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6 Ways to make chore charts effective

6 Ways to make chore charts effective

We know what you’re saying. Use a chore chart? You must be crazy. We’ve tried it using one before and it just didn’t work. It wasn’t the chore chart that didn’t work—it was not understanding what makes a chore chart successful. Here are 6 tips.

1. Make sure the reward is motivating to your child

Not giving a reward that is meaningful to your child is the biggest culprit as to why chore chart don’t work. It’s a lot easier to get your children to do something they see as unpleasant if they feel they get something they want out of it.

As parents we’re guilty of believing the things that motivate us will motivate our children. For example, as a child you liked the freedom of having spending money and assume that your child wants money too. But, they don’t because that’s not what motivates them. Rather, what is motivating to your child would be more minutes on the computer/tablet/phone, staying up late, getting a new toy, spending more time playing, or checking out extra books at the library.

Knowing exactly what motivates your child allows you to set rewards that will work. It’s not easy though to figure out what is meaningful to your child. The best way to find out what is meaningful to your child is to look at what they spend their free time doing or what they ask you for and we have just the form for that. It’s called Finding a Meaningful Reason.

Word to the wise: if your child stops doing their chores AFTER they’ve been doing them, it’s probably because the reward is no longer motivating. Time to figure out the new thing that motivates them.

2. Define the consequence beforehand

If not making the reward motivating is culprit number #1 for chore charts not working, then not defining the consequence of what happens when chores don’t get done beforehand is culprit #2.

We’ve found it’s helpful to get the family together to define consequence. When consequences aren’t defined beforehand, the consequence tends to be blown out of proportion.

Have you ever grounded your child for a week because they didn’t make their bed? While it may feel good in the moment, it’s not your best course of action. A) Grounding them for a week really isn’t realistic for you to enforce, and B) it doesn’t match the severity of the infraction. A better consequence for not making their bed would be for them to go to bed 10 or 15 minutes earlier (and we all know that kids hate going to be early).

3. Switch up responsibilities

As a child, my job after dinner was sweeping up the kitchen and guess what? I hate doing it now. I will gladly clean a bathroom before sweeping. Crazy, I know.

Your child feels the same way. Periodically, whether that’s weekly, monthly, or quarterly, switch up the jobs.

4. Involve your children

When you sit down to define chores, rewards, and consequences, don’t forget to get your child’s input on what they think is fair. When your child is involved in the decision making process they will feel more invested in the outcome. Plus, they’ll probably come up with a system that’s more likely to work that you will.

5. Set up a timeframe for chores

Have you noticed as soon as you tell your children they have to do something, they become 100x times more likely to not want to do it? It’s because we all hate being told what to do. Chore charts for children can feel a lot like they are being told constantly what to do. One way to get around this constant nagging is to set a deadline when chores have to be completed by. This allows your children some flexibility and autonomy to complete the chores in the order and timeframe they want. It’s the perfect solution for your child who finishes things at the last moment as well as the one who would rather get it done and move on.

6. Praise them when they do it

The last key to making them work is simple—give them praise when they do it. Kids especially want the praise of their parents and to hear they are doing a good job. Praising your children can be as simple as saying “thank you.”

Look for our free chore charts in the upcoming weeks and check out these other parenting lessons!