Getting the kids to not only do their chores but to take responsibility for remembering their chores and taking initiative to go above and beyond is a big task. Chore Cards has been one of the most successful systems that I have used and for a few reasons.
I have two card systems one for the child who just needs a check list they already know their jobs, do them without reminding. The cards are really there for back up on those bad days when habits just fly out the window! For these children I have one card for each chore session in our home. (Morning Chores, Lunchtime chores, 5.00pm Chores).
The second system is for the child in training. They need reminding that it is chore time, what their chores are, and sometimes how to do the chore. For these children I have each chore on a separate card. For those who cant read I use clip art. A friend of mine has used photographs of the child working that particular chore and that has worked well too.
At the beginning of each chore time I place the cards face up; in line according to their age, and if there is more than one card they go down under each other (like a column)
The idea is that the child goes to their card (if they need to) instead of coming to Me for every job. This teaches them not only to follow a system but gives them a sense of ownership of their tasks. A good thing!
When they have completed their task they turn the card over face down. The older ones wouldnt do this until their whole list is completed but the younger ones do it job by job. This achieves two things. One, there is a physical reminder that they are achieving and getting their chores done. The second benefit is that at a glance I can see how each child is doing. I can then without confrontation go and check up on someone if I feel they are dragging the chain a bit and either encourage or do a spot of training.
Another friend of mine puts well done type stickers on the back of the cards so that when they are turned over there is an automatic encouragement for them too!
I also have an extra card for each child. I write on this card whenever there is an extra chore that needs to be done. The older two often get an extra chore to help me in the morning chore session. They have to tick this off before they turn the card over, as the card will be used for listing extra chores until the card is full.
I find this system very flexible. If we have a rushed day, I can take one of the younger childrens chores and ask the older to do it for the day and the younger child still has a system and is not confused by change. I can add or make changes to their chores without fuss.
Once my younger children are responsible for the basic household chores we will rotate, maybe on a monthly basis. We dont rotate now because I find that they need an extended period of time to work on one skill. I also use the idea of rotation (and therefore not having to do the Kitchen, for example, every morning!) as a reward for gaining the skill. The skill requires not only having to do the chore, but it has to be done in a reasonable amount of time, without reminders and it has to be done well the first time.
I have found having set chore times in our daily schedule has also been a big factor in the children taking ownership of their responsibilities. Once they take ownership of their responsibilities they can start to be trained in taking initiative and in going the extra mile.
The best story I have to illustrate the value of training our children in household responsibilities is the day I stopped our Saturday Homeblessing early and raced into town. Wed done the basics but I had warned the kids that we might have to do a little more around 4.30pm that day just to finish off. When I got home I felt there were things different about the place but I couldnt quite tell. I asked the kids what they had been doing while I was away and they giggled that they had done nothing! I was then convinced that things were different and I started to look deeper.
They had vacuumed/swept the whole house (a mammoth task!), they had dusted, polished the kitchen sink, done 2 loads of washing and hung it to dry, cleaned the bathtub/shower walls. I was amazed. They had worked together and this blessing for me, and even found a chore that DM could do so he could feel involved. They saw what needed to be done and organised themselves to do it efficiently. They had gone above and beyond their responsibilities they had excelled. I was blown away.