Conquering the Chore Chart


I’ve mentioned this before, but when I was a freshman in high school I spent a weekend at The united States Military Academy in West Point, New York.  It was a trip organized by the Boy Scouts, with a camp out, a running of the obstacle course, and orienteering lessons. For me the trip served a secondary purpose, a chance to look around and talk to some Cadets. A chance to determine whether or not I should seriously pursue my ideas about applying there.

It was an eye opening experience, quickly convincing me that I probably didn’t possess the drive and self discipline that would be required.  One of the things that helped me come to this conclusion was hearing from some of the students that they slept every night on the floor next to their bunks rather than in them.  The standard for how their beds were prepared every morning was so strict that it simply wasn’t worth going through the process every day.

It’s a story that I was reminded of last night, shortly before my daughter’s bed time. She had gone upstairs to clean her room before brushing her teeth and settling down and as I headed in to check her progress I instead found her at the hallway closet, removing a spare pillow and sheet set.  She was so proud of the job that she had done making her bed that morning that she was insistent that she be allowed to sleep in a small tent set up in the corner of her room so that she wouldn’t mess it up.

The only way that she finally became agreeable to getting under her covers was if I agreed to take a picture of the bed so that she would know how to replicate her hard work the following day.


chore chart conundrum
too perfect to sleep in


Both the room cleaning and bed making are new daily jobs, two of the five that she must now complete every day in order to be in compliance with the chore chart that she helped put together at Daisy Scouts.


almost done for the day


On the surface this seems like a great idea, a way to start encouraging responsibility and introducing her to the idea of expectations regarding the sharing of household duties. Habits formed now that hopefully will continue in the future. An avoidance of the endless nagging that seems necessary to get her older sister to perform even the simplest of tasks.

Instead what we have is a new obsession, an extra half hour added on to our morning routine and the potential for a stern scolding if I get caught filling up the dog’s bowl.  The nearby chart offers no room for discussion regarding who’s job that now is.  I’m fairly certain that she is now purposely throwing her dirty clothes on the floor next to her hamper so that she will have something to clean up after her shower,  a way to clean a room that otherwise may not have needed cleaning that particular day.

Fortunately there doesn’t seem to be any real anxiety involved, something that her competitive nature always has me nervous about.  To her this is just another challenge that once accepted, must be completed. Every day.  No matter how late it makes us for school.

I still think a chore chart is a great idea. Still admire her drive, her willingness to help around the house, and the ferocity with which she attacks anything new.  A slight decrease in intensity once in a while would probably be OK though.


chore chart conundrum
Another day on the job



15 thoughts on “Conquering the Chore Chart”

  1. It looks like a new pic on the side of the blog – updated. Nice.
    Nice segue way from the military consideration to your daughter making the bed.
    One thing I bug my children about is making the bed. My older boy is very sloppy but I insist he make the bed. It’s not fun.

    1. It was time, that other pic was over two years old. making the bed is such a simple task, I don’t understand why it becomes such an issue. I’m hoping that by starting with simple tasks like that I can get her used to not being a total slob in the future

  2. Hi Jeremy, I do like a made bed, but I can’t imagine putting so much effort into it that I would rather sleep on the floor! Thank goodness for duvets!

    I do like the style of your chore chart and it’s one we’ve not tried with my son. I hope your daughter’s enthusiasm doesn’t wain, the day my two reprimand me for filling the dog’s water bowl will the day I win the lottery and we don’t even do it!


    1. she tends to go “all in” on things until the next challenge presents itself and she moves on to that. She’s always been eager to help and pretty tidy. Hopefully we can encourage these to become habits and not just something that has to be done to “win” every day

  3. Liking the redo 🙂 Hope it works. The Tubblet is great at chores, mostly, but helping with the cat’s litter tray is proving a harder sell. But you have to do the crap (literally) jobs as well!

  4. perhaps once the novelty has worn off the intensity of having to do it all everyday will wear off? Bless her enthusiasm though!
    We’ve discussed about doing a chore rota for when Ben is older as a way to earn pocket money, but of course if homework needs to be done, chores come second! It is such a good way to instill responsibility and ownership in them though!
    Thank you for sharing this with us at #TriumphantTales. I hope to see you back tomorrow.

    1. She does seem to have moved on to new challenges. How I’d love to have her enthusiasm and energy for just a day

  5. Haha – when chore charts attack! I love the idea of just avoiding the bed once made to avoid ruining the work – might start that with everything I’ve cleaned! Thanks so much for joining us for #FridayFrolics

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