This is a common question, and there’s many ways to build a values-based system for your family. Here is a “Flow of Abundance” chart that helps children see that we get out of life what we put into it. If we are thoughtful and generous with our time, treasure, and talent, we can put ourselves into a flow of gratitude and abundance. This also helps reduce feelings of competition and “scorecarding” among family members. Children become more self-referenced which allows them to focus on their own choices and outcomes, rather than comparison with others (other-referenced).

You can use the chart in an open-ended manner; that is, family members can put their initials in a box for each chore they complete. This works well in an energized and cooperative family. Or, chores can be assigned, and each person is responsible for putting an X in all of their boxes by the specified times. It can be adjusted as children grow and your needs change over time.

Our home is named “Bella Festa” (beautiful party in Italian), hence the name at the top, and our 14-year-old’s chores are listed. And there’s a blank one for you to have fun with. Naming your family home is fun for kids and builds the family fraternity.

For the “Feelin’ Lucky” our son does something he thinks of himself that is not on the list, and then we “reward” him with some treat or nicety–even if just verbal. He doesn’t know how big or little the reward will be, a mirror to real life.

When all five of our kids were still at home, we listed their five names on the left, and the chores at the top. Sometimes on a Saturday morning, we would dedicate one hour to the list, all of us working at the same time to music, and having a reinforcer after (go on a hike, make waffles, be free for the day, etc.). 

It’s also great to have Two- and Ten-minute Tidies throughout the week. You can announce, “Let’s do a ten-minute tidy, and then we will ‘xyz’.” This way, everyone works for 10 minutes to spiffy the house, car, backpacks, etc., reducing physical (and mental) clutter. If 4 people participate, that is 40 minutes of cleaning! [Note: Help your children clean. It’s unrealistic to think they are going to clean the way an adult can. Have fun together, as this is your little bit of time with them.] 

This method, combined with the Flow of Abundance chart, and any professional cleaning services you may have, can help keep things a little more orderly, while building responsibility in children toward organization, cleanliness, cooperation, generosity, gratitude, and respect for belongings.

You can adjust the chart to fit your needs as your children grow through the years and the family’s household needs change.