GOAL: Teach kids about Work and Responsibility.
The ADVENTURE: Set-up a chore chart to teach kids about Work and Responsibility.
Involve everyone in creating the chore chart.
Be sure to recognize the feedback and opinions of each family member.
Praise your child. Children, like adults, want to feel needed and appreciated. Acknowledge their efforts by praising them while they’re working on the task, not just when they’re finished.
Set up a reward in advance. For example, when all of the chores have been done for one week we are going to ________.
As spring cleaning season approaches, you might be wondering how you can encourage your kids to help out around the house. A family chore chart is a great way to teach children responsibility and encourage them to pitch in with the household chores.
Children as young as two to three years old can start performing simple household chores, such as picking up their toys, with supervision. Beginning at age four or five, children can learn to use a family chore chart. Children’s maturity levels vary greatly, so adjust chores to meet each child’s individual needs.
Here are some age-appropriate personal and family chores for kids. Keep in mind that children can complete all the chores for the earlier age ranges, plus the new chores in each age range.
Making a chore chart is a great way to get things organized, and even make chores fun. There are hundreds of different ideas for creating a chore chart. Do a quick search online and find one that will work for your family. No matter which chore chart you choose, charts will need to include four columns:
1. Household chore with specific instructions. Instead of just saying “clean your room” (which is too vague and open to interpretation), list the individual tasks involved, such as "put clothes in the dresser or closet, put books on shelves, take dishes to the kitchen and put toys in the toy box." Include pictures of the chores (or your child performing them) to make the chore chart more engaging, particularly for younger kids.
2. The child responsible for completing the chore
4. Check when the chore is complete. For younger kids, stars or stickers are a fun way to indicate completed tasks.
Here are some additional suggestions to keep in mind when making a chore chart.
Make a list of the household chores that need to be done and have your kids choose the age-appropriate chores they want to do.
Start with two or three chores per day so you don't overwhelm them.
Post the chart in plain sight. Chore chart software is available if you want to go high-tech.
Ease into chores for kids. Show them step-by-step how to do each chore, then have them help you complete each task. Next, have them do the chore while you supervise. Finally, when they’ve mastered the chore, your kids are ready to tackle their household jobs on their own.
Be consistent. Insist that your kids complete their chores regularly. If you don’t, they may skip it and wait for someone else to pick up the slack.
DON'T insist on perfection. No one is perfect, so it’s better to take a more relaxed approach to avoid a struggle. If you jump in and do the chores for your kids so they are “just so,” you’re defeating the purpose.
Go easy on deadlines and reminders. You want your kids to learn to do the chores without you nagging them every step of the way. Instead use the “when then” approach: “When you put your books away, then you can go outside.”
Should you reward your kids for doing household chores?
Some parenting experts believe that rewards prevent kids from developing their own sense of responsibility and that even non-material rewards only control youngsters without achieving anything more than temporary obedience.
Many parenting experts agree that it’s usually a mistake to tie kids’ allowance to chores they are supposed to do anyway. Chores for kids are about responsibility and learning household tasks, not about money. Furthermore, younger kids may not appreciate money, so they may choose not to do the tasks.
One exception that most experts agree on is that older kids who already understand responsibility may be motivated by money to do extra chores above and beyond their usual assignments. In that case, consider having your kids bid for extra projects (such as washing the windows) and discuss what a fair value for the job is. This is another opportunity to teach your child the value of working hard and also helps them learn about finances and the connection between work and earning money.
Other parenting experts believe that rewards can help parents teach their kids new habits and that the key to successfully using rewards is in how the incentives are given, in setting appropriate, realistic goals and in figuring out a strategy to achieve them.
Ultimately, choosing whether to reward your kids for doing household chores is a personal decision you will have to make for yourself.
If you choose to use rewards, here are some suggestions on how to use rewards effectively:
Be very specific. Explain to your kids exactly what they need to do to earn a reward and when they will receive it. Will they earn a reward for every chore completed, or for completing a certain number of chores per week?
Make the rewards fairly immediate, and something that will be meaningful to the child. This could be different for each child. Younger kids need to be rewarded shortly after performing the chore, while older kids understand working toward longer-term rewards. Rewards can be small, and they don’t need to be material items. Consider rewarding them with highly desired activities (such as computer or phone time) or a special outing with Mom or Dad. Ask your children what reward they would like to receive for completing their chores. Using food as a reward may not be a good idea, particularly for a child who struggles with maintaining a healthy weight. Children need to learn that food is primarily for nutrition and fuel, not a reward.
Place a sticker on your chore chart to remind younger kids of their achievements. Even older kids may appreciate a visual reminder that they’ve earned a reward.
By implementing a chore chart, you can engage your kids in daily household chores, teach them responsibility and lighten your load so you can spend more time together doing fun family activities.
"It isn't Fair!"
Have you ever heard that from your kids. Here is a GREAT bonus tip we learned form one of our parents on the Parent Conversations discussion about handling kids' protests that it isn't fair:
One mother had each child choose an 'injury or illness' they had experienced in the past. One by one she called the kids to come to her and she asked them what their injury was. No matter what they told her their injury had been, she put a bandaid on their forehead.
❏ Cut on the leg? Bandaid on the forehead
❏ Broken arm? Bandaid on the forehead
❏ Skinned knees? Bandaid on the forehead
❏ Asthma attach? Bandaid on the forehead
❏ Sick to the stomach? Bandaid on the forehead
❏ Winter cold? Bandaid on the forehead
❏ No injury at all? Bandaid on the forehead
The kids quickly got the point that IDENTICAL TREATMENT does not equal FAIR. Kids are different, lives are different, injuries and experiences and needs are different, so in order to be FAIR, treatment must also be different. A bandaid on the forehead will only properly treat a cut on the forehead. All other injuries must be treated in their own way to be effective.
Community Engagement Adventure
Setting up a Chore Chart is definitely a home-based activity. However, there is no reason to not include a community connection to this one as well. After all, helping kids connect to their community is an important part of building resilience and increasing protective factors.
Include a few 'chores' around the neighborhood. It will teach them the importance and value of community service. A few ideas include:
Take the garbage to the street for an elderly neighbor
Read to an elderly neighbor
Take a weekly walk around the neighborhood and pick up any garbage
What ideas do you have?
by Work & Responsibility