The Chart That Has Added Years To My Life and Peace To My Home

inspiredtoaction-our-great-summer-chart

Our Great Summer Chart

It’s about that time during the summer when the allure of long, lazy, free days has drowned beneath the sound of “I’m boooored!” And “she’s touching me!” “He’s looked at me funny!” Or “Mama! Make the girls stop dressing me up as a butler!”

Ok…maybe that’s just how it is at my house.

Somehow, after a few weeks of unscripted days, crazy things start to happen. Ever so slowly, chores they’ve done all year long are forgotten and I begin to to have to remind them. Often. Until one day I realize I’m practically nagging them to tidy their rooms, pick their stuff up or even brush their teeth in the morning.

Not wanting to be a nagging mom, I recently decided it was time to bring a bit more order to our days.

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The Chart

The idea I came up with is one I’ve used before, but I kicked it up a notch this time, so that I pretty much removed myself from the circle of reminding – and my kids (so far) are taking on the responsibility of doing what needs to be done AND helping each other get things done. (Not always as perfectly as it may sound…)

I made a full page spreadsheet, color coded, organized by time of day and complete with bubbles for every child to fill in after they have completed each activity.

I like to keep things light hearted and simple. Obviously.

I’m not really a Type A organized person, I am actually a lazy Type B who tries to automate anything unpleasant.

Fortunately, the kids LOVE the new chart. They have even added their own things to it and enjoy checking off all the tasks at the end of the day.
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Note: If you read the chart, you saw something called a house hunt. I am not training my children in the real estate trade. A house hunt is when they take about 5 minutes and run around the house finding all. the. things. they have randomly left throughout the day.

The Special Sauce

The secret sauce that makes it all work well, isn’t just my children’s OCD love of filling in the little bubble or their competetive nature. I gave them an added incentive called Friday Funday.

Each Friday Funday we do something fun and special and only those who have completed their chart get to participate.

Now, at this point, I’m just trusting they’ll all be diligent and get their work done. If one of them can’t participate in Friday Funday, that will be a very sad day, but I’m sure a good lesson in responsibility.

This last Friday we went swimming (we hadn’t gone all week, so it was a treat), got ice cream cones and watched a movie.

This Friday there’s talk of making icecream and roller skating. They have as much fun dreaming up fun things to do as they do actually doing them.

And all week long, they are inspired to get their work done so that they can join in on Friday Funday.

Download the Printable

Here is a copy of my printable for you to edit as you need to for your family. Let me know if you have any trouble with the link! It is an excel file. If you don’t have excel and would rather just copy the list and create your own, here is the same form on Google Drive (but I don’t know if it will be downloadable for you.)

I hope you enjoy it and that it helps your summer run smoothly!

Join the Discussion

Are you needing some structure to your summer? What tips and tricks can you share with us? Do you have any questions about the chart?
Click here to leave a comment!

Comments

  1. This is awesome…I am so trying this….to teach my girls to do chores for 1 (ages 3..almost 4 & 5 1/2) & the Friday Funday will help me be able to schedule in fun activities they look forward too (movie trips, bowling, etc…) awesome.

  2. Love this idea! I’ve found my children’s Hot Buttons (things they love) and have just told them they can’t enjoy those privileges unless their handful of chores are done. (i.e. – Get dressed and make beds before watching a morning show.)

    Just curious…what is “House Hunt”?

    • AW,
      Great question – A house hunt is when they take about 5 minutes and run around the house finding all. the. things. they have randomly left throughout the day.

  3. I love this post, it made me smile and giggle! We don’t have any butlers around here but my 3 yr old did come downstairs in one of his sister’s swimsuits the other day.
    I like this idea and totally need something like it. Simple and to the point. I love the house hunt euphemism too. Who want’s to clean up when you can house hunt! ;)

  4. Thank you so much. I am not the most structured person but this has been on my to do list since early May Before the kids got out of school. We talked about the importance of responsibility, a good balance of fun and keeping up our academics this Summer. We have done a good job but this definitely helps us keep tracking of what actually happened and what we missed! A lot of talk and brainstorming but no action on a formal chart! I am downloading the excel file to get started today. It’s never too late!!!

