Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about how to raise kind kids. {Blame Katie’s musings….} We all teach our kids rote ‘polite’ motions like saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ — but do they really internalize what that means? Think about it. When is the last time you asked your child to say the ‘magic word?’ Oftentimes, please becomes a synonym for abracadabra. Ask with ‘please’ and you shall receive.

We’ve always been a household where everyone pitches in, but as a new “BIG” four-year-old, it is time for the Bug to take on more responsibility. I toyed with the idea of an allowance. I flirted with various store bought chore charts… but I kept coming back to the notion that I want my child to understand we all work together to get things done, not necessarily that if she makes her bed she’ll earn a buck. I’m all for teaching the value of a dollar, but capitalism can come later. The idea of actively wanting to pitch in and help — being kind — is what I’m aiming to help cultivate. So your average chore chart wasn’t going to cut it.

My chore chart search was complicated by the fact that I didn’t want my house to look like a preschool classroom. I’m sure you know exactly what I mean…

Coming up empty-handed, I decided to make my own. A little glue and scrapbook paper came to the rescue. This really simple “How I Help My Family” chart utilizes an 8 by 10 photo frame, scrapbook paper, small paper envelopes, Clear Command Decorating Clips and two clothespins. That’s it. Best part? All I do is edit the chart and reprint the standard paper size chart insert if I want to make any chore changes. No messy wipe away dry erase boards.

How I Help My Family Chore Chart - (cool) progeny

Using a stand word processing program, I created a grid that included a space for each day of the week and four tasks to complete: feed the dogs, make the bed, set the table, and get dressed. I did decide to include a a reward component because hey, we all win when we work together.  I have about ten different weekly reward cards created, everything from a trip to the ice cream shop, to an at-home movie night, to a new book. Simply hand wrote the reward note inside a 2″ card. You could easily just fold over some scrapbook paper remnants. I tried to be deliberate about the language I used in the note: For being so helpful…

How I Help My Family Chore Chart - (cool) progeny

I had several different ideas for the markers. You could always pop the glass out of the frame and use stickers or a marker to check off those tasks that your child completes, but these little handmade markers are so fun AND I don’t have the Bug trying to cover herself in stickers every morning (because you know that’s exactly what she’d want to do).  I simply used a 1″ circular hole punch and some cardstock to cut the markers and then punched a hole in the center. Clear Command Decorating Clips adhered beautifully to the frame glass (one inside each grid space) for hanging the markers.

How I Help My Family Chore Chart - (cool) progeny

I taked two clothespins to the side of the frame to hold the markers and the super-secret surprise reward and voila! An easy, uber (cool), handmade chore chart that’s all about helping family.

How I Help My Family Chore Chart - (cool) progeny

The Bug has loved ‘checking’ off her tasks every morning. Do you use a chore chart with your kids? How do you get them to help out around the house?