The One Secret to Finding a Chore System That Really Works

Are you looking for a chore system that actually works? Here’s the secret to finding the perfect chore system for your family—and it isn’t what you think.

Ever since my oldest daughter was old enough to do a few small chores I have been looking for the perfect chore system.

We started with pictures of the jobs she had to do, and that worked great for a while. But then it stopped working, so we tried a sticker chart along with the pictures. She was newly motivated and that worked well for a while, too.

Until it didn’t.

So, I came up with something else, and well…you know what happened next.

For the past twelve years or so the pattern has continued, and I was frustrated! Why couldn’t I just find a chore system that worked forever? Why was it so difficult?

I've tried 30 different chore systems, and they all eventually fail. So does a chore system exist that actually works? I finally figured out the secret! #overstuffedlife

They always started out the same. The kids would be so excited by the stickers or whatever gimmick I had chosen this time. They were even more excited by the rewards system. They would be wonderful little workers for several months, and I would start to get excited and think that this was finally it. I’d finally found the perfect chore system.

And then, gradually the kids stopped doing their chores consistently. They stopped caring about the rewards. I started becoming the nagging, crazy mommy that I hate being, just to get them to make their beds every morning.

Thus marked the failure of yet another cute and “pinteresting” chore system.

There has to be a chore system out there that works!

A few months ago I finally had to admit that the chore system we’ve been using for the last two years had completely fallen apart. The checklists hadn’t been marked in months,  I had turned into the nagging lunatic that nobody likes, and the kids didn’t really seem to care.

Related: 5 Tips to Get Kids to Help With Housework

That’s when it hit me. There is no perfect chore system. It’s like a unicorn, and it simply doesn’t exist!

That doesn’t mean that there isn’t one that works, though. What I realized is this:

The perfect chore system is the one that’s working for you right now.

Yep! It’s easy as that.

Kids need change—at least, my kids do. Whatever new system I come up with is always met with excitement and eagerness to please. It doesn’t matter what system I use, if it’s new it will work for at least a few months.

So if whatever you have isn’t working right now, just try something different.

It’s guaranteed to work for a little while, as long as you follow-up and are consistent with rewards and consequences. And once it stops working—even if you have been totally consistent—it’s time to move on to the next one.

Any chore system works as long as you follow-through and are consistent with rewards and consequences.

So, I changed my system at the beginning of this school year.

Again. I simplified it, and made specific laminated checklists for morning and evening. I put our family theme for this year on them as another reminder to be diligent in what they are asked to do. (In this case, to be diligent in doing their chores!)

Morning and afternoon task checklist for kids. Free printable download. #overstuffedlife

Their allowance is based on how many of those checkmarks are marked every day. If all of them are marked every single day, they get their full allowance. If they don’t mark them all, but 50% or more are marked, they’ll get half allowance, but ONLY if their zone was completed each day. No zone, no allowance.

If you would like to download a checklist like this I have both my version and a blank version. Click the links below to download.

Daily Chore Checklist

Blank Daily Chore Checklist

Morning and afternoon task checklist for kids. Free printable download. #overstuffedlife

I also made strips of the house zones that I could put on the family calendar (I use this calendar whiteboard in my kitchen) with a magnet.

Every couple of days I switch up their zones—this keeps them informed of what their after school jobs are, and the house stays consistently cleaner.

These cute magnetic labels would be an easy way to do the magnetic zones without having to print and laminate. Also, this magnetic responsibilities chart from Melissa & Doug looks like it would work fabulously for younger kids!

Use magnetic strips to show which zone your kids are in charge of for the week. #overstuffedlife

It’s working for now, which means that it’s the perfect chore system. And when it stops working?

Well, there’s always Pinterest.

(Speaking of Pinterest, come follow my parenting tips board!)

Are you frustrated when every chore system you try for your family fails? On the quest for the perfect chore system for your kids? Here's how to find it.

This post is part of my 31 Days to a Happier Home series.

To see all the posts in this series, click here: 31 Days to a Happier Home

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