Did you hear the joke that it takes your kids an eternity to pick up their room, but they can easily collect 4,385 Easter eggs spread out over the whole yard in about 3 seconds? They are no dummies! But seriously, I once had an ALL DAY battle with my boys to clean up their toy room, which they could have done in probably 15 minutes. My theory is that there are three principles you must use to get kids to willingly participate in chores.
First, consistency. I know, I KNOW- the whole point of having children is the slave labor you can look forward to, and it takes so much EFFORT on our part to be consistent…annoying. Just remember, you will be rewarded in the long run for consistently working the chore chart with your kids now.
Then you have to set clear expectations with your kids; I think it’s helpful to have specific chores written down for them. If I say to my kids, “We need to clean the house” they play dumb and I’ll be lucky if they pick up a lego (yes, singular). But if I say, “Go make your bed” they can’t play dumb enough to get out of that, suckers!
Finally, my favorite part: you have to find their motivation. My kids are young and don’t know that a housekeeper charges $30 bucks an hour, so I lowballed them with a $5 a week allowance. Honestly, it could have been $1000 – what do they care? I mean, yes, they like putting money away in their piggy bank, but after three boys with four sets of Grandparents and four sets Aunts & Uncles as well… our house already floweths over with toys, these children want for nothing. Then I had a stroke of genius and realized I could REALLY cheap out and make them work for their electronics time- BINGO!
The chart I came up with assigns point values for chores, and every point is worth a minute of electronics time. I purposely designed it so they can earn a maximum of about 45 points a day- just enough time for me to shove them in front of the TV and sneak in a much needed shower! I was really excited to start using this with the boys, but I wasn’t prepared for how much they like it too! It pits them against each other for some healthy competition, and also motivates them to do their chores early so they can get to their electronics time. Also, it’s pretty easy on me which is always welcome- I don’t have to remember to get cash, and the boys are motivated without a lot of reminders.
I made this chart in basic black for easy printing each week; but the chores, names, colors and whatever else are totally customizable so it can work and grow with your family. Click HERE to download the template- and good luck with your little monsters!