In an earlier post, I talked about the value of chores. Yeah, they build self-esteem, make children feel like they are contributing to the family, yada, yada, yada. The big question is how do we get them to actually do them?
Let me be honest with you, I personally am not a fan of charts, stickers, and the like. Before all of you who are fans start getting riled up, let me clarify. You see I really like making charts. Cutting and pasting clip art and the like. I really enjoy it. But, I personally find it VERY difficult to stick incentive programs. We tried it with potty training. Didn't work. We've tried it with chores. It worked...when I stuck with it. Those of you who can stick with incentive programs, stickers and the like my hats off to you. I could use your tips on how you make it work :)
I've made the new ones a little differently than past charts. These are more like "to do" lists...saying that out loud, I should have titled them as such. I've broken down their "to dos" into morning, afternoon (after school) and evening. I have found that my kids are highly motivated by "snacks" so we've decided (with the kids) that in order to get an afternoon snack, they first have to do their chores. It has worked so far!
Because Thing Two is in kindergarten and is not yet reading, we've put pictures on her chore chart as easy to read visual cues. We've personalized each chart to reflect their age. Think One wanted cursive (I'm guessing because he is learning it in third grade). Thing Two wanted something that looked more like her emerging print. I inserted a photo of each on their chart.
There is nothing new or unexpected on their charts. The kids had input on their chores. They actually argued over who got to feed the dogs! And because I sometimes run low on energy, the kids have an opportunity to help me refuel by doing any of the "extra" chores around the house which are listed on a separate chart. I don't know about you, but I sure have more energy to do fun stuff when my chores are done. They can also do the extra chores as a way to some money. We do 25 cents for each extra chore.
We don't pay for the kids to do their regular chores, but we do pay for the extras. I was floored to see how excited my daughter got when I bought one of those toilet brushes with the disposable heads. She absolutely wants to be the one to clean the toilets (huh?), so we went out and bought her a little pair of rubber cleaning gloves.
We had the chart laminated at the local office supply store (only about $2) and purchased some magnetic strips so we could hang them on the frig. We already have a dry erase pen that hangs on the frig that they can use to check off their to dos each day.
If I knew how, I would make the chore charts I made into pdf files that you could download if interested in trying them with your own kids. But seeing as I am not that computer savvy, you will have to e-mail me at email@example.com and I can send them to you as an attachment.
We're going to give this new system a try. I may need you guys to keep me on track. I'm going to try to report on our progress with this newest system in about a month. I'm optimistic that I can stick with it this time. This system is pretty easy and doesn't require much on my part. I'm hoping the charts can serve as more of a visual reminder for the kids since the auditory reminders (ie, my nagging voice) have not proved consistently effective.
Do your kids do chores and if so, how do you keep them on track? What tips do you have for me and others who struggle with chores? Share your stories people! Next time we will talk about the debate over whether to pay kids to do their chores. Until next time!