TEACHING CHILDREN TO WORK: THE CHORE CHART! PLUS A PACKET OF CHARTS FOR YOUR CREW

Tuesday, July 11, 2017
KIDS THESE DAYS. Most of the time I use the phrase correctly - in the context of being obsessed with my children because they've done something hilarious or witty or brilliant (or all of the above). But I confess that I also think of the phrase (with a slight shudder) in the face of a particularly green and increasingly prevalent modern-day monster: entitlement. 

I'm sure you've seen entitlement in your babies -- I've seen it in my Olivia more than anyone. At the end of last year, we couldn't walk down any aisle of any store (Target was the WORST ๐Ÿ˜ฉ) without her asking for something "because I just want it! I need it!" Claire caught on. Claire once asked for a jumper cable - a jumper cable! - just because it was in front of her, something to be had, something to ask for, something to "just get." It was hilarious. And then I was like, ?!?! I decided then that even though my girls were 4 and 2-years-old - comparatively itty bitty in the grand scheme - they had to start experiencing reality. "The man on top of the mountain didn't fall there" (Vince Lombardi). Especially with arms full of stuffed animals, new sandals on his feet, and a heart bursting with feelings of success.

My girls had to start working. 

And so I designed our chore charts with SO MUCH thought and intention, and after using them since January, I tell you what, they're working!!! ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ 

JK, I'm not crying about it, but since learning to work, the girls are so much less entitled. They're helpful and they're happy about helping. I think this is why:

The chores are not "everyday" or personal chores. I didn't include making their bed, brushing their teeth, etc., because I feel like that just comes with the territory of being human. In order to avoid entitlement on this side of the coin, I don't think it's necessary for kids to be rewarded for essential, daily, "maintenance" tasks. For doing exceptional jobs, however, yes!

The chores are exceptional jobs (for toddlers!) + meet the needs of the whole family. And their chores particularly help me. When I was designing the charts, I asked myself what I really really wanted help doing -- it came down to scrubbing dishes, folding laundry (raise your hand if you have piles of clean laundry somewhere!), and deep cleaning bathrooms. I'm not alone now in taking care of our house and it's a DREAM. The girls also feel so fulfilled by being apart of something bigger than themselves - a team that works for our family. 

The chart is completed in a weeks' time. To avoid entitlement again -- I thought it was important for them to experience patience when working. They're still immediately rewarded for their work - stickers right after they finish!! And I praise the bajeebees out of them. But just like a bi-weekly paycheck, their money doesn't come in until they've worked for the whole week. Patience is a virtue. ๐Ÿ™Œ

The reward is age-appropriate, big enough to be a reward, and yet small enough that it requires persistence. The girls earn pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters so far, and a full $1.00 for cleaning the bathroom, and they are THRILLED about it. It's been amazing to see how fulfilled they are via the charts. They are in control of something significant by working  - their money - and they can feel that. 

The chart rewards them for good behavior - a happy heart! I was getting a lot of flat-out "No's" from Olivia, and Claire was starting to straight-up ignore me - which was killing me, duh - so I added the "Happy Heart" portion of the chart to reward daily kindness + cooperation. During dinner every day, we evaluate how willingly the girls helped, how they were kind, etc. - and getting that "happy heart" sticker has been pivotal. I've had to think about why, because it's such a simple thing, and I think it's because they get a daily, physical, visible reward for being kind - the sticker! - and we intuitionally focus on what they did right daily. They're praised every day for being good. It's been a beautiful thing. ๐Ÿ˜Š
I shared a smidgen of the charts a while ago on my Insta Stories, and a surprising amount of requests for the chart came in from fellow mamas, so I tweaked the girls' charts up there (took out their names and our rewards) and designed a few more charts (changed color schemes!), and compiled them in a $3.00 CHORE CHART PACKET for you and yours. Contact me here if you want the packet and I'll send it your way. ๐Ÿ‘Œ
I HEART HARD WORK. I've wanted to talk about teaching our kids to work + write this lil chore charts post for a while (like I took these pics in May), because seriously,bless these chore charts. They've helped the girls work and earn money, getting us to a place of much less entitlement. It's work for me to instigate the chore charts and to get them done, and even if the girls wanna convey otherwise...
(had to include this shot - they were so done with the pics ๐Ÿ˜‚ )

...hard work in life - even via lil chore charts - it works!

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