Chore charts can be such a useful tool to keep tasks organized and give kids a visual representation of what they’re responsible for that day, but sometimes things work better in theory than they do in practice.
Courtney Maddox (@courtmaddox on Instagram) had success with chore charts, but the mom of four admitted that she was “picking the wrong battles” when it came to managing tasks, and that drained her “parenting capital.” Perhaps surprisingly, Maddox had a revelation about how to better dole out chores to her kids after reading a book for adults called The Dichotomy of Leadership.
The book introduced to her a concept called “Decentralized Command” that encourages team members to make their own decisions and take responsibility for their tasks, which promotes autonomy and accountability. Maddox adapted this for her family and came up with the idea of a rotating “Kitchen Leader”—a move she said “changed everything” in a viral reel.
“We used to use chore charts to rotate through the jobs that needed to be done. It worked pretty well, but I found myself using up all my parenting capital (picking the wrong battles) managing the chores,” Maddox explained in the reel’s caption. “After reading The Dichotomy of Leadership, the missing piece finally dawned on me: Decentralized Command. In other words, empowering them as mini leaders to plan and execute.”
“So NOW…they rotate being the ‘Kitchen Leader,’” she continued. “The Kitchen Leader gets to delegate all the jobs. They decide the level of involvement on each task for each person. And the buy-in has been night and day different.”
Maddox’s children are young, and this method is teaching them not only how to delegate jobs, but also how to be responsible for their own. “I’ve seen them learn to divide and conquer. I’ve seen them give themselves jobs, knowing if they don’t help, the next Leader may not either. I’ve seen them problem solve and strategize together,” she wrote before noting the best perk of all: “And I get to relax on the couch and watch them work as a team.”
This is a pretty brilliant alternative to chore charts, but one parent wasn’t a fan of Maddox saying she sat and relaxed while her kids cleaned the kitchen. “Curious if there’s a reason to sit and watch on your phone instead of participate?” he asked in a comment. “I would think the leader gets to assign jobs for the adults too?”
Maddox responded to the comment, giving a little more insight into her family’s nightly routine. “Good question! This is one of the areas we’ve decided to give them full responsibility in the household,” she explained. “I prepare the meals while my husband tends to our newborn, then we switch and he supervises the kitchen cleanup. It’s what works for us, but there are definitely other ways that could work!”
Like anything, this is something you could adapt to best fit your family. There are lots of different ways to get children involved with chores, but one thing’s for sure: they’re important to help shape your kid into a happy, healthy adult.