I finally tossed out all the complicated sticker charts/online systems/nag-nag-nagging and got myself a plastic sleeve and a couple of dry erase markers.
We worked on the paper lists inside the plastic sleeve together, Bean and I, so she could help me determine what chores need to be done morning, afternoon and night, and in what order. She very enthusiastically chose her own font and colors. (I bet you couldn't tell!)
Our rule is that each chore/routine list has to be complete before she can play, watch TV, read or have computer time. If she doesn't complete her chores on time (before the bus comes, before dinner time, or before bed time), she knows she'll have to finish them in the next chore time PLUS do another chore of my choosing. Bing, bang, boom, that's the deal.
Why I Love This Method of Chore Charting
Clear expectations make for a happier kid and Mama. She knows what she needs to do, and I know where to point her when she's dawdling or wondering what's next. We've agreed upon a standard, and it's solid -- not vague or confusing. And she knows what happens if she doesn't get her things done, so she mostly gets them done. Plus, I get to save my voice for telling her how awesome she is. (And for calling her little brother down from the top shelf of the pantry.)
This version personalizes and adapts so easily. Afternoon chores change daily, so the blank lines come in handy. As I notice or think of things she needs to do, I just write them in. And await that afternoon's dose of grumbling. (Seven is a very grumbly age, apparently.) We can reprint and replace the whole inner sheet as seasons or schedules or expectations change. I saved the basic template so now it's just a matter of updating as needed. You could easily substitute pictures in place of words for your pre-schooler, too. That would be really fun. (Maybe I'll try it with Peabody when he finally comes down from the top shelf of the pantry.)
This chart is portable so I no longer have to follow her around reminding, reminding, reminding. And Bean doesn't have waste time and energy and lose focus runing back and forth checking her list. Plus, she gets to feel in-charge and independent, which satisfies her seven-ness very deeply. She just takes the whole thing with her and checks off items as she completes them in different areas of the house.
We start over fresh every day. Bad day? Forgotten in the quick stroke of a paper towel. Every morning we begin with a clean slate, in every sense of the word. New beginnings are what learning and life as a family is all about, and I love how this method keeps no record of the past and doesn't hold tomorrow looming over us as we try to DO this day.
Have you found a great chore charting method for your kid(s)? Tell me about it!