Friday, January 24, 2014

Teaching Personal Responsibility

I promised to post my chore charts, but first some background.

Our mornings aren't that great. A pre-medicated ADD 9-year old is an unpredictable factor in a time-limited environment. Some mornings go well, other mornings find him up before dawn and creating some insane complication in my otherwise peaceful space. And his sister is along for whatever adventure he proposes.

A list of things I never specifically said:
"Don't eat cake for breakfast."
"Don't try and make scrambled eggs on your own while I'm sleeping."
"Don't TP the living room."
"Don't eat breakfast by candlelight."
"Don't climb a tree before 7AM in your (super expensive) swim team suit."
"Don't jump off the basement fridge onto a pile of pillows."
"Don't open up every cabinet in the kitchen like we live in The Sixth Sense."

New Rule: Kids are not allowed downstairs before I wake up.

My kids do pretty well with lists. Hannah likes to check things off and they really help Christopher stay on task. I started typing up a morning checklist which evolved into an afternoon checklist and an evening checklist and a chore chart.

The checklists are broken down into three specific categories:

Personal Responsibilities
- Everything they need to do every single day without me nagging and without them melting down.

Personal Chores
- Messes they made that they need to clean, plus their bedrooms,

Family Chores
- Things they do to help out the family, because they live here. (And things I can assign as punishment if they don't behave.)

Some of the items are just keywords. For example, in Personal Chores it says Personal Items and then has a list of areas where they might find their personal items. Other things don't apply every day, like in Personal Responsibilities it says Homework and Piano, even though they don't have homework on Friday, it's a free check. I laminated the pages and taped them to the back of the front door, which is a pretty central location in our house. They (usually) use a dry erase marker to check off the things they've completed.

It's been really great to start using the language of "personal responsibilities" and "personal chores." I've gotten a lot less push back from them about things they must do EVERY SINGLE DAY like brushing teeth and getting dressed.

OK, the part I promised. Here are the checklists, click on the image for the .pdf.


  1. I need to get our checklist printed out too. We have daily responsibilities and chores, but have never written them down and are always nagging to get them done. It doesn't help that we're not morning people, and his school starts super early...

    But we have recently implemented Screen Time, as in, he has to work to earn time for watching TV, Wii, tablet, computer, etc. Reading and schoolwork are 1:1 (so, 15 minutes of reading gets 15 minutes of screen time), and various "extra" chores (not the ones he has to do every day, like brushing teeth)have Screen Time values (like having his room picked up by bedtime each day gets 15 minutes - it's his only motivator to get all those blasted LEGO off the carpet!).

    1. We do screen time as a reward too. And I take it away ALL THE TIME!

      The other day Christopher's cousin was over and asked if they could play Minecraft. Christopher said, " I can't, I'm grounded. I think my mom just got me Minecraft so she'd have a new thing to take away."


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