Today, I start a series of posts, inspired by none other than… my children. We’re highlighting ways kids can help around the house and be happy about it. *gasp* I know. I know. When are kids EVER happy about cleaning?
Although, it’s a tough subject among the Moms I’ve talked to, we all agree kids, these days, don’t have the chores we did as children. They’re much too involved digitally, that it’s hard to unplug. Throughout the year, I’ll be highlighting chores for kids, how we, as parents, can encourage and teach them responsibility in cleanliness, and instill a work ethic to help them later in life. Oh. And how Moms can save their sanity through it all. First up? The set up. You’ve GOT to have a plan. What chores will they be doing? How do you track their progress? The reward system, how do you get them to do chores and stick with it?
How do you get kids to do more chores? You want their help, but you don’t want to waste half your energy and sanity to do it. My husband and I came up with a plan for our older two children who are ages 7 and 8 1/2.
What do your kids love to do the most? What are THEY doing when you ask them to clean their room? What is the ONE thing that will produce withdrawals if they don’t have? Identify their favorite thing to do.
Our children were born and raised in a digital nation, therefore, these are their favorite things to do:
It’s the Wii. It’s the Nintendo DS. It’s the TV. It’s the computer, the iPod, the Internet, the streaming Netflix. If it’s digital, it’s their favorite. I’m okay with playing games, discovering new iPhone Apps, listening to Pandora. Heck, I do it too, but when it directly affects their ability and attitude towards the mechanics of this household? Well, there’s a problem.
If I took these away all together or made them work for them, I see it could be a good change in the dynamics of our household.
Okay, so we’ve identified what we want our kids to work for. I want them to help around the house. In turn, they’ll receive time to do the things they love. I’m assigning each chore with a time increment. They have chores to exchange for 30 minutes of time and chores to exchange for 10 minutes of time.
We keep track using tokens:
Red tokens give my child 30 minutes of “Electronic Time”. They can cash them in all at once for a long, zoned out, experience, or they can cash them out for small spurts of digital boost. It’s really up to them. They’ve figured out if they try to cash them all in one day, it leaves them no time to do more chores, to earn more tokens, for the next day.
Time management people. They’re learning time management! Hallelujah! Old poker chips would work, however, we didn’t have any. So, we bought a cheap Connect Four game at the Dollar Store. It cost us $3.00 and we ended up with 42 chips to exchange for chores.
Have you decided what chores they’ll be doing? Are they age appropriate? How do they know which chores are theirs and if they’ve completed them?
We use a dry erase board:
One tidbit of advice.. don’t make it fancy.
You really don’t need fun stickers, bright markers, fancy ribbon (Oh my gosh I talked to a Mom who went all out making her chore with ribbon, feathers, blah, blah, blah). It’s a CHORE chart, not an art exhibit.
The kids need a centralized place to see the chores they need to do, gauge their time for the day to do them, and see how they progress along the way. That’s it. It’s really that simple. I’ve also talked to Moms who have printed chores on paper. I don’t see anything wrong with that if you have the ability to change it up on a daily basis.
My kids get bored with the same chores EVERY SINGLE day. Yes, there are a few repetitive chores such as: Clean Room, Make Bed, Do Homework. These, however, are a given. I don’t assign the same things every day. Gotta keep it fresh.
At the end of the week, I’ve found there are no longer any fights over the Wii, the kids are learning chores I didn’t even know they could do, and I feel like someone is actually on my side for once. I’m not the maid walking around begging for someone to help her.
Next week, we’ll talk more about what chores are age appropriate and how to make it fun!
What say you? Do your kids do chores at home? Do you have a reward system in place you’d like to share?
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