Creating a Chore Chart That Works for YOUR Child(ren)

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If you struggle with chores in your house, we've got the fix!  You can check out this free chore chart by age and other forms - all to help you and your kids create a chore chart that works!  Click over to learn more about this system (and get some free printables)!!

Do you struggle to get your kids to do their chores — or even to figure out WHAT chores they need to do?  You are not alone.  And then, when you do figure out the chores, getting your kids to do them — with a smile on their face — is another obstacle all together.

As Moms and Dads, part of what we need to teach our children is how to contribute to the running of our household, which in turn can help them to become contributing members of society.  It helps the house run smoother and they actually get the opportunity to take ownership of a task.  That alone can boost self-esteem and help them with their development.  I know my kids get a lot of satisfaction when they complete a task.

When our kids were younger, we just did a ticket system and did not have a formal chore chart.  However, now that they are all older, it is easier to have all three of them follow the same system.  What we are trying to teach them more than anything is that you have to work to earn money.  Not only that, but if you do the wrong thing, you may have to pay money to others.

In our household, we do not call their money an allowance.  We call it commissions.  They also can earn bonuses (for extra tasks that are above what we would expect – like picking up the family room without being told).  Each Sunday evening, we sit down with them and their charts and we pay them all commissions and bonuses.  We then look at the fines to see how much they owe us in return.  Our fines include items such as fighting, sassing, not doing what you are told, etc.    They each know how much they can earn in 7 days and that they are responsible for any money they lose in the process.  If they do not do the work, they just do not get paid.  It is that simple (just like in life).

Here are some things to keep in mind when creating your own chore chart for your children.

 

1.  Keep it Age Appropriate.

 

Since we have 3 kids, that means the chores that they each must do vary.  In fact, our youngest has only 6 weekly items she must do whereas our 10 year old has close to 10.  The older your children are, the more responsibility they can accept.

I’ve created a chart you can use to determine the types of chores you can assign to your own children.  These are broken down into various age groups, to help make it simpler to find the chores your child should be able to complete.

chore chart by ages

Print Your Own Chore Chart by Age

This is a great way to help your children learn how to complete these tasks.  However, remember that you can’t expect perfection.  Just expect for them to try their best.  This chart is a great way for them to learn how to take care of themselves and their own home.

You may also try a task listed and find that your child is not yet ready to try that.  Just change what you do the following week.  Conversely, you may feel your child can take care of items listed in an age group which is older.  That too is fine.  This is a guide to help you find those items which work for both you and your child.

2.  Find a Form that Works for You.

 

It is important that your child can see the chart and keep track of what he or she has done for the week.  This can be done on a white board on your refrigerator or even a piece of paper tacked to a bulletin board.

The idea is that your children can see what they need to do on a daily basis and take the steps to do these items themselves.  I find that when my kids can physically check a box or a line to show they did something, they do much better at keeping track of what they have done and those items they have yet to complete.

We actually have created two different forms to help you and your children do just that.  One is very basic and is great for younger children. You fill in their name and the chores they need to do on each line.  Then, as they do each item, they just place an “X” in the box.

Blank Chore Chart For Younger Kids

Print Your Own Simple Chore Chart (for any age)

If your children are a bit older, you can use the Responsibility Chart instead.  This chart has spaces for the regular chores (Commissions), additional tasks (Bonsues) and areas where they tend to get into trouble (fines).  You tally up the income and take away the fines each week and they earn the difference.  This chart is created to teach them, well, responsibility in the workplace.

They learn that if they do not complete the work, they do not get paid.  They also learn that if they do the wrong thing (like fight or disrespect Mom and Dad), they have a fine.  We compare this to speeding or being reckless and causing damage to things.  It works well for our kids and they sure hate it when we say the word “FINE”!

responsibility chart

Print Your Own Responsibility Chart

If you want even more detailed information into how we use the Responsibility Chart in our home, you can read about that here — Teaching Our Children Financial Responsibility.

