How Does She get her kids to do chores???
March 22, 2010 by Missy
Back by popular demand!
We were LOVING all the responses we got from our post about everyone’s favorite cleaning products! We LOVE learning from you!!! Thank you for all of your comments! Since that post was so successful, we decided to keep the conversation going – this time about how to get kids to do chores.
So..you know the rules – if you continue reading, you have to leave your input in the comments so we can all glean from each other – no free loaders around here!
I made Shelley and Alison come up with three things they have done that have worked for them and then realized that meant I had to come up with three as well…AAAA! I don’t feel like I have this down yet, but I think it is because I keep switching the system thinking that will solve my problem, when it is probably the inconsistency that is blowing my whole plan! So after I read all of your ideas, I am going to find ONE system and try to stick to it – that is the hard part, right?
How Does She get kids to do chores?
1. The Alligator
I originally heard a version of this idea from a genius mom I interviewed once, but was reminded about it recently by Alison who took a “house in order” class from a different amazing mom – so I figured if it is still around, it must work! I just started it a couple weeks ago and so far so good! This system is for keeping things put away (part of morning and night chores) and it involves an ALLIGATOR. If your things are left out when you go to bed or go to school, the ALLIGATOR comes and eats it. If you want it back, you have to wait until Saturday and then you have to pay the alligator with your computer time. The original idea was to make each item they wanted back a quarter, but apparently I haven’t taught my kids the value of money so it wasn’t hard to hand over the quarters, thus ruining the plan. I needed something they cared about - right now, that is computer time. It has worked BRILLIANTLY so far.
2. Involve the kids
I used to make my kids do their homework and chores right when they got home from school and before they could play. It was NOT working. I sat down with my boys and tried to have a discussion (as much as you can with a 6 and 8 year old) about why this was so difficult for them to get done. They told me they were tired of HAVING to do more things when they got home and they just wanted to play. So I asked them, “If I let you play right when you get home, then you will do your homework and chores?” They thought that sounded fair. So now they get about 45 minutes when they first get home to have a snack and play – then it is time to get things done, without argument. Just talking to them about it made all the difference – all I have to say now is, “play time is over, it’s time to get your stuff done” and they do it!…most of the time:)
I am a list maker. I LOVE to check things off my list as I get them done (sound familiar, Alison?). I tried this on my kids and it seems to work. I have one spreadsheet for each kid on a clipboard hanging in the family room. It has their Morning Routine (brush teeth, make bed, pick up room, etc) afternoon routine (piano, homework, chore) and night routine (brush teeth, pick up your things around the house, shower, etc). Now when my kids ask what their chore is, I just say, “Check your list.” I think the key to this was also having their input about which chores they were willing to help with because once we wrote it down and it was agreed upon, it is now the list making them do the chore – not me.
Singing works wonders for Shelley. When she starts singing, “Clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere, clean up, clean up, everybody does their share” her toddler knows it is time to start putting things away.
Turning the toy box into a game of basketball makes the clean up chore FUN!
3. Bulletin Board
Instead of having a ton of paper clutter to pick up all the time, Shelley uses a bulletin board in her toddler’s room where she can pin up special art projects or birthday invitations.
1. Blindly Choose
As you know, Alison came up with a great 2×4 chore chart system that she is loving right now! As explained in the post, she has all the chores that need to be done written on tongue depressors. Her kids blindly choose some tongue depressors and that determines which chores they will have for the day. This keeps it like a game and exciting! Alicia commented on the chore chart post that she does a similar system but also puts fun things in as well to keep the kids WANTING to pick a stick – good thinking, Alicia! There is a free download for a template with chores for the tongue depressors – go check it out, here.
2. Sticker for a Chore
Alison offers a sticker for a chore. Stickers are tallied on a sheet of paper and can be redeemed at the family store for coveted prizes! Her kids can also earn stickers for good behavior and lose stickers for bad behavior.
3. Bribery never hurts