We've created a chore system in our house. We worked well on it for a while and then lagged off. So it's time to start again. We need to get this house into ship shape before the baby comes.
I looked at lots of ideas before deciding what would work best for us. In our system, everyone has a column of chore cards. Yellow are morning chores. Pink are for the evening. Blue are for bedtime. The purples are weekly chore cards.
So here are Owen's:
Morning: Help Mom with breakfast dishes, Make bed and put away jammies, and Help Mom with laundry.
Evening: Help dad feed chickens and get eggs, Set dinner table, and Clear away own dishes.
Bedtime: Put away toys, Put clothes away or in dirty hamper, and Brush teeth.
Weekly: Help carry in groceries, Empty bathroom garbage and replace bag, and Help Mom water plants. (I think there's a few more too: Help Dad take recycling, Help Dad with yardwork etc.)
Each time a chore is completed we put the card into the plastic envelope next to the chore chart. At the end of the day you get a sticker if you completed all your daily chores, plus an additional sticker for each of the purple weekly cards.
The stickers go on our family goal/prize chart.
Yes, I believe that children should help out in the family without incentive, but I also know that I, myself, am more motivated to do something if I'm going to get something out of it. Plus, we are still teaching our children (and ourselves) beneficial skills and habits. And after we earn our prize, hopefully the habits will remain and we'll all be better off.
So we are, as a family, earning up to buy a Nintendo Wii. It's been a decision long in coming. Jeremy went through his whole Master's program without a gaming system, for which I am very grateful and proud. But the time has come where I think there may be a place for a (strictly monitored) gaming system in our house.
The last caveat in our deciding-to-get-a-Wii decision was, that we weren't just going to go out and buy it on a whim. So each square on our chart represents one dollar towards buying the system. (Although, hopefully we will buy a used system, etc. to make it cheaper than new.) And we will work together and anticipate it, and hopefully our house will be a cleaner and more organized place because of it. . .