We like to play. We love to explore and adventure. We don’t like to mop floors or scrub showers. To be able to do all the fun things we first have to get through the list of ‘must do’ things.
Our kids don’t have a daily/weekly chore list, and they don’t get an allowance. The kids are expected to do certain tasks throughout the week to make the house function- cooking, dishes, sweeping floors, etc. But instead of specific chore lists we conquer many of the larger tasks as a group. Each weekend day we start with a list of items we hope to accomplish that day. Sometimes it is simple items like refill the weekly vitamin box, sometimes it is larger projects like the weekend we re-roofed the shed.
Each task gets assigned a point value. We have adopted a Fibonacci sequence for assigning points – 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21. The harder the job the more points, but they are sometimes adjusted to account for who is going to be assigned that job. A 3 point job for Kevin or I might be a 5 point job for a kid.
Point assignment and task creation is done at the breakfast table. This is usually based on the days’ priorities and weather. Then tasks get laid out on the kitchen counter after breakfast. After that everyone works together to get through the tasks. We all have free-range on which tasks we take, and since no one gets to do the “fun” activities until the whole list is done, there is little incentive to dawdle or pick a job too hard for you that will take all day. Additionally, the big kids have gotten good about having the littles help them with jobs within their means. Rayleigh will fold laundry, but have the littles help match socks. Some jobs like folding laundry, show up every weekend. Some jobs are more semi-annual, like swapping the garage contents.
We have a system of putting our task chits in a clip above the counter so we know what jobs are in progress. This does a couple of things:
1. It helps the kids stay on task by knowing exactly what job they are working on
2. It helps everyone to know what jobs are claimed, so that they can select an unclaimed task to work on next
3. It lets everyone have a sense of progress and accomplishment by moving their chit from ‘to do’ to ‘in progress’ to the ‘done’ jar.
At the end of the work day, usually at the dinner table, I take all the chits out of the jar and read the task aloud. The person who completed that task gets to take the assigned points in glass beads and add it to our ‘Points Jar’. Unfinished jobs go back into a folder ready to be selected another day.
We have made each point worth one glass bead and each bead is worth $1.00 in the points jar. Most weekends we complete between 20 and 50 points. The points can be redeemed for family fun purchases. Before the pandemic we would use them for everything from a RedBox rental on a car trip to saving up for a night a Great Wolf Lodge. These days the beads are being collected for … a hot tub. Since everyone has to work together to earn the points, they also have to be redeemed on items agreed upon by the group. Once ‘spent’ the glass beads move back to a holding jar, ready to be earned again another weekend.
We’ve been using this method for chores and projects for over 3 years. It works really well for us. That doesn’t mean it would work well for you! Kevin and I are the first to point out that our methods for accomplishing tasks are both different from each other and different from most people we know! This works because we make it work. There is group negotiation and individual accomplishment. And in the end those skills, as well as clean laundry, are really the main goal.
Okay I think I’ve earned my 2 points for writing a blog post, so it is time to move onto my next task.