3. Check the Chore Charts Daily — Keep Them Easy To See

 

Whichever chart you opt to use for your kids, make sure your chart is easy to see and complete by your kids.  This may mean it takes up permanent residence on your refrigerator.  Your kids may have a bulletin board in their bedroom.  Wherever you place it does not matter – as long as your kids can see it.

Work with them to learn how to update their chart each night before they go to bed.  This helps them end the day seeing all that they were able to do, and ensures that they are working on those weekly items as need be done.

4. Determine the reward or incentive.

 

Rewards will vary greatly from family to family.  For some parents, the chores are required just as part of being a part of the family.  They are expected to contribute and there is no reward attached to it.  For others, it is simply financial.  They pay per chore or per week as the chore charts are completed.  Yet, for others, the rewards may be incentive based such as sleepovers, extra time on the game system, etc.  The beauty of any good system is that you can make it work for your family.

None of these are right or wrong.  You know your kids and your family structure, so you know what you expect and will give in return. A chore chart can serve as incentive and reminder for your kids (and quite possibly, even for you)!

The most important tip is be willing to fail.  None of us are perfect and it is easy to try something and find that it doesn’t work.  That doesn’t mean you should quit, you may just need to change the chores, or possibly the incentives.  Be willing to change it up and you will find something that works for you and makes your kids excited about helping around the house!

If you struggle with chores in your house, we've got the fix!  You can check out this free chore chart by age and other forms - all to help you and your kids create a chore chart that works!  Click over to learn more about this system (and get some free printables)!!

Homemade Gift Idea: Love Gifts (Best of All This Gift is FREE)!

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Love Gifts

 

I have many memories of holidays with my family.  When I think back, I remember the laughing.  I remember the fun.  I remember the excitement of waking up with my sister an sneaking out to see if Santa had paid us a visit.  What don’t I remember?  The gifts.   Well, for the most part.

When I was around 12 years old, my mom came up with a way for us to do something to show how much we cared for one another.  She came up with Love Gifts.  These were not any ordinary gift.  They came from the heart.

We had to come up with a way to do something, out of love, for another member of our family.  The only requirement was that it had to be free.  It couldn’t be to take someone out to dinner or buy someone something they wanted.  Nope.  We had to look within ourselves and decide what would be the best gift to give to someone in our family.

I remember a few of the ideas we would share included:

  • Do the dishes on your turn, once a month, all year long.
  • Wash the pickup 3 times this summer.
  • Be your slave for a day and wait on you.
  • Do all of your chores for one week.

The ideas are endless!  We would also make sure to include a note to let the person know that we did appreciate and love them.  These gifts were always hand written (makes it much more personal) and then wrapped up in small boxes.  They were placed under the tree with a HEART on them.  The heart could be on the tag or even attached with ribbon.

We would open all of our gifts as a family.  The love gifts were the LAST gifts to open.  We were not allowed to touch them until all of the other presents had been opened.  The anticipation of those gifts was just as great as those in the boxes with the big ribbons.  If anything, we were more excited to see what someone was going to do for us – and the joy on the faces of one another to see how excited they were to have us do something for them.

So, here I am, 30 years later and I still remember those gifts.  I remember reading the letters we would write to one another to share that we really cared about them. I remember the fun of coming up with something different to do for each member of my family.  Most importantly, this gift – this simple gesture – stands out above all other things we would do on Christmas.  And, isn’t that what it is all about?

8 Everyday Uses for Peppermint Oil

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peppermint 3 PPM

Peppermint Oil is one of the oldest remedies for heart burn and digestion issues. But many people do not realize that peppermint oil has several uses from curing an upset stomach to cleaning your home. Just remember when using essential oils to use them in moderation, as they are VERY strong!

1. Freshen Breath: Rub a couple of drops of peppermint to your tongue and gums. The peppermint will kill the bacteria leave your mouth feeling and smelling fresh.

2. Itch Relief:  Stop itching caused by bug bites, hives, poison ivy or minor allergic reactions. Simply apply peppermint oil directly to the affected area.

3. Relieve Stomach Pain: Rub a drop of peppermint directly onto the stomach and feel relief from upset stomach, bloating, or indigestion.

