Last week, I shared the beginning stages of our token system for chores. As a sheer reminder, we give our kids tokens for each chore they have on their list. They, then, redeem these tokens for either 10 or 30 minutes of “electronic zoning out” also known as, Wii Games, iPod play, Nintendo DS, Computer time, and even TV. My husband and I felt like this digital era was warping our children into gadget junkies and we had to get a hold on it…. fast.
So, this week, I don’t want to talk about how to set a system or even what system works for you, but I, merely, want to discuss how to make chores fun for kids. My 3-yr-old is left out and quite frankly, that sucks. He needs incentive to help too, but tokens just aren’t for him. How can I make it fun to clean?
I have a 3-yr-old. He’s witty. He’s self reliant. He’s strong willed. He’s also a video game junkie. I know. I know. It’s horrible for me to type that out. In fact, it’s so horrible that I want to check myself into a Parenting For Dummies course because no 3-yr-old should be addicted to video games. In my defense, he’ll be 4 next month. That’s GOT to redeem my parenting reputation a little. Right?
All kidding aside, yes my son loves him some Wii. Rightfully so, due to being raised in a Wii household. That’s how we watch most of our TV (streaming Netflix) and that’s where his brother spends his free time. So, pulling this child away from the video games is a chore in itself. In fact it should be on my list of chores:
1. Two loads of laundry
2. Wash Dishes
3. Walk the Dog
4. Force Rudy to release his death grip from the Wii remote
Asking my son to pick up around this house while he’s on the Wii is like asking me to sit through a Rob Reiner movie. It’s just not gonna happen. So, I’ve come up with a few ways to make it fun for him and maybe you can use them too.
1. Play Go Fish With Clean Socks: This one is new to me, but it’s essential to my children before they have an uprising over the sock chore. You see, I don’t pair socks. It’s time consuming it takes a million years and guess what? I have about a million more loads of laundry to wash, dry, fold, and put away. So, it’s their chore to pair socks. Playing Go Fish with socks seems like so much fun. I learned it at Scholastic Parents.
Divide the socks among the players, leaving a pile to draw from. Each player, in turn, holds up a sock and asks another player if he has the mate. If not, the asking player must take a sock from the top of the draw pile. When finished, the player with the most pairs wins.
2. Turn Socks Into Dust Mitts: I also learned this at the Scholastic website. Turn any socks that stay single into child-friendly dust mitts. Insert child’s hand into clean but dampened sock and use it to remove dust from houseplants and furniture. This is a sock-chore-prayer answered. Really. You have no idea.
3. Buy a Kids Laundry Hamper: I haven’t done this yet. It’s next on my list because my designated place just isn’t cuttin’ it anymore. Our friends at JoJo Designs have an array of hampers to choose from. My personal favorite? The Zebra print for girls:
|Visit www.beyond-bedding.com to find more kids hampers.|
4. Play Music: This one’s mine. All mine. I’m a Pandora addict, but then again so is my daughter. You can create stations tailored to your personality or your child’s. She types in Demi Lovato and BAM! She’s got all her favorite tunes. We have Pandora on our TV (thanks to Roku), our iPod, iPhones, and computer. Set a timer of 20-30 minutes then let another child pick their favorite artist or staion. Omgosh. Our electronic obsession is bad. It’s bad.
5. Create a Cleaning Kit: My friend told me about this one. Create a caddy full of child friendly cleaning supplies including bright colored sponges, dust mitts, a bitty apron, cleaning brush, and decorate it with stickers. When it’s time to clean, simply say, “Let’s go get our cleaning caddy!”
6. Take a Break: I had a friend tell me that she’s worried her kids aren’t being kids. They learned to do chores at a very young age and as they grew, the chore list got longer and the expectations were then higher. She feels all they do on their off time is clean. They don’t get “tokens”. They don’t get allowance. They don’t get an incentive at all except the satisfaction of having a clean house, a pride I hope to build in my children. I’ll give her this much… she has a VERY clean house. That being said, I vowed to keep it balanced. I want my kids to enjoy being a kid… watch TV, play video games, go outside, play a board game. When you think they’ve done their part, give them a break. Maybe include a break with warm chocolate chip cookies, milk, and your presence alongside them.
What say you? Do you have any tips on making chores fun? If so, I’d love to feature you in next week’s post!
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