Okay everyone…here’s my dilemma. How can I make the kids do some chores?
Here’s what I’ve tried:
Chore chart: worked the best so far; kept it up for about a year (two years ago). Awarded stars based on how helpful the chore is to me. No set number of chores or stars were required per day. Fell apart when I failed to reliably provide rewards.
The “nothing good happens until” approach: Ask the child to do a chore, and nothing fun happens until the chore is done. For instance, “You can’t watch TV until you’ve unloaded the dishwasher.” Works reasonably well, unless it’s interrupted (we leave for a previously scheduled event without the chore being completed, and it’s forgotten about when we return) or the child is expected to complete too many chores in a row (about 3 for my 7-year-old). I’m not consistent about this one either; I may ask a child to do seven chores one day and none the next, depending on various factors (how busy we are that day, etc.).
Flylady: I’ve tried of few of her “Riley Challenges” (designed for kids), and some worked, but sometimes the kids aren’t in the mood. I bought feather dusters for each of the kids, and that worked for a few weeks, but they’ve since lost their appeal.
Handipoints: I checked out Handipoints after I saw it suggested in a magazine a few weeks ago. They’ve got a neat system where you can design your own chore chart, and your kids can earn stars to purchase things for their characters in a virtual world. I’ve logged on about three times and that’s it. Too hard to track daily chores online.
Let me add that my husband does not want to use a monetary allowance-based reward system; he feels (and I agree, generally) that the chores should be done by the children because we should all contribute to the household. That said, it’s hard to get the kids to stay on board without a reward. The rewards I attempted to use in the Chore Chart days were experience (as opposed to money or food rewards) based, like a trip to the zoo or movies, but they “cost” too many stars and the kids didn’t have the attention spans to collect for such big goals.
The kids ARE good at doing a few chores consistently: feeding the dog, clearing their dishes from the table, making their beds (when reminded).
Consistency seems to be my main hang-up.
What do you say? Who has a system that works?
For more of this week’s dilemmas, check out Rocks in My Dryer.