I’ve shared this in a few other places, but I’ve received requests for it again this week and so wanted to put it here in case folks wanted it again in the future. It’s the Barrett-Fox-family-chore-chart, and it works really well, as long as you do it, which isn’t so hard because the kids will remind you.
The first rule is that all kids are always rewarded for participating in chores. If my youngest can’t make his bed without help but his brother helps him, they both get rewarded. It means they cooperate much better. It’s also a way of insuring that the youngest can still be encouraged to be helpful, even if his help isn’t always so… well, actually helpful yet. He may not be able to unload the dishwasher, but he can unload the butter knives (which is pretty exciting). He still participates in family chores, which lessens resentment from his more capable siblings and gets him some marbles, too. Overall, the older children are considerate of letting the younger one earn the low-hanging marbles (put shoes in the shoe closet) while they take on the work he can’t yet do. Rooting our Marxism in our faith, we use the parable of the parable of the Workers in the Vineyard to remind the children that everyone puts in what they can and gets out what they need in this system.
The second rule is that a kid always has to do a chore when asked. And chores not on here may not be rewarded (though, of course, parents may want to negotiate them). You do some work just because you live here. Also, because I didn’t go through 19 hours of labor to shovel my own snow, kid.
The final rule is that a child can always do a chore and get rewarded. Now when a child asks for some treat, I can just point to the chore chart and they know what they have to do to get it.
Above, the chore chart.
We generated our list of chores and rewards together, and everyone had input, so you can see what chores we think are important (and which we ignore) and what we think constitutes a reward. Our chart rewards saving your marbles rather than cashing them in early, too. I think the marshmallow test is mostly BS, but the system is easier for me if I’m not having to conduct so many marble transactions.
If you try this out, let me know how it goes. I’d love to get feedback!