We have tried and failed at responsibility/chore charts many many times. Finally we landed on a system that works for us. We've been using a over sized desk calendar to write out the chores that the kids are responsible for every day. (feeding the cats, picking up and putting away 15 things around the house, cleaning their rooms, cleaning the playroom, setting/clearing the table, doing their homework, picking up the hallway/putting shoes away)
What makes it successful:
Easy access - It hangs by our front door and includes a pen on a string we taped to the wall.
Easily adaptable - When we first started we only wrote out a week at a time so we could tweak the chores the next week as needed. After the first two months we changed the chore from picking up 10 things around the house to 15 things. They hardly noticed the change because they were so used to 10 things by then.
The math is easy - All chores have to be done for the day or you don't get paid for the day. We pay twenty-five cents per day.
Easy payday - We try to keep rolls of quarters on hand so we can pay the kids on Saturdays, but we've also been able to get away with keeping a running tally* on the side of the calendar.
Mix it up - The chores vary from week to week. One week Sam will clear the table, but the next week Julia will have that job while Sam sets the table. The other chore we rotate is cleaning the upstairs hallway and putting the shoes by the front door into the laundry room where they belong. Feeding the cats is something they rotate every other day to help keep things even.
We write in different colored pens so it's easy to remember who the list belongs to.
If we know they didn't do their chores one day we put an 'x' on the day so we can easily tally up their earnings.
We put homework on this list because it's something we really want them to get in the habit of doing every day but we don't really believe in paying them for doing their homework. It just makes sense for our family to have it on the chore chart.
There are many days of the week where we only have to remind them once about doing their chores and they get right to work. It's so nice to see them contributing and developing a good work ethic. It's also really really nice to have their rooms stay clean and to have help setting and clearing the table. I'm sure part of the success is due to the fact that the kids are a little older than previous attempts at doing chores. Regardless, I firmly believe it comes down to the parents being consistent. What do you think?
Do you use a chore/responsibility chart system?
* After Christmas I found a couple of toys on clearance that they really really wanted. They spent a month earning the money to pay me back for them and on Jan 26th they had finally earned enough from doing their chores to be able to open the packages. They were thrilled to have earned so much money on their own.