4. Headaches:  Apply Peppermint oil to the forehead, temples, behind the ears, and/or the base of the neck. If you can lay down for a few minutes, watch as your headache dissipates.

5. Ant Stopper: Put a drop of peppermint oil in the path of the ants and they will go running away!

6. Pain Relief: For sore-aching feet and and joints, add peppermint to a warm compress or into a hot bath with Epson salt and soak.

7. Reduce Heartburn: Mix 5-6 drops of peppermint oil with a teaspoon of coconut oil and massage onto your chest. Or add a 1-2 drops of peppermint oil to your tea.

8. Fever Reducer: Soak a clothe in warm peppermint infused water and lay over limbs and forehead.  Or apply a drop of peppermint essential oil to the bottom of the feet.

 

*Make sure you read your label and use those labeled for ingestion properly and do not ingest anything that states aromatherapy only.  

14 Days to Smoother Homeschooling Day 14: Staying Home To Homeschool

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14 Days to Smoother Homeschooling from www.pennypinchinmom.com
On the last day of our 14 Days To A Smoother Homeschool Day, I wanted to talk about something that’s vital to a successful home school. Staying home.

There are always going to be things outside of the house that need your attention, whether it be errands, other family embers, community or church events. Before you know it, it’s Thursday, and the kids have yet to get any school done for the week. Then, you’re either rushing yourself, and more importantly, them, to finish a week’s worth of schooling in two days to stay on track, or you’re forced to let them slip four days behind. Too many weeks of that, and your children will be dreadfully behind in their schooling.

To homeschool your children is an incredible task, and has to be a task that is not taken lightly. In a sense, you have to think of it as a job. Think about it as something you are committed to; something that you cannot leave the house for at the drop of a hat; something that is your reason to tell people “no” every once in a while. It is hard to get into the routine of staying home until school work is finished, or being home in time for school work to be completed by the evening, but it is vital for the success of your students.

Commit to your time home with them. Give yourself one day a week, if necessary, that you will spend time running errands, or taking a field trip, or both, but don’t let it be more than once a week. If you can’t stay home to allow your children to learn, and for you to teach them, then maybe homeschooling isn’t the right choice for you. It’s hard! It’s a lot of work, but for those who feel called to do it, or who are willing to take on the task, it’s worth it.

Don’t lock yourself in the house after reading this post, remember, those poor children need to be socialized! I hope you read the sarcasm in that last statement and found truth in our fourteen day series. We hope this has helped you in some aspect of your homeschool day, or at least encouraged you that you’re not alone. It takes a village.

Catch up on all of our posts in this 14 Day Series

Free Home Planning Forms: Shopping List, Menu Plan, Important Documents and More!

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It can be tough to stay organized.  You've got the menu, the shopping list, the passwords, chore charts.....it is overwhelming as to how to create this all yourself.  Relax - we are here to help!  You can access all of these FREE printables - and more!  Keeping your life more organized saves you time, money - and stress!  Click over to learn more!!

 

When it comes to finances, we all know to watch what we spend and to create a budget.  However, did you realize by being organized, it can help as well?  I am not just talking about your pantry, I am talking about your household.

By creating a menu plan and shopping list, you are purchasing what you need.  If you have a price list, you can track the store prices and learn the sale cycles to find the best deals when you need them.  Even by sharing your family’s passwords and where to find important documents can save you — time — when you need them!

This may seem overwhelming to try to come up with on your own.  That’s why we have several FREE forms you can use for your family!  Some of these can be customized before you print them out.  Others, you can just print and fill out with what it is you need.

If you want even MORE great forms just like these to help you with your cleaning and your finances, you are in luck!  Just visit our Free Forms Download page and check out the resources created just for you!

 

14 Days to Smoother Homeschooling Day 13: Balance Is Best

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14 Days to Smoother Homeschooling from www.pennypinchinmom.com
Being a parent. Homeschooling. Working. Being a parent. Homeschooling. Working. And on and on and on and on! Some days it feels like it is a job that will never end. It has its rewards, and you willingly make the sacrifice for you children, but when is enough enough? Guess what? It’s ok, some days, to just take a break.

