We have had a chore chart hanging on the fridge for as long as I can remember; the kids have done chores as long as I can remember. My theory is if they can tip a container of toys out on the floor, they can help clean it up! So here is how we roll when if comes to a chore chart round these parts! As in other posts, this is what works for us.
The chore chart should be in a place where it is easily seen. The best place: on the fridge. If you can, use some colour and laminate it so that it keeps.
2. Chores are there to keep order in the house, not just to help mum!
If children grow up being told “do this to help mum” they will see their mum as the primary job doer which, even though the household chores will primarily fall on mum’s shoulders, it does not breed any family/social responsibility in the children. If your children learn that doing jobs is part of belonging to a family and household, they will begin to feel some self-worth and pride in what they are contributing to the family environment. Emilie Barnes has a great book that deals with kids, manners and social responsibility – if you can get your hands on it, read it, it’s worth it!
3. Start at a very young age.
If children can make the mess, they are old enough to clean it up! There are countless books and websites that contain list after list of age-appropriate jobs – but I really do think that you need to have a chore chart that is suited to YOUR family and circumstance. For me, as soon as the children were able to follow a few instructions they emptied the cutlery tray from the dishwasher, carried their washing to their room, helped set the table and tidied their playroom and bedroom.
4. Make a plan, and stick to it.
To introduce a chore chart, you need an ample serving of good ol’ consistency to make it work. Plan to have one time in the day for chores and stick to it. We do chores at about 5ish in our house and no one is finished until every one is done. We all help!
5. No pocket money for everyday chores!
There are families who reward their children with small amounts (or obscene amounts) of money to complete their chores each day. Not in this house. My kids want for nothing, and as I tell them – I don’t get paid to wash their clothes, make their lunch or dinner etc., so neither should they (mean I know – but hey – its real life!) Some people say that giving children pocket money teaches finance skills. I don’t think so. No matter whether your children get pocket money for chores, you will always have one child who saves, one who spends it all and the child who doesn’t really care about money at all. Contributing to a household by way of doing chores (IMHO) should not be monetarily rewarded. We always thank our children for doing their chores. There are times when they are given pocket money for big jobs like helping to clean a car, but these occasions are rare. If your child at six is getting 50c per chore, what will they be getting or expecting when they are sixteen?
6. Don’t criticise the finished product, they are not adults!
Kids will not complete a job to your standard. They will not make their bed with hospital corners or stack the dishes in the cupboard according to size and shape, as you would like. That is ok, don’t criticise them. As they get older, you can expect more! I always help the kids with whatever they are doing for the day and a bit of teaching as we work side by side to complete a job goes a long way!
7. Be flexible!
I know – what about point 4? What I mean by this point is, if there is something else planned for the day and it is much more exciting than chores (birthdays, outings..), go with it! As with any housework, it will keep! In addition, do not expect your kids to do chores when other people are visiting. So. Not. Cool.
Do you have a chore chart? Does it work well?