How do you and your children manage the chores?
One of the hardest parts about growing up is learning how to work. But since work is a part of life, if you can train your children to work at your side, you will both benefit! If your children are small, start small! Clearing a plate at dinner time, or matching socks can be fantastic for your toddler. An older child can transition into unloading the dishwasher, or pulling weeds.
No matter what chore you are requesting, how you establish your house rules will be the most important factor. Decide what and when chores will be completed, and allow your children to help contribute to the initial discussion. Next, set up a system! Most children respond better to rewards than punishments. So instead try saying "you can earn xyz," instead of, "I'm taking xyz away." Semantics seem to get the job done! A job well done feels rewarding, so make sure your child feels great when they are contributing meaningfully. Praise their efforts for a job well done, and they will be more likely to continue to do a great job!
Some parents find the reward system tiring, in this case - try the deduction system. Give your kids an allowance every week. A few dollars will do the trick. Then when they don't do a chore, let them know that you are doing it for them, but they have to pay you $x from their allowance (different amounts depending on the size of the chore) to do their job. No fighting or arguing about it - if they do it, great, if not, you do it and they pay you for it. All work has an associated cost, so this is a great way to teach children the monetary value of hard work!
If allowance isn't instigated at your house yet, you could use a different currency such as screen time, or hanging out with friends. Daily expectations can be excluded, but if there are larger tasks that are on the chore list, those rewards can come in the form of screen time!
Technology can become your friend! The app Chore Monster was an early solution, and many more solutions exist if an old fashioned chore chart isn't getting the job done. You can enter the chores, and the kids can help mark things as completed. They earned points, and you can discuss what the different numbers of points could earn (special food treats, toy, movie, etc.)
No matter which tracking method you utilize, try to name what matters most to you in the process. If peace and harmony is the goal, your process of chore completion may look different than a parent whose goal is to launch their child to college. Don't forget to include your child, make your expectations clear, and establish a system or rewards or punishments. In the end, their chores will become less of a chore for you to manage and maintain.
Article written by Sarah Ziroll