Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Summer Chore List

Everyone knows how LONG summer days can get.  Us moms are trying to get cleaning done and our kids are playing/whining about being bored and always wanting to go "do" something.

This year I decided to do something about that.  I created a summer chore list in a little bit different way than I ever had before.  I tried to take a picture of it, but didn't turn out well, so I'm just going to explain it instead.

To begin with I came up with 4 things that my kids had expressed interest in doing (and that I was OK with us doing) and put those in a column on the left side of the paper.  The 4 we chose were: go to Books-a-million, go bowling, go to Chuck E Cheese and go to a wildlife safari near our house. 

Next I decided how many chores each place would "cost" the kids.  For instance, since Books-a-million (BAM) is free (the kids just like to play with the train table there), I felt like it was worth 4 chores.  Bowling is not free, but isn't too expensive, so it costs 10 chores.  Chuck E Cheese will set me back a little bit more and require a little bit of planning so it's worth 15 chores.  The safari is actually quite expensive and is an hour away, so it's 20 chores.  I put the required chore amount next to each reward so they know what it takes to earn it.

Then I came up with a list of chores that they can do to earn rewards.  These are not chores that they normally do, but extra ones that may be new to them - such as dusting a room, vacuuming a room, sweeping the garage, etc.  I tried to make them age appropriate but slightly harder than their normal chores.  (They do have to EARN the rewards.)  I cut the chores apart and put them in a cup.  Then they can choose to do a "cup chore" during the day, randomly drawn from the cup, of course.  After they do it, it has to be approved by me, then they can put a sticker by the reward they want to earn.  Once they both have the required number of stickers next to a reward, we go and do that reward.

It sounds very complicated, but the kids caught on really fast and have been very receptive to it.  As a bonus, I feel like it teaches them so many great things.  First of all, both children have to earn the required number of stickers to earn a reward.  For instance, to go to BAM, they both have to do 4 chores and get 4 stickers on the chart by the BAM choice.  That means they have to work together for the same reward to earn it.  If David is putting all his stickers on BAM and Julie is putting hers on the safari, they won't earn either.  So this teaches them teamwork and compromise.  It also teaches that rewards are tied to work and that usually better rewards are tied to a larger amount of work.  And the obvious lesson, they learn how to do a whole bunch of new chores. That will benefit ME in the future.

So far they have earned their BAM reward.  They did that within 2 days (I was actually worried that I had made it too easy).  Since then their enthusiasm has waned a little bit.  They are currently working towards Chuck E Cheese and should reach that in about a week after we get back from vacation.

I have just been so pleasantly surprised by how well this chore/reward system has worked so far.  The kids are both very excited about it and are making lists of what they want the rewards to be on the next chart I make. 

So, tell me, how do you handle chores in the summer?  Any new or different strategies?


  1. I like your idea and it shows that things take effort and that instant gratification is not reality. You're a great mommy!

  2. I love your summer strategy!