Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Chores - Trying a New Approach

My kids do not have regular chores. We've tried here and there but it never sticks - mostly due to failure on the part of us as parents to follow through on rewards or tracking. We've been most successful in the summer break when we have a nanny and the kids are required to do chores in order to earn screen time for the day. But when we try to use the same idea during the school year, it fails. Mostly because there are many days where there is no time for personal screen time anyway.

For 2017, I am trying again.

In our home, we do not pay for chores. And we will not be earning personal screen time by doing chores. Instead, this approach to chores is about the family being a team and everyone having responsibility in taking care of our living space.

The reason I think chores are important is because I do see positive growth in my kids when there are daily expectations - read for 20 minutes, do chores, get physical activity. They like having responsibility, they like achieving goals.

I don't have strict rules about how the chore gets done. If you've done what's on the list, great. If you do more, even better. You can team up and work together. You can ask for help from a parent. You can do it in the morning or after school - as long as it is done before bed (exceptions include taking care of Bandit and taking out trash bins - those have to be timely).

I created calendars - 1 for each child and 1 for us (Mom & Dad). I created a list to explain what each chore is. The basic idea is that the daily chore should only take about 15 minutes of actual work but should make a big impact in how we keep up our home.

I used the provided calendar template in Excel. Nothing fancy. The calendar for the month is posted on each child's bedroom door and the list of what is expected for the chore is posted in a common area (we have a specific space in the hallway). Over the course of 2 weeks, each child will have done each chore at least once. Sundays are a day off - except for feeding the dog, of course.

I am hopeful that this will be a clearly communicated way of getting basic housework done and creating a sense of teamwork in our family.


Nicole said...

One thing that helped me as a kid was a way to mark off each chore. My brother and I each had a line to check off if we had done something. While we did get paid for chores ($0.25 a checkmark), it also eliminated "s/he didn't do as much as me."

Jennifer said...

Liz - amen to the idea that chores are important for a child's emotional growth! As someone with older kids, I've seen a number of college-age young people, friends of my girls, who seem to have never done a chore in their life. And they are uncertain of their own competence! And I agree that having your kids involved with chores is HARD. It's really much easier to do it yourself. But sooooooooo worth it.