It Might Not Be the Chore System, It Might Be the Administrator

School has just let out.  I breathe a sigh of relief and then wonder what we are going to do to stay structured; the house is always messier with the kids at home.  I know it’s time to start a new chore system or else resurrect one of the old ones we’ve had, but I’m skeptical.  After all, our chore systems are not known to last very long around here.  Here’s a few of our most recent bombs:

The Ticket System:  Kids are awarded tickets for doing chores, having a good attitude, and setting goals.  The kids trade in tickets for prizes.  This system worked well until we lost all the tickets and busted the frame.  We heartily recommend this system for a more organized family.

graduation 011

The Clean Room System:  The clean room system idea came from this great book.  Thirty single dollar bills are placed in a jar for each child.  Room inspection is done everyday.  If the child passes room inspection, the jar is left alone.  If he doesn’t, a dollar is taken out.  At the end of the month, the child keeps the money in the jar.  Unfortunately, our system’s “administrator” forgot to check the jars most of the time so the boys “estimated” how many times they cleaned their room.  The administrator never refilled their jars and morale plummeted.

For a great speech on why you should make your bed every morning, click here.  Note: The speech was given by a Navy Seal which might motivate your boys.

The Nickel System:  Chores mean nickels and nickels mean the nickelcade.  Ricky was on fire.


Our nickel boy

Before nickel system:  Ricky, please sit on the piano.  We’re are doing the G scale dear, the G scale, o-kay fine, just do the C scale.  Where’s your left hand honey?  No, not chords, scales.  No, not arpeggios, scales.   Honey, can you stay on the bench please?

After the nickel system:  You nailed the G scale on the first time!  Way to go, Idaho!  Oh, yeah, here’s your nickel.  No, one nickel is good, dear.

Ricky liked to jingle all of his newly earned nickels in his pocket.  He also liked to put them in his mouth.  I swear I didn’t know until he came up to me right before his bedtime.

“Mom, I think I swallowed a nickel.”

“No you didn’t.”  Hey, it was my bedtime too.

“Yes, I did.”  I told the captain the good news and asked him to call his doctor brother.

The captain got off the phone and said, “He says that if it were his son he would take him to the ER.”

“Well call another doctor then!”  I said.  Finally, we found a nurse that said that he could probably wait until tomorrow as long as he didn’t vomit, turn purple, or practice the piano:)   Argh!!!

Today we are going to figure out a simple job system!  I’ll let you know how it goes tomorrow.

What job systems have worked or not worked for you?



  1. Our best one was that they couldn’t do anything or go anywhere – no TV no playing outside etc until certain things were done – bed made, morning job done, teeth brushed, dressed – no exceptions. TV, video games – all electronics would remain off. They had to earn time on the before mentioned items by reading, working pages in a math work book, practicing piano or doing extra jobs for me (I would sometimes pay them too depending on how desperate I was.) We would plan a few activities during the week to that they had to have the basics done to participate in. The key is sticking to your guns – no exceptions. Sometimes a child would sneak into the room to watch a movie they had not earned – I would escort them out or turn off the TV – the other children quickly shooed them out for me. If the other children allowed them to watch a movie unearned all would loose the privilege. I used it for a number of years until I ran out of children…

  2. Good ideas! I am leaning towards doing something similar–no privileges until the work is done. Of course my children try to cheat all the time, but if I make the consequences steep enough, they might start to figure things out—

  3. We are trying out a system similar to your ticket system. They need to fill up their jars with pasta shells (Sam tried to convince me to use skittles instead, but that would have gotten out of control, so it’s boring pasta shells for us). They have a list of a ton different things (mostly cleaning, learning, and creativity)that earn them different amounts of shells. When they fill up their jars they get $$$. Some of the things they do need to be done anyway, (piano, read) so no matter what they get something….but the longer they read or play the piano the more shells they get. We only just started it so who knows how it’ll work! I’m happy though to have the microwave cleaned out, a few window sills cleaned and 3 vacuumed rooms. 🙂

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