At our house, I haven't been great about the kids and "chores" ... I mean the kids do help out, unloading the dishwasher, emptying the garbage, tending little brothers, etc. Although they moan and groan and say I make them do more work then any of their friends, I really don't think that is true. Throughout the years we've tried different approaches to try and address "jobs" and providing incentive for the kids to work without complaining. Personally, I remember the "Star Chart" when I was growing up, a big spiral of stars, with BIG stars every 10-20 spaces. When we were good, did jobs, etc, we would move our little colored push pin a star. When we reached a big star, we received a prize (worth about $1). The very center big star was worth more. The Star Chart was more of a summer thing, so that it didn't lose effectiveness, although we did have to do jobs year round.
As a mom, I've tried a few different approaches. I made a chart similar to the above mentioned one, but I used a little clipart sun instead of stars. Instead of a push pin, I laminated mini photos and attached magnets to the back. We kept the chart on the fridge and the kids would get to move to the next "sunny" when they did something good. There were little clouds that would cover up the suns if the kids complained (and then the cloud would have to be removed before the kids go forward again). That worked for a while.
I made up some "Blackham Bucks" that the kids would earn for doing jobs and good behavior. Then we had a little store at the end of the month where the kids could buy things with their "money". It worked out ok...
This summer, I decided to try again. Aimed mainly at the older three boys, I told them that I wanted them to do five THINGS each day. I asked that they do one or two "jobs", but the remaining items could be productive items that they normally might not do without a little prodding ... exercise (lifting weights, jogging or WiiFit), playing a card or board game (no... video games do NOT count), reading, writing in a journal ... At the end of the week, we would add up their daily activities and average them (actually, doing THAT would count as a job), and that would be their allowance. Five items a day would equal $5 a week.
So, as summer comes to a close, I have to say this system was pretty productive. Callahan was the most invested, followed by Keaton ... and lastly Landon, who wasn't very motivated by a measly $5 a week (the threat of me taking away the Xbox if he didn't do at least three a day was a little more effective). Some days the kids would get up and get all five things done before 10:00 am, other times I had to nag and they still didn't have their items by the end of the day.
As for recording and keeping track. I posted a white board in the kitchen with their names and five boxes, which I or the boys could write the items they would do and then check them off. Then at the end of the day, we recorded them on the blog (in our Daily Doings, at the bottom of the daily journal entry), so we would easily have access to them. The journal entries for Landon and Callahan are here on the blog as well (I love reading their postings, but while Callahan will write quite willingly, it's like pulling teeth to get Landon to do it. I required it from him once per week). I write the daily recap ...the kids can't say I'm asking them to do anything I'm not willing to do myself.
So, we're not stopping with summer, but will keep going as long as the kids keep it up. SCHOOL counts as one item, and homework and reading count too, so the boys really only have to do a couple other "jobs" to earn their allowance. I'm always interested in other incentives, so if you have something that works for you, share away!