Let’s talk a bit about kids and home responsibility, shall we? We all know that kids should be involved with chores and keeping the house in running order. But, the efforts to make that happen can sometimes be so overwhelming, it seems easier to just let the kids play and do the cleaning yourself!
Have you run into challenges while trying to establish a chore routine with your kids? If you are anything like me, you might cringe thinking about young kids cleaning a bathroom – you’ll surely have to clean it again when they are done, right? So, what’s the point?
I struggled with this for several years. My children are now 8, 7 and 4 years old. I’ve attempted chore routines over the years and they would go for a week or two and then fizzle out for a variety of reasons. Those reasons ranged from the kids not focusing on the chore at hand, whining that they didn’t know how, or fighting with each other because someone got something easy and someone else got something more difficult. Ugh! Why is this so hard?
I knew that my kids needed to learn responsibility. I knew that establishing a home responsibility system would benefit my kids (and me in the long run!) But, I just couldn’t figure out how. A weekly allowance hadn’t motivated my kids. I also knew that I wanted my kids to get better at more than just chores. I wanted them to minimize their fighting with each other. I wanted them to get better with general responsibility. I wanted my 8 year old to be neater when he eats…sometimes I feel like I live with a caveman! I wanted my 4 year old to get herself dressed without me begging.
Responsibility Charts for Each Child
First – I created a home responsibility chart for each child. I included items that I felt they needed to work on. If they do well with that item on a certain day, they get a “happy face”. If they don’t, they get a line. You can download my chart for FREE! Want to customize the responsibility list? Download my blank chart for FREE!
Second – The kids and I sat down and discussed the rewards they would earn. Each happy face is worth 1 point. Here’s the breakdown we settled on:
15 Points = 20 minutes Tablet Game Time
15 Points = $1.00
20 Points = New Educational Tablet Game
75 Points = New non-educational Tablet Game
100 Points = Ice cream out
125 Points = Grandparent Night
150 Points = Mommy/Daddy Night
Third – At the beginning of each week, we tally the happy faces (points) for the previous week. The kids have the choice to cash in points for the items they can afford and/or bank the points for the next week. It allows them to get immediate gratification or to save up for something bigger.
How I Handle Chores
I knew I needed a plan to discourage fighting between the kids about which chores they got to do. My kids all hate vacuuming and would fight over who didn’t have to do that chore.
Enter the CHORE BASKET! Hooray! Problem solved. Here’s how it works:
First – I sit down and make a housekeeping To-Do list. (wink, wink – download my to-do list here!)
Second – I choose an appropriate number of chores so each child gets the same number of chores. I write one chore on each piece of paper, fold ’em up, and drop them in a basket.
Third – The kids draw to see who gets what. Sometimes they laugh and smile. Sometimes they groan. But, they know it’s a fair system and they accept it.
Fourth – I also provide a posted list of quick chores. The kids know they are expected to do a quick chore each day. They are allowed to look at the list and choose their quick chore. My middle child actively seeks this out. We are still working on the other two! Download the list I use or a blank one you can customize!
Chores Require Coaching
I’ve learned that I need to invest some time in coaching my kids as they do various chores. They may not know how to do the best job right now. But, with the proper coaching, they will get better!
When planning the chores my kids will do, I think about what they did the last time. I alternate the chores so I complete them every other week. This helps with the fact that if a child doesn’t clean the bathroom quite to my standards, I know I will do the next round and make up for it. Does it mean that the bathroom isn’t spotless for one week? Yes, but it’ll do!
Our System is Working!
This system is working well for us. It brings a smile to my face to see my kids working diligently on their tasks. Do they get happy faces on their charts all the time? No. But, they can see the rewards they get for doing a good job. They understand that we are a team and need to work together. That teamwork is creating a happier home.
What do you do to teach your kids home responsibility?