Managing Chores with Multiple Children
I’ve tried many chore systems over the years and I’ve finally come up with something that really works for my family. I have 3 boys who are completely capable of doing chores. They are 16, 8, and 3 years old.
I found these awesome metal 3-cup caddies at my local Hobby Lobby store. I let each of the boys pick out their own color. Since things are color coded, I don’t have to write names on the cans. Eventually my oldest son will be out of the house, and my one year old will take over a can. I absolutely love these colors (and there are even more colors to choose from).
You can check out all of the colors at Hobby Lobby’s website. Just CLICK HERE! If the caddies are not on sale, don’t forget to find a 40% off coupon to use.
The only other purchases you need to make are Popsicle sticks (I prefer the large ones because they’re easier to write on), and an extra fine Sharpie marker. If you have multiple children, it’s best to get different colored markers. This way they can’t try sticking their unwanted chore in their sibling’s can, or stealing the easier ones!
Start out by writing down every chore that you can think of that you would like your child to do. Be sure to keep it on less than half of the stick so they can’t see the chores. Having many chores helps keep them excited because they’re not doing the same things every single day. I include several “FREE PASS” sticks. It means exactly what it says, they get a free pass instead of the chore they could’ve picked. This keeps them more interested in picking chores. My rule is that they are only allowed 1 free pass per day and it cannot be used when a chore is picked as discipline (more on that later). I include some hard chores, like sweeping ALL of the hardwood floors, and I include really simple things like refilling the water container that we keep on the counter for the baby’s water. Try to think outside the box. Your kids will love you for it!
Some examples of the chores for our 8 year old:
Some examples of the chores for our 3 year old (Flash is our bunny rabbit):
With the 8 year old, the sticks are very specific. For example, his sticks would say to “Find 10 things to throw away.” For his 3 year old brother, it just says, “Find garbage to throw away.” This way it keeps it more fun for him and any garbage he finds is a win!
For more chore ideas, check out my post HERE!
Here’s what to write on the cans: #1 ~ Pick A Chore
This is the can where you will initially put all of those sticks that you wrote the chores on. Put them in wording side down so they can’t see what they are picking.
MY RULES WITH THE CHORE STICKS
I have my boys pick 3 sticks each school day and 5 on Saturdays if we don’t have plans. No chores on Sundays except for their regular everyday chores which are not included in the sticks. My 16 year old has to take care of dishes everyday and my 8 year old has to take care of his bunny and the cage everyday.
I also use these chores as discipline. It helps to keep me from getting angry. If they do something wrong, I simply tell them to go pick a chore. If they don’t pick a chore with a good attitude, then they get another. And so it will continue as long as they have a bad attitude about it. Be consistent. Stay calm! It will work!
Now, rotate the cans clockwise and write, “To Be Checked”.
This can is where the children will place their sticks once they have completed the chore. Then you can take them out and check each one. If there are any that aren’t done properly, just go over with your child how you would like it done. This is another thing that gets easier with time as they learn what you are expecting of them.
Now, rotate the cans clockwise and write, “Completed” on the last can.
Once you are satisfied with the chores that you checked, then YOU place them in the completed can. Continue following this method each day until there are no more sticks in the “Pick a Chore” can. Then simply take all of the sticks from the Completed can and start over by placing them in the Pick a Chore can.
I hope this helps! Feel free to leave me comments if you give this a try or would like to share with others what works for your family!