Answer: Well, our basic theory on chores is that we are a family, we share a home, therefore we all need to work together to make this home run smoothly, while remaining at least slightly on this side of chaos. We want our kids to learn responsibility, and helpfulness.... but I don't want to be a dictator, and have little soldiers for kids. I'm finding that it is pretty easy to fall into mean military Mom mode. I'm working very hard to find the balance between having routines and expectations, while still having a happy, relaxing, safe harbor home. I think that the key to this is for the kids to all know what is expected of them, and when it is expected of them. In come our chore charts. On our refrigerator are 6 chore charts, 1 for each child in school. They are laminated. When they complete a task they mark it off with an Expo marker (conveniently located in a magnetic pen holder on the side of the fridge). I wipe off the charts each night. Right now, we are all getting used to the charts, so no consequences for missing jobs, they just get a reminder for now.
Here is our fridge:
Here is Nathan's chart up close (click on it to make it bigger):
Everybody pitches in after each meal to get the kitchen and table cleaned off. Even the littlest ones help by wiping off the chairs. Everybody pitches in cleaning on the weekends as well. I just take a look at what needs to be done and divvy up the chores. In the past, I've tried to chart specific chores for each child. That just doesn't work for me very well, because one person's job is always the toilet. That's not fair. Then we tried alternating weekends. That didn't work, either. Either we forgot what weekend it was, or someone wasn't home to do there's, or we were too busy one weekend. 'Clean Sweep' is making a loop through the house, picking up anything that belongs to you, or you got out. It's not all that detailed or all inclusive, but for us, Keep It Simple Stupid works out really well.
So, I think that's it in a nutshell. It's been working pretty well. So far, so good! Thanks, Angela, for the question!