Things You’ll Need:
- A written list displayed prominently
- A system of reward and penalty
What we’ve begun doing is a “chores list”, where everything is written down and the girls know exactly what each chore will win them. We chose to give them time on the Wii, television or the computer. You can give them a sliding allowance or whatever best fits your family needs.
The first thing we did was gather together the adults and discuss the plan of action. How to keep track of the chores the children get done fairly, what to give as the reward, what to do if a child cheats on the tally.
Of course, these all depend on your family dynamic and what you are expecting to teach the child, but be sure to keep the chores age appropriate. Expecting a two year old to do a perfect job is only going to lead to disappointment on both sides. You know what your child is capable of. Set the expectations to the child’s abilities.
Next we sat down with the children and discussed the idea of a chores list with them. We included their input when making a list of chores and what they would be worth. In our case, time earned varies from 5 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the chores. Its important that the kids help make out the list, helping to decide what the chores should be and how much each chore is worth. That way they feel like they have a voice in how the home is run.
Because mornings can be a frantic horror show if the child can’t find something, we’ve added chores like being sure their coats, book-bags and shoes are properly put away. We’ve also made a few mandatory chores like do homework, straighten their room, take out the day’s garbage and make sure the animals have enough food and water high priority. These get high return for the kids and are the only mandatory daily chores.
The kids asked for extra-curricular chores as well in case they want more time to do the things they enjoy, so we added things like unloading the dish-washer, folding the laundry for a few extra minutes and some other things the kids offered up. We also agreed to give 15 minutes for every half hour of reading.
Once the list is made, display it where they can refer to it. Because the chores have various points, we decided to use a dry erase board in the kitchen and add a check to the child’s name for each completed task.
Tips & Warnings
- Children are much more likely to do what is expected of them if they have a voice in the rules. Don’t under estimate them.
- Choose three or four mandatory chores that they have to accomplish every day. Let the rest be their choice, and praise them often.
- Its a good idea to set a time limit to the chores and check often, reminding them to stay on task. To many warnings, though, must result in a penalty where they loose minutes.
- Positive re-enforcement is key. And so is consistency.
- Remember, don’t overload them.