Covid has really increased the time we spend in our house. Being constantly in the house with a baby and a four year old has been rough. My house was getting messy more often and I was struggling to keep up. No matter how helpful my husband was I realized it was time to get my four year old on board too. He was old enough to take on more responsibility and help out around the house and that is exactly what we aimed to do with our responsibility chart.
I wanted to share with you a version of a responsibility/chore chart I created. This chart helped get the whole family on the same page and has helped and guided our four year old son this last year.
Chart Set Up
At this age it was helpful to have a mix of age appropriate chores and responsibilities on the chart. These items were based on his current needs and could be switched in and out after it became constant and automatic. He also became so involved that he began to ask for more responsibilities and wanted new items on his chart, like giving the dog her medicine. All the items had a mix of picture and words and were in a weekly printed calendar. Items completed could be marked by a sticker or marker at the end of each day as we completed our night time routine. If you have a Google Account you can access your own free copy to modify and make your own! Click here!
- Get dressed by yourself
- Brush your teeth
- Buckle your own car seat
- Carry in your belongings from the car
- Clean up your plates and trash from food
- Feed the dog
- Clean up the playroom
- Move over the laundry
- Hang up your clothes
- Any other daily responsibilities you want them to do on their own
- Behaviors you may want to see change (ex: Positive attitude at the dinner table or trying a bite of all your food)
Positive reinforcement in the form of a prize chart was my focus and something many kids this age respond well to. Each day that he got all the areas or only missed one, he would get to fill in a box on his reward chart. The reward chart had 4 prizes on it and took a month to fill in. He could draw in a box or put a sticker in the reward chart each night he did well on the responsibility chart. He could earn them in any order of his choice and he could also suggest rewards to get added to the chart. If you have a Google Account you can access a free copy of this chart here to modify and you your own.
Here is a list of possible rewards:
- Get a new book (new or used)
- Pick out a special snack after school
- Choose a special family dinner
- Have a glow stick bubble bath
- Water balloon fight
- Do a special art project with mom or dad
- Read an extra book before bed
- Go out for ice cream
- Popcorn movie night
- Get a toy from the store
- Have a friend over for a play date
- Donuts for Breakfast
- Most importantly, not all of them need to cost money. Rewards can be extra time spent doing something they enjoy too.
One year later this chore chart is still going strong in our house and we are getting close to shortening it and phasing pieces of it out. He is now more helpful and understands my expectations without having to remind him daily. We have found extreme success with this flexible plan and maybe a version of this could be helpful for you and your young child too.