My family has been using our Kanban chore chart for a few weeks now. I thought it was time to give you all an update on how that is going. In general, I am still liking this method better than most chore charts we have tried. However, exactly how well it works, depends on which child we are discussing.
The oldest is 17 and doing wonderfully with this method of tracking tasks. While the chart started out as all written by me, the teen quickly realized that writing up goals and accomplishing them for themself was preferred. This kid has added to the chart extra chores they did, changes in school work, and even created their own reminders to take vitamins or medication. We’ve agreed on some flexibility with the scoring, too. Some tasks end up as “wild cards” that can be used in whatever way needed towards the end of the week goal. I’m feeling very good that this method is going to help my oldest when college starts in the fall.
The middle child is 12 and has generally had a few days at the start of the week of doing well with the process and checking things off followed by a few days of not doing much. End of the week, this child has been looking for ways to make up ground and still get their allowance. We’ve helped him create a path to get there. My husband has also been helping add things he can do with this child on Saturdays to make up ground. This has resulted in our 12-year-old mowing the grass some. A chore we’ve given double or triple points for as it is bigger than a normal chore.
We’ve also helped him pair some tasks on the board, so he sees that he can quickly get 2 chores done together for another “double score.” Seeing that even if you aren’t where you want to be on Friday, but still finding a way to get where you have to be, has been value-added for him. Plus, he is doing more around the house now, than he was before the chart.
My youngest child is 10 and, prior to this, was generally the most helpful child. This child has taken offense with the new system and isn’t participating very well. She even told us we could keep her allowance. I’m not forcing it. What I am trying to do instead, is to create post-it notes of what she has done and put them in the Done category. This way, she gets credit for all the chores and school work she does already.
This is also the child who wanted to know where my kanban board is. I don’t have one. I do think that having the kids working on so many different tasks has helped me to find more time to clean different things that I didn’t have time for before. If I want her to engage better, I may need to go the next step and have a board for myself and my husband. Just to help her see that this is a fair system. At 10, her sense of justice and personal autonomy is intense, so I’m not going to force this. I know that if we all keep doing this, it will no longer be as offensive to her. Eventually.
There are some other things I have learned. Our DONE category is a rectangle that is about 12″ x 18″. It holds about the number of post-it notes each child should get in a week to get their allowance. That was just by luck for us. But if you are planning on making one, this size works great. Kids can easily see if their Done section is full, or not. Actually getting allowance requires a count, but I like the easy way to tell who is close and who isn’t. If you use 3″ square post-it notes, calculating how big the space needs to be to hold 30 of them, it is fairly straight forward. The tricky part is remembering to allow room for the tape lines in your calculations.
Regular Post-It notes don’t stick to the wall well. You really have to get the super sticky ones. The hippy part of my soul hates how many post-it notes we are going through per week, but making everything reusable is going to be a lot of work. Long term, a set of cards on magnets on a magnetic board seems much less wasteful. But that would also lose the ease of creating new tasks each day. Once this is well established, we may realize we really do need a pretty fixed set of cards, and be able to create that.
Overall, I am still a fan of our kanban chore chart. I ‘m going to keep using it and work on making it work for all of us.
About the Author
Laura Sowdon, OTR/L is an occupational therapist, writer, speaker, educator and creator of the Five Senses Literature Lessons homeschool curriculum. She has worked as an occupational therapist with children in public and private schools, as well as private practice. Laura has taught and managed homeschool co-ops as well as homeschooling her own three children. Laura is dedicated to the idea of educating children at a pace that aligns with brain and physical development milestones and respects neurodiversity in all its forms.