I know most homeschool families frown upon snow days, or Spring Break, and some even go as far as frowning on Summer Break as well. Don’t feel like you need to be super parent, and that your kid needs to go to college at twelve years old. The truth is, if you feel like you need a day (or a week!) off, chances are your kids feel the same way. Sometimes stepping away from school for a period of time, whether it be a day, or a week, can be the perfect solution to a smoother homeschool day.

It’s so easy to feel pressured to be the parent that has a strict schedule, and is meeting your goals, and is making sure your kids are up to par with their grade level. But, just breathe. Your kids have a lifetime of learning with you. Sometimes it is ok to take a break. You don’t even need to plan the break! If your day starts off bad, and you didn’t sleep well, and the baby won’t stop crying and your four year old is mad because you didn’t dress her in the right pink shirt, and your sixth grader is upset about her math and it’s only 10 a.m., you may want to just take the day off. Seriously, it’s ok.

You do not fail as a parent if you admit you need a break. It’s healthy to take a break. In fact, most of the time you will find that the refresher days are perfect for getting everyone back on track the next day. Some parents do a four day school week for just this reason; sometimes five day school weeks are just too much. Some parents school five weeks at a time and then take the sixth week off, all year long. Do what feels comfortable. Don’t push yourself past your limits, or push your kids to their breaking point just because “that’s what you’re supposed to do”, be sensitive to your needs and to your kids’ needs. Trust me, you’ll be happy you did, and so will they!

Catch up on all of our posts in this 14 Day Series

Free Household Cleaning Checklists

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Cleaning the house is never fun and if you are not even sure where to start, it can be overwhelming.  Use one of our FREE printable checklists to help you tackle your cleaning whether it is your regular routine or time for spring cleaning.  We've got the help YOU need!

 

Let’s face it, cleaning your house is not a fun task.  It can even seem a bit overwhelming. Where do you start?  What is important to clean?  That is where I come in – to help!

I clean our home in just around 2 hours each week.  How big is our home?  It is just around 2,000 sq feet and includes 4 bedrooms, 3 baths, kitchen and two living spaces.  Add in 3 kids, a dog and a husband and it gets pretty dirty!  However, I can tackle this weekly task quickly, because I’ve gotten what we do down to a science.  Of course, my kids have to do part of the work each week, but we are still able to get it all done very quickly.

You can print out any of the great FREE checklists we have available for you:

Weekly Cleaning:

Spring Cleaning  (Access all forms here):

There is not right or wrong way to clean your home. It is just important to do so as it not only can help keep your family healthy, it just makes you feel better when it is done!

Looking for even more printables?  Check out our list of FREE forms for your home, budget, shopping — and more!!

14 Days to Smoother Homeschooling Day 12: Read, Read, Read

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14 Days to Smoother Homeschooling from www.pennypinchinmom.com

A great step toward a smoother homeschool day is to instill a love for reading in your children. Reading will encompass nearly every subject your children will need to complete in a daily basis. The more they can learn to love it, the easier most of their subjects will come for them. We’ve listed some great ideas to make reading more fun for your kids below. Feel free to tell us some of your ideas too!

Pizza Hut’s Book-It Program

This program is often used in public schools, but did you know they allow homeschools to participate as well? This program has you or your child track how many books they read, and gives them pizza as a reward! It’s free to participate and to sign up. The deadline to sign up is typically September 1st, but they do make exceptions for late sign-ups as long as supplies are still available, on a first come first serve basis. Check out the link here to their website.

Library Reading Programs

Many libraries will often offer summer reading programs. Many of these programs will offer rewards from local businesses as children read books throughout the summer. Check with your local library to see if they offer a program like this and what ages it covers.

Weekly Library Trips

Going to the library never gets old, for me at least! Give your kids a nearly unlimited amount of books to choose from by taking them to the library once a week. Allow them to choose books, with your supervision, that they would enjoy to read, and on topics they are interested in.