  5. My son is grown, but what a great idea! You are sooo cool, Kat!!

  6. Courtney says:

    Hi Kat, once again, thank you for this simple + amazingly helpful resource! I really struggle with keeping our summer days in order. Now that my oldest is finished with swim team, our days our full of endless possibilities…or endless disorder – yeek! So, this will help us greatly. Hope you guys are enjoying the hot Texas summer – woo! xo

    • Courtney,
      You’re very welcome. And it Texas keeps up today’s weather, I might take back all the mean things I said about it on Saturday. :)

  7. Thanks Kat! What a great chart. I love that it encourages the kids to take the initiative. Trying not to be such a nagging mommy- perhaps this will help!

  8. “A lazy Type B who tries to automate anything unpleasant” – this both cracked me up and gave me a remarkably accurate new label for myself :)

  9. SUCH a good idea. And also? I could really use a butler, if you know where I could find one.. ;)

  10. Anne Marie says:

    Thanks, Kat! Just printed out a version of this chart for my daughter (6 yrs old). I figured she would like it (her favorite part is coloring in the circles!), but had no idea she would be clapping her hands saying, “you’re the best mom in the whole world!” Ha! Thanks for sharing your awesome ideas and for your encouragement. I absolutely love your blog and your podcast and always look forward to being INSPIRED by the things that are on your heart. Blessings! :)

  11. I have been craving structure as well. We live out of the country, so when we come back “home” to the US we are completely away from our routine. I plan to implement something tomorrow, but I also want to build in something fun almost every day. Small things like running through the sprinkler or a trip to the park. Big things like the pool or Zoo can be once a week events. Thank you for the inspiration.

  12. Jessica says:

    Thank you for sharing this chart! I’m so excited to print it and start using it with my 3! I was just wondering if your kids literally go for a run in the afternoon? If not, what does that look like as part of the afternoon routine. Thanks again!

    • Jessica,
      Well, my son added that and he has been into running laps in the house. He’s 6 so he’s small enough for me to be ok with that. :) The other day he ran 20 minutes non stop!

      Usually, if I go running with the kids outside, it’s going to be in the morning before it gets too hot.

  13. Great chart! I like that it adds some structure to your day but does not appear to run your day too tightly. I have a 2.5 year-old and 4 year-old … I can see that the 4 year old may be motivated by an incentive at the end of the week, but do you think the 2.5 year-old can handle that? (as in … it’s too many days in the future for it to be an incentive for where she’s at developmentally) I think most of us tend to underestimate our kids’ ability to “get”/do a lot of things, but I also want to be realistic and not overestimate where I shouldn’t. Thoughts, anyone?

    • Dawn,
      Thats s great question. It probably depends on your 2.5 year old. You might try it for a week and see if the inspiration of watching the older one do it plus the “vision of ice cream on Friday” or what not might work. Having the visual of coloring in each day’s bubbles might help too. If not, then perhaps a daily reward – like an extra story with mom might be helpful…

      • Thanks for the additional thoughts on that, Kat. We’ll see how it goes – thanks again for the chart and ideas. :)

  14. THANK YOU so much for this! We just implemented it yesterday, and so far it has been FANTASTIC for us. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this!

  15. Stephanie says:

    Thanks so much for this! I just pulled it up and modified it to meet our needs. I am a structure junkie, but I haven’t wanted to impose so much structure that it just feels like the school year (we are a homeschooling bunch). We are already doing much of this, but not so consistently. Thanks for the Friday Fun idea too…I’m praying that will be plenty of motivation for the kids!!

  16. Thanks sooo much for sharing this! I, too, am a complete type B, sometimes a little too laid back, but I know my kids need some sort of structure. We do a daily reward of “Game Time” (as in video games, or watching videos online if they want) if they get everything done that needs to be. This will make it so much easier, allowing them to take responsibility and be able to SEE what needs to be done to have that reward.
    Also, I was able to open and edit in Google docs, but could not get it to download correctly with the other link. Maybe because I was trying it from the email? Anyway, thanks again! :)

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  1. [...] If you haven’t read any of Kat’s stuff over at “Inspired to Action”, then today’s the day to start. She’s a sweet friend who’s encouraging and amazingly practical. I’ve already started doing the SUPER practical mommy idea she suggests in this post. [...]

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