I swear we have tried to think of any system that works for us in terms of having the kids do chores. We don't expect them to do much, but we would like them to be involved with some things and learn that they do have responsibilities as a part of this household.
For awhile we tried this system:
This was a chore chart we invested in. We thought this would be our perfect answer. We would list out each kids "chores" for the week, and they would simply attach their magnet color when they had finished.
We tried this chart multiple times in multiple variations. After the "daily" thing didn't pan out, we only checked it once per week (which happened...I think...exactly once). We offered "prize incentives" if the kids kept up with their stuff, which at the time included reminding us to check with them on Sunday nights lest we forget. Which we all did. We tried listing little chores as well as big chores (as evidenced by Mike's list notation of "clean house"). Nothing with this thing has worked. It will be in our next garage sale. Cheap.
We've tried several variations of this kind of thing. A few days ago I was trying to think of what exactly works for our family and I realized that on the few occasions where we've all worked together, I always make a list for each kid. They go through their list, check things off, and it's always kept them on track.
Lists! Mike and I are spreadsheet addicts. I don't know why a personal list didn't occur to me before this! I brainstormed and over the next few nights came up with this system:
Each kid has a little booklet now. It hangs on the side of the fridge. Inside there is a page for each day. Each day has a list of 4-5 things that is their "chores" for the day.
And to make things clear: we don't really expect them to do 4-5 "chores". Sort of. Two of the items each day happen to be things they would have to do anyway: homework and piano practice. We've basically added one chore and "Make Your Bed" (Mike's addition: he's bound and determined that everyone make their bed when they wake up. I'm still trying to learn this after 14 years.)
The rules are simple: they can't do anything or go anywhere until these things are finished. We've simply said, "Is your card finished" and it either has or hasn't been. We've also told them to check their cards: don't just memorize them. Occasionally there will be extra things added (when they have to take laundry upstairs) or there will be "prizes" (for example: a fudgesicle reward for a particularly good week). Each person has their set of cards for one month; at the beginning of the next month they trade cards so no one is getting stuck with the "yucky" jobs forever.
These cards are laminated so if they wanted to, they could check things off with a dry-erase marker. Or they just simply run down the list one by one and mentally check it off.
To be realistic, this system has been in place approximately five days. But, that is about four days longer than any other system so far. My hopes are slightly elevated that this will continue to work.