Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Adventures in Responsibilities, Chores, and Allowance

Today's adventure: teaching Wolf and Bear to manage their responsibilities, help out at home, and earn their allowance.  After several months trying a few different behavior charts and job checklists, about a year ago I made a magnet chart system customized to help my kids know their responsibilities and keep track of when they are done each day.  A few months into using the system my husband and I had the brilliant idea to tie the scores to allowance, so the higher they scored each week, the more allowance they earned.

We recently moved and the chart was in storage for months and we got out of the habit.  Plus with the new house and the kids a year older, it needed some updates and refreshing!  Finally yesterday we implemented the new and improved version!

I want to share it here so that anyone looking for something similar can take it and make it their own!  I'll provide links to materials and generic copies of Word and Excel documents you can use to customize charts for your own family.  And I'll give some descriptions of how we are trying to use it.  If you do decide to try it out, I'd love your feedback because I'm always looking for ideas for continuous improvement!

"The Chore Chart"
The Chore Chart helps my kids know when their daily responsibilities are completed.  Right now they each have 6 responsibilities they complete almost every day - things vary a bit on weekends and during holidays and there is room in scoring to take that account.  There is a magnet for each responsibility.  The magnets start each day in the "To-Do To-DAY" row and when completed move down to the "Ta-DONE" row.  There is also a spot for "Daily Chore Done" - which is to remind them they need to do one chore to contribute to the home.  There is also a place for assigning chores to be done during the week, such as taking out the trash on a certain day or cleaning their room before the week ends.

Chores can come from "The Parking Lot" of jobs or be a special job.  Sometimes the chore will be assigned or sometimes they might find something that needs to be done on their own.

"The Parking Lot"
I have 2 copies of every job in the parking lot in case the kids work together, although I still debate whether that is necessary for all jobs or just a few.  When creating your chart you can customize to what makes sense for your circumstances.

At the end of the day, they get a point for every magnet in the "Ta-DONE" row.  Number magnets are placed on the Scoreboard to keep score throughout the week.  On Saturday night we add up the total for each child and record the score on the "Allowance Tracker".  The score achieved determines the allowance earned for that week.  We try to leave room in the scoring for weekends and a couple crazy days when not all magnets are completed, but also want to encourage them to do all they can in order to earn more money when they're trying to save up for something special.  "Pay Day" is last day of the week - Saturday - just for purposes of tracking the weeks.  We don't pay out allowance every week so the spreadsheet includes a place to mark off when we do finally pay up.  Score ranges can be adjusted per child if needed, to account for younger children having less responsibilities.

"Allowance Tracker"

Putting It All Together

Here is what our system looks like in action.  It's a work in progress, and likely to continue to change as our needs evolve or we come across new ideas to try!

What You Need to Make Your Own
  • PC with Microsoft Word and Excel  (probably you could adopt to Google Drive or Mac office tools if needed though)
  • Inkjet printer and 8.5x11 paper
  • Downloaded copies of Chore_Chart_v2_shared.doc, Magnets_v2_shared.doc, and Allowance_Tracker_shared.xlsx from RCA Charts Shared Documents on OneDrive
  • A large magnetic board (and a place to put it where your kids can access it and see it often).  Ikea has a 14x30 for $12.99 that works great!
  • 3/4" round magnets, 40-100+ depending on how many kids, how many daily responsibilities, how many chores, and how many other extra magnets you want.  Craft stores usually have them or here are some on Amazon.
  • 8.5x11 sticker paper.  Office supply stores usually have it or here is some on Amazon.
  • 0.75in circle punch.  Craft stores usually have it, just make sure it's the type where you can see where you're positioning the punch.  The punch I have is the EK Success 3/4" Circle Punch like this one on Amazon.  I have the "old design" and love it.  Hopefully if all you can find is the new design it will work too!
  • 0.5in high Strip Magnets for Tracking Numbers, like this or from any craft store.  If the strip magnet has adhesive you can print numbers onto regular paper or you can use the sticker paper if the strip magnet is non-adhesive.  The numbers you need will depend on the number of kids, number of responsibilities, and maximum and minimum scores you expect.  Plan to make a lot of numbers, and to add more after you get a better feel for how the chart is working and what is really needed.  Case in point - looks like I'm going to need to add some 7s to our updated system!
  • Optional - cardstock 12x12 paper for a colorful/cute background if desired

Please do comment if you try it and let me know how it goes, especially if links are broken!  And feel free to ask questions if I've left anything unclear!  Have fun!

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