The Best Responsibility Chart
***THE CHART HAS BEEN UPDATED, SAME CONCEPT BUT BETTER LAID OUT. NEW VIDEO COMING SOON***
I have been experimenting with a new responsibility chart or “chore chart” for my kids over the last few months. I had designed one a while ago but to be honest, I totally over complicated and we kind of abandoned it after several months. I called it a responsibility chart because I believe chores are responsibilities and so are good behaviours and on this chart, we have both.
I also was looking for a way to implement an allowance system for my kids as they are now (at the time of this post) 5 and 6.
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A quick disclaimer, my kids by nature are pretty sweet kids. Eager to please, willing to help and have pretty easy going personalities. But they are kids…they prefer to play or watch Netflix over helping with chores. They get frustrated and their sinful nature rises up every day. Their behaviour is not always rainbows and sunshine!
We have always been pretty strict about routines and reminders that they are part of our family team which means they are part of the household responsibilities.
We have always made good character building a priority in our parenting and we have expectations of our children to be kind, helpful and respectful.
So I am going to brag on my kids a bit here. They are awesome. People (children and adults) like to be around them. People compliment them on their behaviour and willingness to help. I am so blessed to be their mama.
I know you think you have pretty awesome kids too, but maybe you are struggling or looking for a system that will help with behaviours and help them to be involved with the household chores.
Well, friends that is what I have for you here today!
I searched the internet and came up with a system that works for us, and I think will work for many kids.
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I use these clipboard cases to keep everything contained. Inside is the chart, 3 bags for the allowance and a dry erase marker. These are the logistics of it.
- Spend, Save and Tithe Bags.
- Responsibility and Chore Sheet,
- Cleaning Checklist
- Fines and Bonuses Sheet
In my research I found…
- Systems that used points and depending on how many points the child got for that day the child either got a reward or a consequence.
- Systems that were heavy on the positive reinforcement side.
- Systems that were heavy on the routine side.
- Systems that were only implemented to get out of a grounding/time out
- Systems that outline house rules and then consequences for not doing said rules.
Every child is different and different systems will work better than others for certain personality types. So if my responsibility chart system that I am about to introduce doesn’t seem right for your child then that’s ok! Find another way to motivate your kids to be responsible and do their chores!
Reasons why I think this responsibility chart system is so helpful
- children need structure and thrive on routine.
- many kids struggle with negative behaviours because they are unclear of expectations.
- moms are more overwhelmed than ever because we want to give our kids the world and we are the ones stuck with all the housework.
- many kids grow up not knowing how to handle money.
- bullying is a huge problem in this day and age.
So this is how I developed my chore chart/responsibility chart.
Let’s talk about allowance first.
Money management was never my strongest suit and times in my life I have struggled with debt and overspending and not saving or tithing. I want this to be different for my kids.
I want them to know the value of a dollar and how far that goes. I want them to understand budgeting, saving and the importance of giving to the Lord and giving to others. I want them to understand money doesn’t just flow out of mommy and daddy’s pockets, or grow on trees, rather that you have to work hard for it.
OK, now let’s discuss behaviours.
I have behaviours that I expect/wish to instill into my children
- put others before themselves
- good listeners (obedient)
- have good manners at the table
I have some behaviours I do not tolerate
- whining (crying/being upset is not the same as whining)
- talking back
- rude manners at the table
I know this may make me seem like a drill sergeant, but I promise I’m not. I just want to be intentional about my parenting and I want to raise strong, respectful kind children who can function and positively contribute to our society.
I am a firm believer in positive parenting and attachment parenting but I am also a firm believer in giving kids structure and consequences.
Let’s talk quickly about disobedience. I know some people are really hard on this and will give consequences for direct disobedience and others think children should have a voice and their own will, mind and thoughts and think the word obedience should be used only in animal training.
Here is what I think about obedience/disobedience.
- I expect my children to be obedient because when I ask them to do something it teaches them to respect authority and I am asking out of a place of love and it is good for them
- However, I allow my kids to question why and this comes from all the attachment parenting training I have done.
- When you ask your child to do something and they question why and you snap “because I said so” I believe this instills something negative in them. That their voice doesn’t matter. That they are not allowed to communicate their needs or wants. That they are not allowed to be curious.
- I don’t know about you but I want my kids to be leaders and not followers (of course following Christ is the only way I want them to follow) Sometimes we need to let them be little negotiators when it comes to obedience.
- Once something is explained and they understand why, I then expect them to be obedient. When the same task comes around again I do not need to have the negotiation again. They know already and that is when I deem it “talk back”
Here is an example.
Parent “Go brush your teeth”
Child “Why? I don’t want to do it now, I will later”
Parent “You need to brush your teeth now because it’s almost time for bed and you need to get the sugar bugs off your teeth so you do not get cavities. We cannot wait until later because the sugar bugs are already eating at your teeth and it is my job as a mommy to make sure your teeth are healthy and strong, so please go and brush your teeth now or you will get a fine” (more on fines in a bit) NOT “because I said so”
Child – Goes and brushes teeth
The next time I say go and brush your teeth and they “talk back” or don’t do it right away they get a direct consequence and that for us is fines.
Depending on your child’s age you will have to “negotiate” with them a few times before it sets in. Please always parent with a little grace. Your kids are growing and learning and will make mistakes. Just like we do as adults.
Before we get into fines I want to discuss chores.
I do not believe chores should only be done for allowance or reward. Your kids are a part of your family and your family is a team. Everyone on the team has roles to play to function positively. I think, if you only expect chores for rewards you will struggle with your kids doing them because the time will come when the chore isn’t worth the reward.
You can tell your child “if you do the dishes you get half an hour of screen time” that might work sometimes, but there will come a time where they say “I don’t want to watch/play anything tonight.”
Where does that leave you? How are you going to get them to do that chore now without yelling or giving a consequence?
When your child gets to the real world and has a boss they cannot say I don’t feel like leaving work today or getting my paycheck this week so I’m not going to do my work.
We are raising kids who turn into adults who need to be functioning, contributing members of society.
OK, finally let’s talk about fines and rewards.
Think about how things work as an adult.
- You do not obey the law – You get fines (or worse yikes)
- When you don’t do your job – You get written up, demoted (or worse, fired)
- When you are not kind, respectful or whine and complain about everything – No one wants to be around/listen to you
- When you do an outstanding job – You get praise/reward or a bonus
- When you are kind, respectful and happy – People are attracted to you and like to be around you.
One of the pages in my responsibility chart system is a fines and bonuses chart. There is an area for fines and rewards. I do not have to do timeouts (more on why I don’t usaully do timeouts to come) and I really do not have to give consequences other than saying “fine.” When we are having a particularly rough day (my kids are still kids, not unicorns) then sometimes a loss of privilege happens.
I am not a perfect parent. This isn’t a magical chart that is going to solve all your problems but it’s pretty close!
If you are really struggling with behaviors, or getting kids to pitch in then please give this system a shot! I want to help you and provide resources to make you feel less overwhelmed and simplify motherhood.
I’ve been the yelling, overwhelmed mom who feels like her kids are all over the place, and all you do is yell clean and cry.
I am passionate about building a positive family dynamic where each member is loving, respectful and contributing.
I am a firm believer in systems, structure and routines for kids. When your kids know what to expect, they are more willing to meet and exceed those expectations.
Always parent with Grace, just like our heavenly Father does for us.