DIY: The grow-with-me chore board and behavior chart solution

DIY Chore and Behavior chartsSometimes, this parenting gig can be rough. Lately, there’s been more questioning our decision-making, a lot of talking in rude tones to each other, and a whole lot of days where I fall into bed wondering what kind of craziness I’m in for come January with a new baby.

I was so sick of it, and something needed to be done to avoid all the reprimanding, all the asking over and over again, and all the mornings that end in tears. We needed a system. A system that didn’t involve me having to say the same thing over and over again.

That being said, I’ve tried chore charts in the past and they ended up not working that well for us. Every chore chart I tried ended up needing me to run them more than I would have liked, didn’t work quite right in terms of chores and behavior, and I ended up giving up just to get the big huge board off my wall. Mostly, it was me. DIY chore and behavior board

This time around I wanted to make my own chart that hopefully the kiddos could learn to do on their own and I could merely oversee. I was inspired by the clothespin method my daughter’s teacher uses to visually see who has turned in their homework and who hasn’t as a starting point. Each morning every kid in my daughter’s class moves their clothespin to “done” when they place their homework into her inbox, and it’s clear at a glance whose work is missing to make it as easy as possible.

Using the visual clothespin method as inspiration, I went and bought some chalkboard slabs at the art store, some blank clothespins in different sizes, some decorations, and some permanent markers to complete my project. Chore boards you will needBy giving each child their own board and utilizing the left side of the board as the “to-do” list and right side as “done”, it was the perfect alternative to a chart system. Since chart systems do not work well with multiple children, this to-do and done board is the simplest way that we can get a visual on who is doing what they are supposed to at a glance. And, as a bonus, since the clothespins never leave the board for longer than a few moments, there are no excess pieces to store, no extra sticker book I have to buy, and it’s easy for kids to do on their own. Kids moving pins on chore boardI did easy “chores” since my kids are young that mostly focus on daily tasks like getting dressed and brushing teeth. But I also added a few chores to the board like helping with laundry and cleaning their rooms that have always been required, but until now had to be asked and then reasked numerous times a day.

I also added 4 “helper” pins that require them to help out other family members at least 4 times a day as part of their to-do. We always tell the kids that in this family we help each other, and I love that these helper pins make it easy to show that it’s not just their specified chores that are required of them – they are expected to be helpful to us and to each other every single day. Make Today AwesomeOnce we had the system in place, I added a little something else at the bottom to the board – a behavior chart of sorts to show warnings given throughout the day. The basic idea is that an awesome day would have all 5 pins still in place, but pins can be lost as necessary for talking back, being sassy, or fighting with each other. Make today Dino MiteEvery time they have an awesome day {or a Dino-mite day, as the case may be}, they get to choose a special treat – whether it’s listening to their music in the car, playing with their tablets, or it’s choosing what we have for dinner or what game we play at night. Losing pins has consequences, the first of which is just not having an awesome day and not getting the treat. Losing two pins will take away a small privilege, three pins will be a bigger privilege lost. I hope to never, ever get to 4 pins lost, but if that happens we have a list of things that could potentially happen and we will choose from those if the time comes. 

My original plan was to have the kids move all the clothespins throughout the day and then I would move them back to start each night, but then my genius hubby realized that if we could simply make the system two-sided and flip the board each night to start over again and the pins would already be in the correct side of the board. Brilliant, right?Chore Charts are awesomeWhat I love most about the system is that it can change as needed to grow with our family. We could add more “helper” pins, more behavior pins, and change up the chores based on the day or their different stages by simply removing or adding a pin or two, all of which means it’s not going to get outdated after just a few weeks.

The grow-with-me chore and behavior boards may not be perfect, but they are definitely a few dozen steps in the right direction. While I don’t expect success overnight, the new boards have been working amazingly well and the kids love moving their pins and being able to show daddy just how good they were during the days for me.

My hope is that we keep the system up and the boards will make the transition from 2 to 3 children a whole lot easier when the time comes. The goal is that everyone will understand exactly what is required of them and do it automatically… hopefully with a whole lot less tears and nagging required.

No, make that zero nagging.Chore and Behavior boards Leanne Signature

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