I am a big believer in family systems and in instilling a culture of helpfulness within the family. I am also a full-time working mom with 12,000 weekly to-do’s who is tired of asking her children to do the same task over and over and ultimately exploding in a before-school fit of rage each day. Enter: the responsibilities chart.
My kids are 10, 7, and 4. My oldest is naturally helpful but also naturally forgetful. My middle guy is a master negotiator, often finding another sibling to complete his job for him. My baby girl is not afraid to bat her eyelashes and tell me how she “loves [me] with a thousand hearts” to get out of a task. I love them all more than I could ever even begin to share, but I am so tired. Reminding them to brush their teeth, pick up their laundry, and go to bed without fuss every single day is simply exhausting. So I created these very basic daily responsibilities charts for my children. In my dream world, my kids will refer to this list of very basic tasks before they ask me for something, especially for screen time.
Our family is a low-tech family, meaning until just recently our kids have had very little access to small screens. They never use our phones, and we have one family tablet that has strict rules. This is our family philosophy, and it works for us. However, as the kids have gotten older (and living in a post-pandemic world), screens have become more of a social necessity. They now have Chromebooks for school and were recently gifted a Nintendo, so screen time has become currency in our home. In our home, if you’d like to play video games or watch TV, you need to take care of your daily responsibilities first.
Maybe by fostering this kind of responsibility I’ll end up with kids who head off into the world with their basic caretaking mastered AND a healthy relationship with screens for pleasure. Wouldn’t that be the dream?
You can download printable responsibilities sheets here. If you’d like to customize, you can do so by uploading the PDF into Google Slides or another editor like Canva if you have access to it. Or, simply print and fill in by hand!