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Have you ever tried to implement a new routine or responsibility with your kids only for it to fail? It is embarrassing how many chore charts and systems I have set up for my kids. We tried all of them but each seemed to fall short. I had pretty much given up on chores with the kids and entered a rhythm of just getting it done. I’m amazed at What Letting Go of Chore Charts Taught Me – just giving up the chore charts was a small decision that made a big difference.
Then one Saturday, I thought about how we did chores growing up. My mom did not have any charts or beautiful chore magnets. We knew what chores we were supposed to do and did them. She would make a list in the morning and we worked through it. Week after week, my brother and I would go through our chores. Sure, there were moments when we fought it, but overall it worked.
With a new ounce of confidence, I announced that we were starting with chores. Each child picked ONE chore out of the chore basket. Our boys were sent to their room where I armed them with a vacuum or a duster. The boys each took a chore, vacuuming or dusting and then the following day they switched. With the boys armed with supplies, I left the room. Which as a mom who craves order and control, letting them do this completely on their own was a big struggle.
But guess what? It worked.
A little later, our youngest son came out and told me he was finished. Dusting a small bedroom is a minor task and he did a good job. When I checked on my oldest I saw he had vacummed and was cleaning up their bookshelf. Our middle son had picked up the clothes in his room (his list consisted of mostly picking things up).
I think that it worked because it was a simple chore. It wasn’t fancy, it was a task and they could do it. When they finished, they came back for another one.
We have continued with this simple system and it has worked every time. As I thought about it all, I was amazed how letting go of chore charts taught me the power of simplicity. Sometimes, we can be quick to give on on things because they do not work, but maybe it is just because we are overthinking it.
In the world of Pinterest, which we all love, we can often think everything has to be the perfectly laid out activity or system when in fact many times, simple is best.
Is there something you have been overthinking?
Another easy system:
If you want to start chores with your kids, but not have to deal with a chore chart, try these. We have them & they are easy and they are “normal” chores, like sweep the floors, dust, clean up the living room, etc… It makes it easy to say “Ok everyone – go grab 2 chore sticks and then you are done and you can go play.”
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