Sometimes as parents we expect a chore chart to solve all of the untidy tendencies in our homes. Even the best chore chart won't be a success if some other principles are not observed. These tips can help you make any chore chart a success.
1. Be reasonable in your expectations.
Research what chores your child may be capable of handling. Sometimes a chore is beyond a child’s ability level and sometimes a slight modification can help a child achieve success. Check out the appropriate list of jobs by age to include on your chore charts. If you want to teach your children to hang their clothes in their closets, make sure the clothing rod does not need to be lowered to a more appropriate level. If you want the beds made neatly every day, keep in mind that for young children, maneuvering a top sheet, duvet, quilt, and pillows can turn into a very big job. You may need to streamline or modify things in your home to make them more accessible to your children.
2. Be an example.
If your children consistently see the grownups slacking off with their chores, chances are they will learn to do the same. Consider making a specific time of the day when most of the chores are performed. Everyone working together is much more motivating than someone slaving away while enviously listening to others laughing and playing.
3. Involve the kids in the process of selecting a chart.
The more children feel they are involved in making decisions, the more they will feel ownership of those responsibilities. Consider holding a family council before implementing a new chore chart system. Allow some decisions to be made by the kids.
4. Consider your rewards.
Are you going to make chores a requirement for an allowance? Are you going to allow chores to be done in exchange for other privileges? Is a sticker system the best fit for your family? Determine what reward system would best work with your family. Don’t forget to gently stress the obvious rewards of having a clean and organized home.
5. Make chore charts visual.
Many children need a visual prop to help them completely understand new ideas. Making a chore chart or system visual can help them stay focused. Consider if people in your family have other learning tendencies. For example, if you have a child who really needs to hear to understand. Consider reading the chores aloud to them. People who are tactile and kinetic learners may need to be able to physical cross off items on a list, or move completed cards from their flower pot, etc.
6. Have consequences without being harsh.
If your children fail to complete their chores there have to be consequences. Sometimes the consequences are a natural occurrence. For example, if your son always wears his favorite shirt on Fridays, but failed to collect all the laundry from his room, he’ll probably end up wearing a different shirt. Other times you may have to take away rewards, or other activities that are enjoyable. Don’t forget that many times we have extenuating circumstances that keeps us from performing a job well. Sometimes offering to help a child who has fallen behind can get them caught up without completely letting them off the hook.
7. Get organized before you expect everyone else too.
If your home is in such disarray that nothing has its own place, it is very impractical to expect a child to put everything where it belongs. If your home and your systems of organization are a mess, chores will be a losing battle. First, set up your home in a way that makes it possible for the family to complete chores. Try these beginning organizational articles for help in getting started.
8. Make sure there are breaks.
All work and no play…well you know. Allow the kids to break up long chores. Surprise them by including fun activities in their chore charts. Slipping in a request for a swimming party among the regular chores can be very surprising and encourage children to actively check the charts.
9. Keep it interesting.
Don’t feel locked into one system. If your kids get bored consider changing up the routine, the visuals, or possibly the rewards.
Keeping an eye out for what is and is not getting done can help you determine what you can do to make the chore chart system more successful. Setting up chore charts does not mean that the adult’s responsibility for delegated chores is completely gone. Like any good supervisor, parent’s must instead help make sure that the system is going smoothly. Due Date before dinner than before bed.
11. Train your workers.
Most jobs require a training period and for many kids this can be helpful in a chore system. Parents often have expectations of how a job will be performed that can be different than their children’s. Teaching a child the process of a chore and what you expect from the finished result can go a long way in ensuring success. Consider writing a short cleaning guide for certain chores or steps involved. Check out the fifteen minute cleanups for ideas.
12. Include homework and mandatory activities.
Don’t forget that kids have other obligations besides chores. Make sure there is plenty of time for homework and other mandatory activities. If you see that a child is struggling under the weight of all they have to do, consider removing some responsibilities or activities to relieve the burden.