The Responsibility Chart

I had a reader recently request more info on something I mentioned in a previous post- the Responsibility Chart we use with our son.

I was headed out to get the materials to make some sort of chart to help reinforce some of the things we were trying to teach my son to do (or not do in some cases!) on a very basic level, when I stumbled upon a customizable chart that was magnetic and ready to go for just $10 at Target.  I just searched their website, and while I don't see the exact same item, I did find something similar but it's a bit pricier.  You could, as I'd planned to, just make your own too.

Anyway, the chart we have (made by Target's kiddo brand Circo) has a column for each week and a row for each responsibility.  It has some pre-printed responsibilities like "share" "be nice" "no hitting" "clean up toys" "set table" "say please and thank you" and it also has several blank magnets that you can write any responsibility you feel is necessary on.  The chart also comes with circular reward magnets to denote which responsibility was accomplished in the given day.  Finally, there is also a big reward magnet that can be used if a responsibility was met every day that week.  The key in using the chart of course, is the implementation.

For our little guy, who was barely three when we started using the chart, we simply explained this new chart would help him make good choices and he could earn rewards for making good choices.  We told him each responsibility he had (we've adjusted them several times to fit changing stages/difficult areas/maturation since) and how if he filled a day's column he could either have a (fun-sized) candy from the candy bucket OR a quarter for his piggy bank.  We go through the responsibilities nightly before bed and put up the magnets as appropriate.  (If he chose candy as a reward, a rarity, he would get it the following day, because candy for bed? Ha! Yeah, right!  Mama's not cray-zay!)  During the day, we often remind him things like "remember to say please and thank you at Gigi's house, I will ask her about your manners and you can earn your magnet!" or "Keegan, if you don't clean up your dinosaurs before bed, you won't get your clean up magnet tonight, so you know."

The key with the chart's success (as with ANYTHING in parenting it seems) is CONSISTENCY.  If we skip a few nights on the magnets, it loses it's "power".  We had to stick with it.  Also, we have to be realistic.  A warning in an area doesn't lose a magnet usually, but anything beyond a warning (for say, "not talking back") means the loss of a reward magnet that day.  (Moreover, a failure to have earned I suppose.)

We've found the responsibility chart to be a very valuable, effective and positive discipline tool and I'd highly recommend it to parents of young children.  My guess is that it would work well with children ages 2-8.  Let me know if you have any questions.  Thanks for reading!


  1. We have one too - it's such a great thing to bring up to Gracie during the day. We don't even give rewards, just the magnet and that's working for now! But, we just started it a few weeks ago.

  2. AWESOME!!! Thank you for sharing!!!


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