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Parenting isn’t an easy job and it only becomes more complicated as our kids grow. One of the greatest struggles is getting children to help out around the house. They contribute to the mess, so it makes sense that they help clean it up. But how can we make our kids do their chores without the fighting and hassle?
Although it would be nice for our children to do their chores without a fight, most parents face a struggle with their children. To get your kids to work, you need to incentivize them in some way. You wouldn’t work for your boss for free, would you? The same goes for your kids. Incentives can be in the form of uninterrupted video game time, trips, or cash. This method also teaches kids that working hard is rewarded, which sets them up in the long term to work hard in everything they do.
Even with the incentives, it can be difficult to get your kids to work. When parents push their kids and force them to do chores, they are more likely to get resistance. Instead, leave the choice to your kids. I know, it sounds crazy, but giving them the choice of their chores, knowing what the reward will be, will motivate them to go after what they want and prioritize based on the risks and cost. The best way to do this is through a chore calendar.
DIY Chore Calendar
What you’ll need:
Poster Board (optional: whiteboard)
Pad of Sticky Notes
Markers or Pens (optional: wooden lettering)
Jars or Boxes
- Using markers or pens create a grid of 5 boxes down and 7 boxes across. Moving across, label the columns with the days of the week. The will be the calendar and should be hung up somewhere your children will be able to see it frequently, such as the kitchen or living room.
*Another option is to use a white board with vinyl tape to section off the days of the month and wooden letters for the title and days of the week for a more permanent board that will last for years.
- On the sticky notes, write the date the chore needs to be performed, the chore that needs to be done, and the reward for completing the chore.
For example: August 1, 2016
August 1, 2016
Load and run the dishwasher
Note: The harder the chore, the better the reward.
- Place the sticky notes on the calendar on the appropriate date.
- Label the jars or boxes with each child’s name and one jar or box “PARENT”. For each chore your child completes, they place it in the jar for the parent to check and get credit for. Note: Any chores that are left on the board at the end of the day go in the parent jar. Rewards are then subtracted from your kid’s earnings for each chore left behind.
- When issuing rewards, be consistent. If you are using money as a reward, give them a payday, just like a paycheck. If you are rewarding them in other ways, have a definite date they receive payment and stick to it! If you lapse in payment or leave uncertainty, your kids won’t trust or stick to the system.
The chore calendar helps you monitor your kid’s achievements, as well as note their inability to follow through. With the calendar, you can show your kids exactly what they do and don’t do and the visual of it all can be enough to motivate them to do better.
At what age do you think children should start chores?
Krystle Cook – the creator of Home Jobs by MOM – put her psychology degree on a shelf and dived into a pile of diapers and dishes instead. She is a wife and mother to two rambunctious boys, sweating it out in her Texas hometown. She loves cooking, DIY home projects, and family fun activities.