A Better Chore Chart
Welcome to a better way to do chores! I am a big fan of chore charts and age appropriate responsibilities for everyone in the family. I think it’s important to teach basic life skills, responsibility and teamwork at a young age. Having a daily role to play in the management of a household fosters independence and discourages an attitude of entitlement. We have used a lot of different chore charts over the years, but this is the one we have settled on and have used the longest for our family of seven.
The Lemp Way
I in no way thought this was a ground breaking concept, but I’ve had several friends and family members refer to our chore chart as the “Lemp way!” They say it in fun, and then nervously decide to try it themselves. And guess what, it works!
The basic concept is to create jobs, of which your child is the overseer or manager for the day. For example, one child will be assigned as the kitchen manager every Tuesday and Thursday. On these days, they are responsible for making sure the kitchen stays clean all day long. They will check in on it throughout the day and make sure it is clean when they go to bed. You’ll be shocked how much more careful they are of messes in the kitchen on their kitchen day. They will be watchful of other people when they make a mess in the kitchen. Everyone else will be watchful too! If someone sees a mess in the kitchen, they know who to call!
“The basic concept is to create jobs, of which your child is the overseer or manager for the day. This is not a once-and-done task, rather an all-day responsibility.”
The great part about this schedule is you can hang up one chart and reuse it for months! We have created a schedule and used it for up to six months, before doing a job scramble and switching up what days or jobs everyone has. *There will be a learning curve for implementing this method. Give yourself grace for a few weeks as you all get the hang of it, but stay consistent!
You will need to come up with specific jobs for each member of your household to do. Feel free to include yourself on the list, but your role as head manager is already responsible for everything else that doesn’t get done! Depending on your family’s schedule, there may be days certain people are not available. You’ll have to come up with tasks that work with each individuals schedule and ability. Here are a few example jobs you could include:
- Kitchen Manager: Responsible for keeping the kitchen clean all day long. Wipe counters, take out trash, keep floors clean, etc. If there is a large spill or the microwave is messy, this falls under their jurisdiction to clean it up or make sure it is cleaned up by the person who created the mess.
- Dish Crew: This job could be included in Kitchen Manager, especially for smaller families. Our family views it as it’s own separate job to make sure the sink remains empty all day and that the dishwasher is run. Everyone should put their own dirty dishes in the dishwasher, but the Dish Crew empties it when it is done and puts everything away. They keep a watchful eye all day to make sure everyone is putting their dishes away. Bonus: without fail, the person that has Dish Crew the next day will definitely be watching to make sure the current day’s manager has the sink empty before going to bed!
- Pool and Landscape: If you have a pool or an outdoor area, have someone in charge of skimming the pool, wiping down tables, watering plants, hosing off surfaces, etc.
- Floors: We have someone assigned every day to floors. Our floors get very dirty and require daily vacuuming or sweeping. If you have a Roomba this might not be necessary, but if you can’t afford a Roomba like us, have a kid do it!
- Pet Care: If you have a dog or pet that requires daily attention, assign someone to be in charge for the day. They are responsible for feeding, walking and cleaning.
You are doing a disservice to yourself and to your kids, if you have not gotten them involved in the management of your home. This is especially important for large families, homeschooling families and for everyone on Summer break! With 5 kids, I would lose my mind if everyone didn’t pitch in and help out around the house. It’s a win-win because it helps me out and teaches my kids responsibility.
Here are some examples of things my kids do for themselves, completely independently:
· Laundry: Each child has their own laundry basket and learned to do their own laundry by the time they were 10. I taught them how to treat stains, sort colors and save money using cold wash settings. They even hang the clothes they don’t want to shrink.
· Breakfast and Lunch: On days that we are all at home, my kids get up and make their own breakfast and lunch. We usually do one planned meal a day. They each do a simple breakfast of cereal, toast or eggs, and lunch might be a quesadilla or grilled cheese sandwich and soup.
· 3:00 Snack: We started a 3:00 snack years ago in response to my kids always asking to eat. Instead of telling them “no” constantly, I set a time when they are allowed to help themselves to the designated snacks on hand. We encourage them to eat all their food at lunch time because they will need to wait until 3:00 to have a snack. If they’re hungry in between, fruit and veggies are always allowed.
· Cleaning Up Their Own Mess: Most importantly, they are responsible for cleaning up after themselves. If they get toys or playdough out, they clean it up before doing anything else. If they have a snack, they must clean up the table or crumbs left behind.
This list of things will look differently for each family. It may take some trial and error to figure out what works for you, but your kids are probably capable of much more than you think! Don’t feel guilty asking them to help or teaching them a new skill. There are so many benefits to involving them in the work!
Printable Chore Chart
Find a printable version of this chore chart in my shop! The printable version comes with instructions, tips, example chart and several layout options. Click on the button below or here: Family Chore Chart.