Chore Charts And My Five Minutes Of Guru Parenting

Just after giving up on Extreme Couponing, I stumble across and her child’s chore chart. Her FOUR AND A HALF YEAR OLD child’s chore chart. Hmmm, I have a four and a half year old, too… IS THIS A CHALLENGE?

Of course, it is.

And in my usual stroke of impulsive genius, I decide that we need to have a chore chart for my son RIGHT NOW.

I download her PreschoolerChoreChart.pdf and pull out the markers. (SimpleMom provides pictorial chore print outs as well, but I didn’t pass pasting in Kindergarten. Also, I don’t want my children feeding our nonexistent dog. And post-extreme-couponing, I’m still out of colored printer ink.)

The following morning, I explain the concept of chores, charts, stickers and, most importantly, allowance. Allowance actually means nothing to E until I explain that it will lead to the purchase of a video car racing game on my iPhone. (Oh, the sacrifices I make as a parent.)  A video car iPhone racing game that he has attempted to negotiate a deal on for three weeks now.

I could literal see the light bulb over his head and dollar signs in his eyes when he did the math:

More Stickers = More Nickels = Car Racing

And he’s off and running.  He begs to do all of our Sunday chores while I kick back thinking: I’M A PARENTING GURU!

In fact, we have to tell him to STOP doing so many chores. We remind him ten times that it’s okay to play on Sunday. Also, it’s okay to eat lunch, sweetie.

However, like anyone on the Internet with GURU attached to their name, things go downhill quickly. And by “things,” I mean “chores” and “doing.”

Just to be confusing, we started on Sunday, but the chart did not. So I color-coded and numbered it so you could understand E's daily progression. Into lazy. Or back into lazy. Or genetically predisposed into lazy.

As of writing this, E is three nickels and zero long-term thinkings shy of a car racing video game. But he’s still enjoying Angry Birds very much.

Is there somewhere that I can trade in my guru status for a new title? Or a housekeeper?

Alex Iwashyna

Alex Iwashyna went from a B.A. in philosophy to an M.D. to a SAHM, poet and writer by 30. She spends most of her writing time on, a humor blog (except when it's serious) about her husband fighting zombies, awkward attempts at friendship, and dancing like everyone is watching. She also has a soft spot for culture, politics, and rude Southern people who offend her Yankee sensibilities. She parents 2 elementary-aged children, 1 foster baby, 3 cats, and 1 puppy, who are all Southern but not rude. Yet.

22 thoughts to “Chore Charts And My Five Minutes Of Guru Parenting”

  1. If it makes you feel better, we used to have a chart, too. For grown-ups. And we never got past day 3, either.

    Although my husband is a whiz at changing the cat litter, the rest of the household chores are mine to do.

    Which is fine, because I love him and I don’t have anything better to do. 🙂

  2. Yeah I am definitely your kind of chore person. i do them and my husband does them but our grandson says “I don’t work for free.” We are still talking about that, like if you don’t work you don’t eat (straight from the Scriptures). But he is big enough to get his own food and I don’t want to put locks on the cupboards. Oh. Back to the subject. Chores. The kid is very good at helping when he thinks he will get money. I need to get off so I can get ready for the three year old to come help train me better.
    Love, Marge

  3. haha allowance. My parents never gave us an allowance, we did chores, each one of us (there’s 3) had certain assigned chores…simple chores for everyday like my job was to set the table and put away dishes. My sister’s job was to feed the dog and clear the table. My brother had to dump the trash cans. Then when Mom felt like it….we had a clean day where we all got to negotiate who did windows or dusted. Who vacuumed or cleaned the bathrooms….we were given money when we went on trips or on outings with friends….but never did I expect nor was I given an allowance. And I never asked for money…and I always had to provide receipts. My Mom always said that we did chores as an exchange for food and board…anything else was at their discretion, or more likely how much they could spare or scrounge together…..Don’t feel to bad. As they get older you can assign something more permanent.

  4. Hahahahahah! SO TRUE! I never had to do chores as a child and I HATE cleaning etc. so I am trying to correct all my faults this time around…an hope one of them becomes a rocker.

  5. I’d sell my kids for a housekeeper, but then I wouldn’t really need one…

    We are about to launch our first ever Chore Chart Summer. Based on your post, I’m estimating it will last exactly 4.2 days, but I’m giving it a try anyway. And based on the stunning work my children did picking up the playroom just now, I’m estimating extreme frustration on my part.

  6. Before I even started reading I thought “what in the world is she thinking trying to use a chore chart for her 4 year old?… and she is absolutely insane if her 2-year-old has one too.”
    I’m glad you explained it in the first paragraph. I should have known that’s what was up. A challenge.
    But do try again in a few years. We didn’t earn allowance when I was growing up, but we couldn’t hang out with friends until our chores were done by dinner on Friday. They were always done. We didn’t have cable or internet. There was no way we were sticking around the homestead.

  7. E made it one day further than my daughter did with her chore chart, so I would count that as a win for you as a chore-chart-parent.

    I dream of housekeepers.

  8. W tend to have the I ask, you do chore system. Yesterday it went like this – honey, clear the table. It’s dinner time. But, I’m too hungry!!! Please help. No.


    But the we ran out of time for dessert, so maybe she’ll say yes next time?

  9. We so tried the Chore List…Lists. Nada. At one point the kids tore the chart off the fridge in protest. They wanted shorter hours and more pay. I use the pay as you go method now.

    I seed the house with change and she gets to keep what she finds.

    Have at it.

  10. Anything that requires regularity like that – I get a big fat FAIL. I just don’t have the stamina to keep it up. My method – a nice whiteboard – when I have chores for them, I write them down. They have to do their chores before they can play video games or watch TV. It works for me – simple, immediate, I don’t have to keep nagging, the kids know when they’re going to be done.

  11. Mine decided she loves to mop. We don’t even need stickers! But she also loves the exact same spot on the floor. It’s very clean. The rest of the apartment is filthy. I keep trying to get the Angry Birds to clean it– but no go. Let me know if you find a good housekeeper.

  12. This is absolute hilarity!!! He should get extra money for cleaning non-stop Sunday! That should even out the fall off the rest of the week.
    Haha this cracks me up soo much!

  13. my parents were quite adamant about never giving us money about the stuff we were supposed to be doing anyway. They also hauled us out to fill out job applications when we were 14 1/2…to beat the rush when we turned 15. Sigh…

  14. We tried a chore chart last year…for the adults. It also failed miserably. I am starting to think maybe we should have used more stickers or better incentives. It quickly became a place to scribble notes and then got buried under magnets and take out menus on the fridge. Now I have to go read about extreme couponing because, I must be your alternate universe twin…I tried that for a while too and also failed miserably.

    Just another Tuesday hijacked by

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.