Thursday, June 2, 2011

New Chore Card Design

I decided to revamp our chore cards around here. I decided that now that the boys can read it was time to write down exactly what I expect of them from each chore. This works two ways, not only does it let them know what they need to do, but how to do it.

Don't get me wrong, the written word isn't going to help much if they aren't taught how to do it first. However, my boys know how to do the chore, but seem to leave bits and pieces undone unless Mom or Dad is hanging over them.

This has caused a bit of frustration for everyone involved. So I decided it was time to vamp the chores around here. Not only did I write out specifically what was expected of them I color coded it too.

Green is where they are just beginning, orange/yellow means they are nearly done, & red means they can stop. I also added prices at the bottom. That's not what they get paid per chore, but rather what they'll pay me if I have to do the chore for them instead or if their chore is done improperly.  There was a bit of lamenting about it until I pointed out that they could think of it like the tea and sugar tax the colonists had to endure. I added that I was being a wee bit more fair then King George because I was only going to enforce the tax if the job was done wrong.

There was still concern that they might not be able to do it until I pointed out that if they followed their chore cards as they were written out there'd be no way I could levy a tax on them. Here's the thing though, I made semi-generic cards. My kids each have their own personal flaws and habits. The idea of the cards was to target each person without making them feel singled out. In otherwords if you check out the card for making your bed you'll notice that it specifically says on the base No Toys Allowed! I have a child who will put anything and everything in his bed "for safe keeping".  If you check out the Stairs card you might think it's a bit redundant, but I have a child who will first clean one room to the stairs and then when asked to clean the stairs will clean the items to some other room until Mom trips over them. I chose to be very specific knowing my children's habits.

Because of the specifics on the card it means I added a few more in as well. I labeled them as Task One, Task Two, etc. Apparently putting them on a ring in a specific order didn't always inspire one of my children to work in that order. Now, you're probably thinking that's a tad nit picky of me, but if the kids wait until all their other chores are done to put away the dishes then it hold the dishwasher {ie. me} up from finishing some of my chores. So I was more specific with labelling what order each chore should be done in.

That's not all though {holy cats that sounds very infomercially!} I also added time limits to the cards. The yellow splat with a number in it is a time limit. Did you think it was a price? Mr S did and nearly fainted when he thought I was going to pay the kids $10 for brushing their teeth every day. Mind you, the kids thought it was a price at first and were all excited to clean off the stairs to make a quick $8.00. Nope, it's definitely not money, but time. Do you have a dawdler? I do.

Generally I set the timer for each and every task going on because of it. I might give them a head start and then say, "Right you've taken too long so now the timer is running and if this task isn't done by the time it goes off you'll receive an extra chore/punishment/tax/etc."  Rather then make it a crime & punishment issue I decided the best thing to do was have a predetermined time for accomplishing tasks in. The children are required to set the timer and get moving. I was going to add a tax to it as well if the chore wasn't done in the proper time, but decided against it for several reasons.

On top of that, I really only have one dawdler. He will honestly move as slowly as possible in hopes someone will rescue him from his misery known as chores. He lives for his birthday and Christmas because he knows they are chore free days aside from feeding one's pet. The other one doesn't truly dawdle. He does, however, become easily distracted. Like last week when I sent him up to make his bed. Five minutes later I asked if he was done and he informed me he'd forgotten what he was meant to be doing so he'd sat down to flip through his library book.

Yep, I decided it was time to remake the chore cards with more details now that the boys no longer needed picture prompts. In doing so I also revamped the chores a bit. I assigned the boys chores to do on only certain days of the week giving them each more of a zone to clean. We were all ready mulling that idea over when Mr S pointed out that if we docked them for undone/poorly done chores they were likely to play the blame game {also a punishable act in our home..} and I agreed that he was absolutely 100% right. To nip that problem before it began we decided it was time to zone things up a bit.

The bedroom isn't zoned for a couple of reasons, and the biggest one being that they share a room. I also don't make them clean it up every day if they are building lego because often they have preset piles laid out for specific projects and considering the amount of lego we have I know how time consuming finding those pieces can be! However, they are still expected to straighten up the rest of the bedroom.

I bet you want to know how awesomely this is working right? We only started implementing the new cards this week. My chore hater still hates chores and we had tears over him having to work alone in a zone the first day or two.  However, they've done their chores and done them well. There was no more frustration on everyone's part when chores were checked up on.  They know what's expected of them and it's written down in front of them.

There's also more inspiration for them to follow through on their evening chores now that we've moved to each person tidying up a certain area or zone. If they clean up their various things at night then in the morning that's one less chore to fuss over. It's what we like to call a win-win situation around here! Now, if I could get the to quit leaving watermelon rind all over we'd be doing great!


Kayla said...

Wow your cards are WONDERFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jen's Busy Days said...

This is a great idea and is similar to an idea I have done with routines. Chore cards would be great and I like the tax for you having to redo/complete part of a task.

I was going with a 5 point system at one stage. 1 each for willingness in attitude, immediate obedience, staying on task, finishing the job and finishing the job well.

Yours is much clearer by having actions that can be clearly judged as done or not done.

I would love to know more about how you deal with the dawdling and distractability though. Will you just say, ok time's up, pay me to finish the job? Hmm, that could work.

Best wishes
Jen in NSW

Rachel said...

Where do you get your clip art for the cards? I would love to make some for my kids.

Kendra said...

Kayla, thanks! :D

Jen, dawdling is a punishable offense in our home. We have clear set rules for things like dawdling, disobeying, etc. So those rules would apply to dawdling issues. I only have one who dawdles at chore time, and while it's not written on the cards if they don't finish the chore in the allotted time due to dawdling they get an additional .50 fine. Honestly, we've only had to deal with this ONCE and it was because they didn't do a tidy up on a Friday evening and the child responsible for cleaning up the lounge was highly overwhelmed and felt like he shouldn't have to do it all alone. Before the dawdling got out of control I offered to help him because I agreed he had a LOT to do simply because we hadn't done the family tidy up that night.

Rachel, it came with the programme I use to make all the stuff with, BUT I believe they are free clip art graphics that can be found on the web. The guinea pig, for instance, was one I snagged on a goole search.

If I have spare time I can slap the cards up with no text/times on them and just pictures for people to snag and fill in as they desire.

Lisa said...

Love, love, love these, Kendra! I am working on revamping our chore system right now, and this has me thinking in a whole 'nother direction than I was before!

Rachel said...

Thanks Kendra! I need to find a good clip are program :)

Samantha Kopera said...

Do you have a pdf file with the new chore cards? I love them and would love to use them for my daughters

Mrs. Mandy said...

I would love to use your cards if you make them available. I have a child who dwaddles and 2 who are easily distracted so these would be perfect!

Kristen said...

Your blog is just wonderful! Am i right that these are create with the Chore Ware program? If so i think you have done an amazing job adding things that i could figure out how to...How did you add the time constraint and such! Wonderful ideas. Thank you for sharing.