In the Beginning...
For the first 2 weeks I implemented the chart, when I woke up in the morning--and my husband has done this a time or two as well so he is familiar with the routine--I accompanied each child as they woke up in turn and asked them to 'check their chart'. I then walked each step through with each child and helped him establish how to do each item. Just getting used to the routine took a little time, but it has paid off and they are quick to obey. (Especially knowing they are paid for listening and obeying quickly! More on that later...) I suspect they also enjoy having a few minutes of one-on-one time with me each morning and evening as we check their charts together. "Check-in" time, I've been calling it.
My oldest has gotten to the point now where he checks his chart on his own and moves the stick and can watch a show until the others have finished their charts.
My 5 year old son still needs me to gently encourage him, and sometimes I have to 'stick with it' (hehe) patiently to keep him on task. For instance, one day when he woke up, he wanted to go and watch TV right away, but after I explained to him that his older brother's chore chart was finished and as soon as he finished his own, he could watch TV, too, he melted down into a puddle of tears and shrieks. I scooped him up and 'flew' him to the chart. I pointed out the first item. "What is that??!" I asked. He grumbled...."Make bed". So, off we 'zoomed' to the room he slept in. I covered him with the sheet and pretended I couldn't find him. He yelled with glee and said "Mommy, cover me in pillows!" I dumped them on him and he exploded out of the pillow pile, grinning! Together, we straightened the blanket and tossed the pillows on the bed in a somewhat-tidy stack. We walked back together to the chore chart and he moved his stick over. He continued down the column, completing each task, and then we high-5'd as he moved the last stick and went to watch a show with his older brother.
I moved on then and helped my 3 year old with his chores (took about 5 minutes) and then let him sit with his brothers while I got dressed and got the baby ready. At that point, we had table time and breakfast.
Here is my 5 year old eagerly helping with dishes.
The chore chart system is not magic, but it works as well as if it was!
That is just one example of one day. Some days run smoother than others and I am at peace about that. Since each day is different and each person's needs change, I remain flexible enough to change the routine as we need, but having the chart to rely on and fall back to has really been a help to us.
Another hint: this system of the chore chart works well with weekends, too. Getting ready for church, for instance, has been streamlined using this system.
On the days we need to get out the door quickly, we eat quickly and save 'table time' for later when we have more uninterrupted time, say, at lunch or after dinner.
I am pleased to say that after about 3-4 weeks of regularly using the chore chart system, getting out the door is a (mostly) pleasant occurrence and that we are all happier! It feels good to all of us to know exactly what needs to be done, in which order, and what to expect. It is a happy and secure feeling.
The evening side of the envelopes on the chart helps us to refocus together as a family in the evening. The 'chores' on the envelopes are to eat, bathe, get in jammies, brush teeth, drink water, and have scripture and prayer time as a family. This half of the chart is helpful for my husband and me because if I am out for the evening, it gives my sweetie an idea of what he needs to do to help the kids be ready for bedtime by the time I return. This is wonderful to me, meaning I don't have a bunch of things to do as soon as I get in the door from running errands. When we are all home together in the evenings, it gives us, as parents, a guide for taking care of the kids' needs as we end the day (instead of just watching TV and letting our kids run wild. There, I said it! ha ha.) It really has helped to keep us adults accountable and on-task in the evenings when we are tired. Admittedly, this part is still a work-in-progress, but we are getting there.
But, wait! There's more!
Continue reading about Pay Day at Chore Chart part 3.