The Chore Chart.

I have an incredible and amazing village. In our village there are moms and dads and kids and even couples and families without kids. And when I hear, “It takes a village…”, I am so very aware of its truth.

We swap stories, share truths, whisper our weaknesses, and show off our strengths regularly. But we also admit our failures and ask for help and advice and tips when we need it. That’s the hard stuff.

Several of us have little boys. It seems like there are these cycles of emotion and moods and growing that they are all going through at odd times. Take “The Terrible Twos,” for example. None of us saw that terrible part until the boys were three. And now that they’re five or approaching it very soon, there’s crying and fit throwing and a lot of forgetting pleases-and-thank-yous and more of “why can’t i have thats”.

And through a recent conversation with one of my momma friends, she told me about a new chore chart that they’re trying with their five-year-old. I must say, it’s working very well. And here it is, given in the spirit of I-want-to-raise-a-caring-and-responsible-citizen-of-the-world-and-this-seems-to-be-helping. A lot.

So here’s how it works. Get a dry erase board and start thinking of what motivates your little person.

All of the “chores” in green are things that Holden earns points by doing. All of the items in red are behaviors we’d like to see him change, and there are points taken away if they’re shown. At the end of day, he helps me add up his points, and his points determine the things he receives the following day. For him, his big motivators are TV time, rest time (or the lack thereof), a really fun thing to do, and earning allowance.

This sits in our eat-in nook in the kitchen and he likes to look at it whenever he’s having a meal or a snack. Holden is very goal-oriented, but the previous charts that I did with him didn’t always show his weekly progress, This seems to be very important to him.

You can make this as simple or as complex as you can wrap your head around. For instance, I know that my points system could be easily manipulated once he figures out how to work it, so I’ll have to change it then. But for now, the points system works like this:

  • For 6-7 daily points, he’ll receive $1 the following day and an hour-and-a-half of TV/Wii/DS time in lieu of his nap. (If you can read my writing up there in the photo [click on it for a larger view], once he can read it he might argue that he could actually get about two-and-a-half hours of TV time. I’ll have to revise that…)
  • For 4-5 daily points, he’ll receive $.50 the following day and 30 minutes of TV/Wii/DS time, but must have rest time for 45 minutes.
  • For anything less, he receives no money, no TV/Wii/DS time and must have rest time for an hour-and-a-half the following day.
  • For 35+ weekly points, he receives a bonus of $3 and a fun ticket (more on that in a minute).
  • For 28-34 weekly points, he receives a bonus of $1.
  • For anything less, he receives nothing extra for the week.

Fun tickets are little business cards that I printed up with things like a trip to the zoo, a solo date with Mom or Dad, family movie night where he gets to pick the movie, a trip to the pool, going to Super Hero day at the Children’s Museum, a trip to the ice cream store to get a root beer float, etc. All things that he loves, and he picks the card at random so it’s a very fun surprise.

We’re on our third week, now. And would you believe that this week, instead of tantrums and fits and lots of whining or complaining, I heard, “Mom, I’m really thankful for this” and “I’ve really enjoyed doing that thing.”

Oh boy. It is MUSIC to my ears, I tell you. Just music.

What do you do around your house?