Thursday, October 1, 2015

Three on Thursday: Chores (and Printable Rewards)

Chores, yeah, they SHOULD be helpful, but sometimes they're just MORE work for me! I would honestly prefer to just do it all myself rather than spend twice the time supervising the efforts of young children, but you know what? That would get us all nowhere fast! I have, over time, probably used every last chore system available. Until our current system, nothing has really ever worked out. Here are three little tidbits I've picked up along the way!

1. Choose Rewards Wisely

I could reward my six and four year olds with money, but then they would only end up with "stuff". I could reward them with treats, but then they would learn that food is a reward, which goes against everything I believe in! So what works out for us? Privileges! In the video at the bottom, you will see a clear privilege system, which my kids REALLY enjoy working towards - iPad time, bringing a toy to the school table, skipping a chore, etc. All rewards cost me no money, time, or effort, and are things that they would not otherwise get to enjoy M-F.

2. Consistency and Feedback are Key

It took about three weeks this summer before I really saw our chore system working, but the moment I realized that I was actually receiving HELP (instead of having to put forth more effort) was one of the best moments of my mommy life! It takes about two times longer (three if the toddler decides to "help") to complete a simple task when I'm training a child to do so than if I were to just do it myself. Thinking like this has gotten me nowhere besides burnt out with a clean floor. At the end of the summer I really buckled down and devoted the hour after dinner (my husband works late so I had the free time) to come alongside my kiddos and help them with their chores. Just having them tear a paper towel off of the roll without causing more mess was making my brain turn in circles, but I kept it positive, upbeat, and thanked them for their efforts. Within a few weeks, it finally dawned on me that, not only could they spray and wipe down the dinner table, but they were doing it without prompting, complaining, or leaving a second mess behind. Can I get an amen?! You know what this helped me understand? Kids love the feedback and rewards, but mostly, kids just love to play a part, be a helpful buddy, and feel like grown ups!

3. What's Really Helpful?

We call our chores "contributions", because we really want our kids to understand that they're not doing something to help mommy, they're doing something to help out the whole family. Of course, they have their traditional "make your bed, brush your teeth" type of chores, but in the afternoons, their contributions can range anywhere from "gather trash around the house" to "put away any shoes you see". Notice that wasn't "gather YOUR trash" or "pick up YOUR shoes", but rather a task to complete for the benefit of the entire household. That being said, what is REALLY helpful and necessary? Is it necessary in your home that the bathrooms be cleaned every day? Is it beneficial for the windows to be wiped on a daily basis? Most chores in our home aren't needed every single day, with the exception of the "pet" chores. If I were to assign each kid a standing list of chores, some things would be completed repetitively for no reason. Therefore, we rotate. I have a basket of about 25 different tasks (put away silverware, vacuum under beds, put away shoes, etc.) and the kids pull about 3-4 each morning to complete. I do the toddler's chores, but he tags along with me, and helps where he can, and my kids each have their chores physically clipped to them (see video). Because there are 3 kids doing 3-4 chores each every day, we complete 9-12 chores per day, which means that we rotate through our chore list about every 2-3 days, meaning that nothing really slips through the cracks, and nobody wasted their time repeating something that was just done the day prior.

Here's a free copy of our blue ribbon points, just right click and choose "print"!

So chime in - what do chores look like in your home? I am always looking for advice in this area!

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