Children & Chores... A Great System that Works!
Updated: Nov 18
It could be said that I am somewhat of an expert in this field… the field of needing to get my children to help around the house. Hold on to your hat as this is fairly uncommon these days: I have seven biological children ranging in age from 27 to 12. More than half have grown up and flown the nest. Two high school girls and one middle school boy are now the helpers called to keep our home tidy and clean.
For approximately a quarter of a century, I was in the research and development phase of crafting a method for making chores equitable and holding the kids accountable while not spending hours each week doing so.
Finally, just a few years back, I created the rotating chart system. Let’s call it RCS since abbreviations are the hallmark notations for tools and systems of most every trade. Note the RCS system will only work once all the little humans in the house are of an age that they can do a reasonably good job with every task for which you would like them to take ownership.
Step 1: Create a grid for however many days a week you would like chores done by the number of chores you feel is reasonable to request. I’ve found that assigning four or five chores to be completed on weekdays works well. That leaves Saturday for catching up on chores that may have been missed due to neglect, sports practices, homework or because Chandler is just having a bad day. Sundays almost always can be considered their day off the hook. (Google.com/sheets is a free, easy spreadsheet platform on which you may create the charts. To change the row height, press “control” and click on the line number. From the menu that appears, choose “resize row” and then type in a specific value for the row height. Experiment a bit until the chart looks the way you like and has enough room to write in tasks.)
Step 2: Print a blank grid form for each child and start filling in chores. Having the sheets printed allows you to keep them side by side and helps keep distribution of tasks more even. Let’s say you’d like the dog poop scooped twice a week and you have three kids. Write in the task on Monday on Chart 1 and maybe Thursday on Chart 2. Not every square needs to be filled in and you will likely find that the chores change as the seasons change (pulling weeds isn’t as necessary in the winter), kids get older, or you simply think of more things with which the kids can help! Sometimes, you may find a chore that never seems to be done to your satisfaction and needs to be removed from the chart to keep you from pulling out your own hair.
Below you will see a list of chore suggestions because through the research and development stage, I learned that when I sat down to write out chores, I found it hard to think of a hearty to-do list for my junior helpers.
Step 3: Go back and type in the chores on the spreadsheets making the header for each list a different color and label the sheets “List 1”, “List 2”, etc. Print fresh copies and place each in a sheet protector.
Step 4: Make another spreadsheet with the beginning date of each week for the next 15-25 weeks in the first column. The second column should be entitled “list 1” and additional columns made for each chore list you created. Next, put your children’s names in each column adjacent to the date. Every week, the child in column 1 moves to the right one column and the kid assigned to the last column moves to the first column. Print the assignment chart and put it in a sheet protector as well. Connect the sheet protectors with a paper clip or keyring.
Step 5: Have the kids use a dry erase marker to mark off the chores as they do them each week. You can choose to incentivize with money or prizes, ice cream or a movie when chores are completed well.
No longer can Michael claim Sarah gets all the easier chores because the RCS eliminates the need for a particular chore to belong exclusively to one family member! The chart is easy to revise if it seems the chores on one day, on one chart, seem to take too much time or too little effort.
With the additional chart that assigns the chores each week, you won’t be trying to figure out who was responsible for getting the trash taken out around the house when you notice it overflowing in the hall bath.
One of my least favorite phrases in the English language… “it’s not fair” is rarely heard in regards to chores here. The kids still neglect their chores from time to time, but keeping them accountable is so much easier!
Bonus… if your home is for sale, these task lists help keep your house ready to show with much less stress! At Venture 727, we offer our clients’ children the opportunity to sign a contract, agreeing to help cheerfully with keeping the place “model home perfect” and as a reward, we pay them an agreed to amount at closing! It’s another way we aim to “venture beyond expectations.”
Chore ideas: brush/feed dog, dust baseboards/window sills/blinds/stair bannisters, wash bedding, clean dog kennels/pet bedding/pet dishes, help cook/plan dinner, clean laundry room, match socks, organize under kitchen/bathroom cabinets, check the mail, empty the paper shredder, restock refrigerator with water bottles, clean microwave/outsides of kitchen appliances, put fresh towels out in bathrooms, sweep front porch/deck/patio, clean front door/slider/back door and of course, take out the trash!