I am the queen of chore charts. I have tried them ALL, with varying levels of success. Some, if not most, work out for like a week or so then peter out, and some just never wind up working at all. Given the age range of my kids (the ones that I have do "chores" at least) being five years apart it also isn't a one size fits all type deal. BUT, I have recently stumbled on an idea that I have to say, knock on wood, is actually working.
For my four year old I went with a "Keep it Simple" approach. What I really wanted was a way to keep him on track with brushing twice a day and doing simple things like tidying his room or the playroom. Much more besides that turned into too much of a battle and wound up never getting done, so I decided to customize these punch cards that I saw here on and pare them down to the essentials. Brushing, cleaning up, trying a healthy snack, and making the bed. That's it. I also add on bonus stickers for good behavior that is above and beyond, like helping out his little sister or handling a disappointing situation without throwing a tantrum. You know, the usual preschooler stuff. I keep the card and the stickers, I dole out the checkmarks and hole punches, and at the end of the week he gets to trade in a full card for a reward, be it a trip to his favorite park, getting to pick a movie to watch, or sometimes a special toy he's been wanting.
Once the holes get punched or checked off there is no "losing" them for bad behavior. That seems to be a turning point for us. Before I would take away check marks or accomplishments as punishment, and we would have weeks where the kids wound up with barely any checks and it just didn't seem to be working. Once the good behavior is earned it stays there, and I have to say focusing on the good behavior more seems to have a more positive impact on their behavior in general (read more about this approach here).
For the older kids, I have also been using these cards, but more for an accountability purpose. They don't get rewards for brushing teeth or tidying their rooms, those are things that are just part of daily life, but it helps to remind them that it needs to get done rather than me reminding them 24 million times a week. If their punchcard isn't full at the end of the week they don't get their full allowance, so they make sure to get these simple tasks done and it really helps keep them on track, especially with the brushing twice a day.
For their chore charts I still use the ones pictured below (more on them here and where to find them). The fact that we can laminate these and modify their chores from week to week, tweaking what works and what doesn't, makes it a work in progress, and it of course changes over the summer as well.
The 30 Handmade Days Blog even has some GREAT summer punch cards you can use for this summer. Right now is a good time to get started on a routine that you can modify once school is out to keep things on track. Click the photo below to find those on the 30 Days Handmade Blog, and good luck! xoxo
Want some more tips for getting organized in time for summer? Find my easy DIY snack station here and some shout outs for great summer camps for kids locally here! And beat the boredom with this free printable right here.