Summertime and the living is easy, right? Or it would be if you could get the kiddies to willingly and happily help around the house.
Sometimes it’s so much work to get them to do their chores that it’s easier to do them ourselves, but that’s missing the point! It’s not really about making the bed or the toys on the floor.
Chore charts teach children self-discipline, time management, how to be a contributing member of the family and eventually how to run their own households, but most importantly – that reward comes from work.
Making a chore chart, or Daily Routine as I prefer to call it, lets you determine what they need to do but makes them responsible for doing it.
You’re no longer the nagging parent asking for the same things every stinking day.
Now you are the benevolent parent dispensing rewards for good behavior.
Instead of reminding, cajoling, begging and eventually getting angry for the same tasks every day you just have to ask “Did you do your routine?”
See the difference?
While being part of a household requires that everyone chip in, a reward is a powerful motivator.
The subject of giving allowance is a hot, debatable topic that I won’t get into right now. That’s for each family to decide. Whatever your system, be consistent and deliver the reward once it’s earned. If you don’t your children will think “If you don’t hold up your end of the bargain, why should we?” Don’t be that parent.
Children don’t need monetary reward, especially if funds are tight. Reward with points that accumulate toward a goal. A reward can be a fun activity, time with friends, or my favorite: screen time! Access to TV or video games can be a tremendous motivator for kids of all ages.
Likewise, there needs to be consequence for not keeping their responsibilities. If they don’t do the work, don’t give them the reward, no matter what. (No matter how badly you want to go to the movies or have ice cream.) The bottom line is – reward comes from work.
Add some academics to the list. Kids get a little too relaxed (read: lazy) over the summer. Many forget half of what they learned in school as they zombie out playing games and watching television. Keep learning on track with daily reading time, journaling or a daily paragraph, and a daily math problem.
Also – your list doesn’t have to be boring. Add some fun or silly things your child likes to do to the list. Examples; play with pets, draw or craft, listen to music, go outside and play, do your favorite exercise or sport, learn a joke. Learning to make time for pleasurable pursuits is a great habit to instill.
How to create a Daily Routine.
- Create morning and evening routines specific to each child that are age appropriate and include personal grooming along with household tasks.
- When you begin, clearly explain the task, how and when they should do it. Start simple, with two or three tasks, and add on as time goes by.
- Learning how to do chores takes time so be patient as you’re teaching these important skills.
- Our natural desire to start out with 12 tasks each day will only discourage the kiddies and set you both up for failure. Slow and steady, Divas.
It’s important that tasks be age appropriate.
Start small when kids are young and add to their responsibilities as they grow.
Here is an age appropriate task progression:
Even toddlers can pick up toys and put dirty clothes in the hamper.
Ages 3-4 – With help: can straighten a bed, put clothes in the dryer, dust, and help older siblings.
Use symbols on charts rather than words for pre-readers.
Ages 5-8 – With supervision: feed pets, make bed, pick up and put away, set and clear the table, empty dishwasher, sweep and vacuum.
Ages 9-12 – Empty and refill the dishwasher, fold laundry, assist with meal preparation, clean bathrooms, mop floors.
Ages 13+ – Do their own laundry and assist in laundering family towels and bedding, emptying and taking the trash to the curb, clean out the car, wash the car, yard work and all general housekeeping.
Daily routines aren’t just for kids! Make one for yourself to keep accountable and on track for a more productive you.
Action steps to make your Daily Routine chart
- Perfection is the killer of many great plans. You don’t have to get fancy to make a routine chart that works. Just a simple list on a sticky note is enough to get started.
- Once you have an idea which tasks you wish to list you can make a simple document on your computer and print it out. Give that a try and make adjustments as needed.
- Once you find a routine that works for your family you can have fun with the design, adding colors and graphics.
Or you can download one from Divas
We designed a variety of Daily Routine charts for different age ranges and styles. Some have tasks listed, some are blank for you to fill in your routine. One is for pre-readers using symbols and some are for Divas like us.
My favorite tip involves a trip to the Dollar Store. Pick up a document frame and a pack of dry erase markers. Print out your chart and place it in the document frame. Use dry erase markers to write directly on the glass keeping track of success with exes and checks. At the end of the week use a paper towel or dry eraser to clean the glass so it’s ready for another week.
An alternative is to use sheet protectors and dry erase markers in the same manner as above but totally portable or in a notebook rather than hung on the wall.
I also love this easy magnetic chalk board design that uses magnets to indicate if a task is finished or not. This is especially good for young children, unless you like the “little kids with ink pens” combo.
Remember, learning how to do chores takes time. Be patient as you’re teaching your kids.
Most importantly – remain encouraging and positive. If you really want to raise a child that hates housework just make them miserable, yelling, nagging, and constantly correcting while they do their best to give you what you want. Patience, praise and love gets the job done.
Consistency is key here so keep plugging away and don’t give up. If the kiddies don’t finish their whole routine each day, so what? What doesn’t get done one day will get done another day. If there’s one thing for sure about housework – it’ll be there again tomorrow.
Relax and have fun. After all it’s your summer, too.