleaning up after herself. She isn’t all that great at it but she’s learning to be responsible for her own messes which is the most important thing at this point.

HOUSE RULES

  1. Use inside voices inside. <— Self explanatory. Don’t yell.
  2. Be respectful. <— This applies to adults as well as one another and other children. Give respect to get respect.
  3. Be helpful! <— I expect them to be helpful to me, their teachers, people in the neighborhood, and one another, especially with homework.
  4. Be appreciative – say THANK YOU. <— I want them to realize that they aren’t owed things so when someone does something for them, they should recognize it as a wonderful gesture and they should voice their appreciation by saying a simple thanks.
  5. Be kind – consider others’ circumstances. <— It’s important for children to know that sometimes people aren’t mean just because they feel like being mean. Sometimes they are angry because their life isn’t going well. Some people aren’t withdrawn because they don’t want friends. Sometimes they don’t want to get close to people because someone they’ve trusted has hurt them. Some people aren’t “weird” because something is wrong with them. Some people have real problems and those troubles make them act ways that we may not understand. We should always be willing to consider that there is more to a person than what we see and treat them kindly despite how they may treat us.
  6. Be a role model – set a GOOD example. <— I expect each of the kids to set a good example for their younger siblings.
  7. Look out for your family. <— There is nothing sadder than a family in which each member isn’t there for one another. I raise my kids to stand up for one another, be there for one another, and help each other make good decisions but also to support each other and be helpful if/when they make bad decisions.
  8. Make GOD proud. <— You’ll find out more about this in the next section when I explain our family’s code of conduct.
  9. Use your words – COMMUNICATE! <— Nothing annoys me more than having misunderstandings because a person assumes you know something they haven’t expressed to you. I remind my kids regularly to use their words. Don’t whine. Don’t pout. Don’t get mad or argue. Communicate. Say what’s on your mind respectfully and move forward.
  10. Do NOT ask adults, “Why?”! <— If there is one thing I cannot stand, it’s a child who questions an adult after they’ve gotten an answer they don’t like. I am constantly having to stress to my kids the fact that when I answer them, that is not an opportunity to negotiate. My decisions are final. Period. The end.

THE ROBERTSON FAMILY CODE OF CONDUCT

This is where we teach our kids about making God proud and designing their life and deciding their actions based on what He expects from them in addition to what we expect. Nothing has changed about our family’s “ethics system” since last year … it was taken from a Bible study we did on Galatians 5:16-26 and is based on concepts of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Our house rules are directly related to these concepts and as parents, Barry and I provide constant reminders not only to the kids but to ourselves and each other as well.

If you would like to develop a plan like this for your family, feel free to click one of the links below to download a copy of our system as a starting point. One thing we’ve learned over the years is that children thrive on discipline and self-discipline (which is very different from “punishment” so please don’t confuse the two), structure, stability, and consistency. Implementing our “system” wasn’t easy to begin with (click here to check out the article in which I listed schedules as one of my bottom three parental concerns two years ago) but it’s definitely made life easier over the last couple of years (click here to check out the article in which I talked about finally starting routines in our family) and I imagine it will make a world of difference in the future.

GENERIC CHORE CHART

FAMILY CODE OF CONDUCT


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