Chore charts for your children are the secret to hard work success. Although some parents consider it difficult, a chore chart is well worth the effort in teaching your children accountability and follow-through. Determine what chores are appropriate for your child’s age and personality. For payment, use real money or fake money that can be spent on privileges around the house such as: T.V. time, computer time or special treats and toys. Younger children enjoy stickers more than anything and as each sticker is put on they can see that they are slowly working toward a goal of completion. Be sure to write the finishing award on the bottom of the chart or for younger children, draw a picture.
Develop a Working Role Model for Younger Children
For younger children, having a parent or older sibling model work assignments can be highly effective in teaching a positive work attitude. A parent or older sibling can take the child through the chore assignment, modeling it step by step. A parent can directly praise the child or older sibling and point out what a good influence they are on a younger sister or brother by their wise work choices. This type of positive reinforcement builds self-esteem and family unity. Effective modeling of a chore assignment, through a parent or older sibling, is the basis of developing a positive work attitude
Some basic work experiences for small children three to six years include:
Helping a parent or older sibling dust
Sorting the silverware from the dishwasher (teaches sorting a basic math concept)
Helping a parent or older sibling empty the bathroom trash into a big bag to be deposited in the general trash
Helping a parent or older sibling water house plants and outside plants
Picking up and putting toys away (Parents or older siblings can direct and give supervision)
Introduce Chore Cards to Older Children
As children grow and develop more muscle coordination and problem solving abilities, its time to introduce more complex chore assignments. Since children can read at this stage, chore cards can be introduced. Chore cards are step by step instructions for each chore listed on a 5X5 or 4X6 card. Keep chore cards organized by filing them in a recipe box labeled with each household room. The step by step instructions can teach a child how to break a big job into manageable steps. This is a concept that can apply to homework as well as many everyday situations. As a child begins a chore assignment, post the card near the working area so they can easily follow the step by step instructions. Have the child return the card to you or attach it to their chore chart once all steps have been completed. Keep the steps basic and expectations about the middle of the road. A child should not feel overwhelmed and a positive work experience should be encouraged.
Some ideas for work experiences for children seven to ten years include:
Washing and drying dishes
Loading the dishwasher
Cleaning one part of the kitchen or bathroom (the sink, toilet, bathtub or counter top)
Watering indoor and outdoor plants
Sorting laundry (will also help a child further develop color and grouping skills.)
Feeding the family pet
Older Children Need to Develop Balance
Older children should have more household skills and need to develop a balance between work, school and social activities. Finding this balance can be stressful. Keeping this in mind parents can make chore assignments that will not overwhelm an older, busier child. At the same time, pre-teens and teenagers do need to step it up a bit and develop more complex work skills that will assist in achieving more independence. Talking with your child about achieving independence will help them realize that you are preparing them for real world experiences. They will also be less likely to look at the parent as the “monster task master.”
Some ideas for work experience for children ten to fourteen include:
Helping wash or vacuum the family car
Helping younger siblings learn how to put things away and where to put them
Cleaning their own bathroom (include moping and/or sweeping)
Cleaning most or all of the kitchen
Assisting in preparing family dinners (chef’s helper)
Washing a window
Learning how to work the washer and dryer
Taking a full load of laundry from start to finish including folding on they’re own.
Encourage Teenagers to Develop Independence
Teenagers need to gradually prepare to become fully independent of Mom and Dad. As long as they are still living in the home, they should be given responsibilities around the home that will prepare them to eventually establish their own household. Knowing they are working toward full independence will promote a positive attitude and less frustration over household chores. The work pace is stepped up a bit as they learn how to balance school, a job outside the home, and work around the home responsibilities.
Some ideas for work experience for children fourteen to eighteen include:
Getting a job outside the home that will allow them to save for college and pay for some of their expenses
Cooking a family meal
Doing their own laundry (start to finish, include ironing if needed)
Mowing the lawn
Helping with gardening
Helping paint or decorate
Dusting and vacuuming an entire room
Cleaning their own room and bathroom
When making job assignments, keep in mind that children have individual tastes and preferences. One child might enjoy a certain job and balk at another. Setting your child up with work he likes to do will make the job go faster. However, don’t spare your child all the pain as every child needs to learn to follow through, even on tough jobs they don’t like.
Make sure that the chore chart has squares associated with each chore that the child can check off on a daily basis. Stress accountability by requiring a child to sign at the bottom of the chore chart indicating they have completed a day or week’s worth of required chores. Conducting inspections after a work session will create a positive learning experience by pointing out where a child did well and what they need to work a little harder on. Build on the positive and let them know when they need to redo something that they are just learning and you have confidence that they will get it right the next time. This positive learning reenforcement will teach them how to personally reflect on their individual skills and be honest with themselves about their own personal improvement.
Keep outcome expectations about middle of the road as this is to be a learning process and a child often will not do a job exactly as a parent would. Be patient even during the complaining times and help your child understand the big reward of satisfaction from a job well done. Knowing they are earning their own money is sure to bring smiles of self confidence.
Free printable chore charts can help you get started today!
More ideas on how kids can earn money.
“Allowance Magic” website can help parents and kids turn allowance into an important learning t