Wouldn’t it be great to live in a perfect world? The sun always shining, our football team always winning, constant supply of chocolate, pay-rise every other week, a mother-in-law who loves us, kids doing all their chores without being asked!!!……I know you were with me with the sun, the football, and the mother-in-law, but I know I lost you on the kids and their chores thing. It’s just too way-out a concept isn’t it? Too unrealistic…or is it? Many parents who are using chore charts for kids might tell you differently.
The first thing we should ask is why should we expect our kids to do their chores? Some reasons might be:
- Doing their “bit” to contribute to the running of the home.
- Taking care of their own responsibilities.
- Practicing something that will hold them in good stead throughout life.
- Making my household tasks easier.
- Learning the importance of structured tasks and being ordered.
OK, so kids doing their chores is important…but how do we get it to happen without the nagging, SHOUTING or threatening. In fact you might already employ discipline strategies that effectively get your kids doing their chores…Well done. We will discuss some of these strategies in further posts, but for now I’d like to talk about chore charts for kids.
Like reward charts, chore charts for kids can be a great tool for focusing behavior to reach certain outcomes. It’s a visual representation of what your child needs to achieve and can help kids to organize themselves to get what needs to be done, done.
The number one, most important thing when using chore charts for kids is to get them ON-BOARD! If they are not with the program, you will have the same battles as always. How do I do this I hear you ask… get your kids involved in the whole process of setting up a chore chart, from making it, to figuring out what chores need doing, to what the consequences will be if the chores aren’t done. You know your kids best, use what works to get them involved in a positive way. The true success of chore charts for kids depends on their willingness to be involved with using one.
Some ways to make it easier to start using chore charts for kids might be:
- Set the bar low to start with, start off with a few chores and add to it – don’t overwhelm them.
- Offer a reward when a chore chart is completed – doesn’t have to be material rewards, it could be a special activity with Mom etc.
- Give your kids lots of meaningful praise.
- Give them constant positive encouragement (without nagging).
- Let them know how much you appreciate their efforts and for helping you out.
Once a chore chart is effectively up-and-running, kids are more likely to see the benefits for themselves. Packing away their toys might mean that it’s easier to find a favorite toy next time, or if they help prepare the dinner table they might have more influence over what’s for dinner. Doing their homework early might mean more playtime later, or putting their dirty clothes in the wash basket means clean, nice smelling clothes to wear next time. They might simply like the fact that having an organized list of chores to follow leads to the satisfaction of necessary things getting done.
What have you got to lose? Try using chore charts for kids and see if they work. Get your kids involved, don’t overwhelm them, be consistent in your expectations and you might be surprised at the results.