Monthly Book Goals

You don’t need a pre-established program to reward your kids for reading. Create your own goals for your kids, and offer a monthly pizza party or special dessert treat when their goals are met! Make sure all children can participate in the reward parties, to make sure you don’t discourage those who may struggle with reading, or who may have been less motivated at the beginning of the month. Check up with your children regularly to make sure their goals are being met in ample time. If you notice a student struggling, try to assist them as much as possible. Younger children who can’t read can also participate by having you read to them. Make sure the goals you set for your children won’t burden them, but will encourage them to read even more.

Catch up on all of our posts in this 14 Day Series

14 Days to Smoother Homeschooling Day 11: Setting Goals

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14 Days to Smoother Homeschooling from www.pennypinchinmom.com

As a homeschool parent we always have goals that we set for our children. We also create goals for our school day, school week, school month and school year. Sometimes it can be difficult to keep kids on track with those goals. Why not let your kids set some goals for themselves?

Teaching our children to set goals is very important. Helping them set and complete goals is not only a valuable lesson, but will be an incredible self-esteem boost for them as well. It will also help them to be involved in their school goals. Make sure to teach them to set realistic goals, and both short term and long term. For instance, if your child sets a goal to finish a year’s worth of school work in three months, that’s too lofty. Encourage instead, for them to strive to finish their school work earlier in the day by waking up earlier.

By allowing them to be involved in some goal setting for themselves, it may be less of a fight for them to complete certain tasks or subjects. Because they know they are working toward a goal they set for themselves, it may make them more excited to complete a task. Give them a goal setting sheet, or calender, and allow and encourage them to mark of completions on the list as they accomplish their goals. You can go to this website for some great, free, goal-setting printables!

As your children begin to successfully complete the goals that they have set for themselves, consider having some small rewards available for them. You can even reward them for meeting multiple goals in a row. For example, if one of their goals was to read one book a week, and they did that successfully four weeks in a row, then you could reward them for that in a manner you feel acceptable. The more you encourage them as they set and complete goals, the more inclined they will be to want to continue to set and complete goals. Help them be successful by being consistent in your application of goals as well! The more they see you setting and completing goals, whether it be for them or for yourself, the more it will be reinforced in them.

Catch up on all of our posts in this 14 Day Series

14 Days to Smoother Homeschooling Day 10: Keeping Social

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14 Days to Smoother Homeschooling from www.pennypinchinmom.com

We’ve all heard the age-old concern about socialization in homeschooled kids. While the majority of homeschool parents don’t struggle with finding outlets to socialize their students, for some it is a concern. A great way to meet other homeschooling families and to help socialize your kids is participating in a local homeschool co-op.

What is a homeschool co-op?

The basic definition of a homeschool co-op is just what the name denotes. It is a cooperative group of like-minded homeschool parents and students working together to create a community of homeschoolers to the benefit of the group. Some groups offer extensive, planned classes, sports and activities that meet on a regular basis. Still yet, others exist just as a support system for parents and a play group for children. Some of the neatest co-ops will have the parents use their talents and abilities to teach classes on a specific subject to kids in a certain age group, a sort of “shared learning” if you will.

How do I find a homeschool co-op?

If you’re new to an area, sometimes it can be tough to find like-minded homeschool families. A great way to find groups in your area is by asking around, or searching via the internet on Facebook or Google. If you have lived in an area for a long time, check with fellow homeschool families and see if they are involved in a homeschool co-op that you can be a part of. Many co-ops will have a Spring semester and a Fall semester. Some will even have a sign-up in advance, and sometimes there are waiting lists, so make sure you sign-up early, if sign-ups are required.

What if there aren’t any co-ops in my area?

Start one! It can be as simple as meeting up at the park, or at each other’s houses once a month for a play date or planned activity. Make sure you do plenty of research before just starting a group, to make sure there aren’t multiple co-ops in one area. Sometimes that can just prove to divide areas, instead of creating community. There are no set rules on how a co-op needs to work, so get together with fellow homeschool families and brainstorm over what ideas you think would be beneficial to your group of students!

Catch up on all of our posts in this 14 Day Series