My mom says chore charts are like diet books. They always sound great in theory, but rarely do any long term good in reality. And I have to say that, for the most part, she is right. This chore chart started out like any diet. The first day was amazing. We did it all. We sweated and slaved to meet the requirements. And, like I do with every new diet, I called my mom and my sister to rave to them about our new regime, about how good it made me feel, about all my hopes and dreams. And then I woke up the next morning with the usual change-your-life-hangover. My body wanted so badly for me to go back to my lazy ways. But I refused to give in so soon. I quickly called my sister for back up and she talked me through that second day so that I could stay strong. On the third day I called my mom for support. And everyday after that I called one of those amazing women so that they could talk me through my glutinous, lazy urges and see me to another day of chore chart success. Slowly it went from "hard to do" to just a way of life.
And I have to say, I love love love this chore chart. It is flexible, user friendly, visually helpful, and seems to work for us. For a really good look at all it has go read the Pioneer Woman's review. She has like a zillion pics of it so I'm not going to even try.
This is how I made it work.
1. Read all the instructions that come with it, get it all set up. Try to put it in a place where you will see it often, where the kids can access it, but where it is least likely to be pulled down or destroyed. I spent a whole day searching for a spot like this, they are hard to find.
2. Sit the family down and explain it. Let them know that this is about learning, that it is supposed to be hard, and that it is going to actually be more work for you (the mom) because instead of just doing the chores really fast yourself you are going to have to work with each kid as you teach them new skills.
3. The idea of the play money incentive is that eventually the child should feel self motivated to earn the money. Yeah, that is not going to happen the first week. I told my kids that the first week I would still nag, and even yell, in order to get them to finish their chores so they could all earn their money. The second week I would give reminders and nag a little but no yelling (I don't know why my boys need me to yell before they actually do stuff). Then the third week I would only give 3 reminders, and after that they are on their own. If they earn the money, fine, if they don't no sweat.
4. Some kids will choose not to earn. It's the way kids are. So, the deal is that money is a reward for a job WELL done and a good attitude. The kids are still required to get their jobs done everyday, but they don't earn any dollars if they don't meet the requirements. If they choose not to do any chores at all they loose any and all privileges (computer, TV, trampoline, picking a movie at the library, etc).
5. There are blank cards that you can customize. Use these to add any jobs that aren't provided. I added things like sweeping the stairs, collecting dirty laundry, and cleaning computer/TV screens. But I also got creative and added fun things like write your brother a love note, make everyone in the family laugh at least once today, write a story to tell the family after dinner, etc. I try to use at least one of these a week to help keep the chore chart fresh and alive, and to remind us that this whole program is about family.
6. I also like to mix up the dollar awards every now and then. If one child is particularly helpful and sweet I will give them an extra dollar, and we give an extra one on birthdays as well. I'm even thinking of letting the kids buy off a chore. So if they don't want to clean toilets maybe they can pay me 2 dollars to do it for them. And we have one big, expensive reward they can all chip-in to buy for a family day at "Fun Factor" (a building full of inflatable slides, boxing rings, ball pits, and adult headaches).
It's a pricey chore chart at $19.00 after shipping, but for me it has been totally worth it. If you have the time and inclination you could probably make one of these yourself. I thought about doing that... then I had a real good laugh and bought it from Christianbook.com because they sold it for the cheapest price.