Giving kids chores can help you out around the house. You can delegate simple cleaning tasks—like sweeping and dusting—using a chore organization system that is personalized and appropriate for your kids' ages, whether you have younger children or teenagers. Not only will it give you some relief from doing all the work around the house, but it also teaches them about responsibility.
Chore charts and other methods can be a very effective way to keep track of responsibilities, rewards, and penalties. You do not need to reinvent the wheel to have a successful chore organizing method, either. Even the simplest systems can help children be more accountable and some of them are actually fun! There's little cost involved, so you can try a variety of methods until you find the best one for your family.
There are many free printable chore charts that can work for any family. These are simple and easy to use—just fill in the names and chores—and quick to post up in the kitchen or wherever you can get everyone's attention. You can use one chart per child or go with a single-family chore chart that lists everyone's responsibilities.
These charts are printed on paper, so they are not indestructible and long-lasting. However, you can simply print another copy whenever you need one. They also may not be ideal for children who haven't learned to read.
The box system of chore assignments uses index cards and recipe boxes similar to the SHE system for sidetracked home executives. Parents set up the cards for their children; kids check the cards daily and execute the chores or activities.
This system is nice because it gives kids specific tasks to focus on. It is also fairly easy to set up, promotes responsibility, and it can help organize more than just chores—use it for homework, extracurricular activities, and music or dance lessons, too. Some downfalls are that it requires more effort to maintain and it may not be suited for young children.
It's easy to set up a chore organization system using an over-the-door pocket shoe organizer. You will also need a stack of index cards, each with a specific chore or activity written on it. Give each person their own labeled row on the shoe organizer. Label the four vertical columns of the organizer: Chores, Activities, Extra Credit, and Completed. Place the tasks in the appropriate slots, and allow the kids to move their completed cards to the final pocket in their row.
Unlike the other systems, this system can be used with small children if you use picture cards. It can be used with older children, too. Another plus is that it can be hidden from view behind a door. Unfortunately, this system does take some time to set up and may not be the most personalized method.
The traditional idea of making a to-do list for everyone in the house may not be flashy and can seem boring. However, it is extremely simple to set up and inexpensive. On a single sheet of paper, list everyone in the family and their chores for the week. Post it on the refrigerator or another suitable location. The kids can initial, cross off, or otherwise indicate when they have completed their chores.
You can also use a dry erase board for this system and start over with a clean board or make adjustments each week without wasting paper. The major disadvantage here is that, unless you draw pictograms for the chores, it is not an effective system for younger children to use.
Flowers in the Flower Pot
The "Flowers in the Flower Pot" system is a nice, visual way for children—young and old—to manage their chores. It's also one of the cutest ways to keep everyone on task and perfect if you love a quick craft project.
You will need one flower pot per child and some sort of substrate to place inside them. A foam base used for flower arrangements is perfect, but things like rice, dirt, or marbles work too. Then, cut flowers out of paper and adhere each with glue or tape to a stick—real sticks from outside, chopsticks, or popsicle sticks. On each flower head, write the name of a chore or draw a picture. The objective is for each child to fill their flower pot with flowers every day. You can even have the kids decorate their own pots so it's more personal.
This idea can be modified to whatever theme you can imagine. For example, bees in a beehive, vegetables in a basket, fish in a tank, birds in a cage, or whatever your family enjoys. This method is low maintenance but does require some time and expense to set up. Using it as a craft activity gets your children involved in establishing the chore system, which can start it off with a fun and positive experience.