I am all about teaching children responsibility and independence. I have witnessed many a child starting school who struggles to do the simplest tasks by themselves. The number of children who refuse tot take up any “helpful”tasks of their own accord, without being offered a reward is growing every year. So listen up parents, IT STARTS AT HOME. One of the simplest ways to teach children independence, time management and intrinsic value is to get them to do chores.
1. Age Appropriate. Although I really dislike getting the washing off the line, this is not a job to give a four year old! Start with the basics. Making their bed. Setting the table. Picking up their own toys. If the job is too difficult you will be fighting a harder battle! As they become more confident increase the number of jobs.
2. Self Selection. Although they will need your guidance ask them which jobs they think they should do and add one to the list each week. You can have “set” jobs that you require of them and a few “self selection”. Also let them have a bit of self selection in when they do these jobs. This way they can learn time management. As long as you give them a broad time frame like watering the plants must be done before dinner tonight, then leave it to them. This way children learn about leaving things to the last minute, planning ahead and getting your work done before playing!
3. Intrinsic Value. This is HUGE. If you fail to do the previous two, please (for the teachers and child sakes) teach them about doing a job because it makes you feel good not because you will get something. I am all for rewards and would rather praise than punish but this “have it now” generation is struggling to learn “good behaviour and doing the right thing makes you “feel good” not “gets you something good” Bribery is paying BEFORE behaviour is delivered. ”If you make your bed I’ll give you $1.” Instead wait for them to make their bed, then let them know (verbally) what a great job they did and how proud you are of them! In our house I take a photo, this lets them know how much I love their work! A surprise reward of a trip to the park when all the jobs are done works better than threat of if you don’t do it we wont be going anywhere!
All this being said, chores are a great way to teach children about working to earn money. To find a balance, maybe rule up a list of expected jobs (Make your bed, set the table, pick up your toys) that help the fmaily and household. Then add a few “voluntary” or “extra” jobs for payment like weed the garden, wash the car, wipe a bench, sort the old newspapers.
Sometimes a clever chore chart, in which children can self select jobs or move jobs to a done column when they are finished is all the “motivation” they need!
Here are some clever ways other Mums are keeping track of the chores in their families!
This is huge but would be great for a large family! Just hook up each persons jobs!
Putting those hooks to use again Love the visual cues this one is available on etsy
This one just blends beautifully into your decor…so fancy!
Another store bought American find, love the idea of having three pencil cases for money! One to spend, one to save and one to give!!
Ok so this is complicated but if you had the time this would last forever!
Feeling crafty? This one comes with a free template HERE
Lucky sticks! I use this one in my classroom! Write the name of the chores on a stick and lucky dip!
An easy and cheap one for toddlers using visual cues and sticky dots!
A clipboard and some pegs, could it get any easier! Simply clip the peg onto the job once it has been done! Great for fine motor as well!
Magnetic whiteboards prettied up with ribbons. Love this simple format. Great for under 5′s.
and you so know where mine is going…..
close to our Family command centre!
So which one did I choose?
Can a girl go past ribbons? I am hoping to make this one myslef and just buy the magnets!
They are sold HERE. I love that they are visual enough for non readers but still encourage reading!
So what do other Mums think about chores?
My eldest has a chore chart that he gets a tick for each thing he does. He has to make his bed, put his dirty clothes into basket, get his bowl for breakfast, get into his school uniform each day, and then pack his school bag. Kirsty ~ Mummy to Five
My kids have chores – their rooms are their responsibilities, they also clean up the living room, their study tables and pick up anything lying around the house that is theirs. They also are expected to help with setting the table, put away their dirty clothes in the laundry and clean up their own dishes after breakfast, lunch and dinner. While they do get an allowance (not very much), they are not paid because of the chores they do. My husband & I believe that it’s part of living in the house, we all have our duties & responsibilities and those are theirs. Norlin ~ Baubles, Bubbles and Bags
Each month I do a chore chart up for my three children, at the moment, we are only focusing on one particular “item” that each child is having issues with..every day if that item or job is completed they get a gold spot on their chart. At the end of the month they get pocket money. I believe they should help with general chores etc but this is more like an incentive to focus on one particular thing, and it’s working!! Michelle ~ Farmer’s Wifey
My 22mth old son helps me empty the dishwasher by putting his plasticware in their cupboard! He will also “help” by putting the dirty ones in, but I have to stack them properly of course. Alyce ~ Blossom Heart
Be consistent, have fun and put the kids to work. You will thank yourself and your child’s teacher will thank you too!!!