I've been meaning to do this post for about 6 months, when I was asked to share how I do chore time in our family. So... a little belated, but here we go.
I hate cleaning. Hate it. I didn't really do a lot of cleaning in my youth. No, seriously, this is what happened when little Marisa was told to go clean her room:
My 'cleaning' began on my bed, and then
I fell to the floor and the 'cleaning' continued)
Well, I wasn't about to let my kids live their life without a heavy duty list of chores. Not so much because I want to instill a belief that this house is mine AND theirs to take care of, but because if I delegate all my least favorite chores, then my life is happier. The instilling a belief that this house is mine AND theirs to take care of is just a bonus.
So, about a year ago, I gave each of my girls a job. Annelie's job was feeding the dogs, and Gracie's job was giving all the pets water. This job was done every single day. No exceptions. It went very well! (they also got to help me around the house when I told them to - with MUCH complaining on their part - but as for jobs, they just had one)
A handful of months later, I called the kids for a family meeting, and congratulated and thanked them for their jobs well done. Then I gave them their very first Helping Hands charts, which were decorated with a pretty flower border and featured many shades of pink.
(also, decorating their chore charts and making it all pink and flowery totally made the difference in how they viewed their chores. And the free spaces are their most FAVORITE PART.)
THE RULE: do the chores at 4 o'clock (which I call '4 o'clock, chore o'clock'). If the week's chores are done without complaining, the kids get $2. If they complain, they don't get anything and still have to do the chores. They love options and I thought these options were pretty fair.
Well, these chore charts have lasted a whole 6 months and let me tell ya, my kids are SO GREAT at doing each one of these chores because they've had so much practice. They've also learned that if they do the chores fast, they get more playtime. If they do them fast but are too sloppy, they have to do them again.
And I have gotten really good at making sure they do their jobs - even if it means writing 'kids do chores' on my daily to-do list so we don't all forget (this seems to be a necessary part of chore time)
Today I made up new and improved lists, and added an extra free space because I gave them a heck of a lot more work than they had before (of course I didn't point this out to them, other than saying LOOK! I gave you an extra free space! to which they replied with enthusiastic YAY!!!s)
Gracie flipped out over the fun text and Eiffel Towers. Honestly, it is THAT easy to get her excited about a Helping Hands chart.
And that's that. My kids do their chores at chore o'clock, every day.
And my life is much happier.
UPDATE - I saw this post on Money Saving Mom: 20 Chore Ideas for 7-year-olds (and there is one for 4-year-olds, too) and it sounds a lot like how it's done at my house - much praise, assistance on certain chores (laundry, etc), and patience when it comes to kids meeting expectations. My kids have been folding laundry since they were four, and at first were so sloppy, but I repressed the compulsion to do it myself, and now they are pros. It's wonderful.
Do those of you with kids dole out household chores? If so, what chores! I'm both curious and eager to delegate new responsibilities, so please tell me!