Wednesday, August 21, 2013

DIY Kids Chore Charts- Part 1

Are you looking for a fun way to teach your kids that doing "chores" can be fun? I am sharing my DIY Kids Chore Chart System. I came up with this system about 4 years ago when my son was 3 and it has worked. :) Today I will share part 1- How it works, tomorrow join me for part 2- How to assemble
 
We recently switched from a barn animal/farm theme to dinosaurs/volcano theme, and I also helped my sister put some together for her little girls so this was the perfect time to share the process and how this system works! This is the perfect system for younger children to learn about responsibility and behavior.

When my son turned 3 I knew he needed some encouragement to do his "chores".  This system isn't simply about chores, but also about encouraging positive behaviors. I believe that children need responsibilities around the home without necessarily being rewarded for them...to me each family member needs to pull their weight! However, it is hard for young children to grasp this concept, and so I felt it necessary to make little "rewards" for following the system. These rewards are not necessarily monetary but they help children see the importance of completing their tasks and the feeling you get when you accomplish what you set out to do. 
Disclaimer: This system may not work for everyone and must be customized for your individual families or children's needs! This is just how we do it and might offer some inspiration for you to make your own spin on it. :)
How this system works: 
  1. Each child is assigned their own tasks...aka....chores to complete each week.
  2. Tasks are to be signed off each day, the goal is to move the animal, princess, dinosaur, etc. forward one space. For each day that each figure is able to move, the child can pick a daily reward.
  3. After each figure makes it to the designated 'goal' area (ex. barn for farm animals, castle for princesses, volcano for dinos), a weekly reward can be chosen. Each figure has to move 7 spaces (days) to make it to their goal. Now, some things don't get passed every day, which results in some figures making it to goal before the others. Kids still must 'pass off' that required task for the figure to be able stay in the goal area while waiting for all the figures to join so they can earn their weekly reward. 
    • For example, if all the princesses except Cinderella make it to the castle, but the the next day the Ariel task of no yelling doesn't get passed off, then Ariel has to move out of the goal area and back a space in hopes of being passed off to move forward the next day.
  4. 4. Once all the figures make it to goal a weekly reward can be chosen and the chart resets for a new 'week'. 
  5. Remember, if all figures do not get to move forward, or are not passed off a daily reward is not earned! This encourages kids to try hard each day so they can pick a fun reward.
TASK or CHORES: These vary by family and age, like I said...we expect our son to help do things around the house reward or not...but there are little things he can do for himself specifically that we include in his chart. Some examples:
  • Clean up toys, clean room, used inside voice (no yelling or tantrums), kept hands to themselves (no hitting), ate fruits and veggies, brushed teeth, read book etc. For my son who is now 7, we have added some "bigger" kid chores like make bed, do homework, practice piano, load dishwasher, exercise, etc.
DAILY REWARDS: These are things that are simple and usually free that your kid will enjoy as a reward. Perhaps these are things they are already allowed to do, such as watch a tv show or play on ipad or computer...now they have to earn it, and trust me they will!
Some examples of daily rewards we use:
  • 1 tv show, 30 minutes Ipad, play blocks with mom and dad, read stories with mom or dad, color with mom or dad, watercolor, play family game, 30 minutes your choice, 30 minutes Xbox or Wii. 
The biggest key to this reward system is parents have to be consistent  It might be easy to throw on mickey mouse clubhouse so you can get some work done around the house...but if your child hasn't earned that and it is a reward...they learn they don't have to complete their tasks to get the reward. Therefore, you are defeating your own system!

WEEKLY REWARDS: These are bigger rewards, something you don't do all the time that feels special for them. We still try and keep these things affordable like movie theatre...but we only do dollar movies. If there are no kid dollar movies playing that week, they can choose raincheck or pick another reward. Here are some current examples for us:
  • Cook something special with mom (decorate cookies, etc.), Family movie night at home with treats, Ice cream night, Kids choice, Park or playground of kids choice, Dollar Theatre, Dollar store-1 item, Library day, go to museum (we have free wildlife and dino  museums at our local college), earn $1.00 to save, zoo (we had yearly passes where we used to live).
What to do if one child earns ice cream or dollar movie and the other doesn't? Or all of them earn it except one child?- This really is personal and you will have to decide how you want to work it in your family. Also, each child may have earned something different, perhaps this gives you the perfect time for those mommy/kid, daddy/kid one on one date nights that are so important. The key is to customize the system to meet your families specific needs. 

I know this system may not work the same for everyone but I love that it is customizable for what your kids need to be working on. It teaches responsiblity, better behavior, and consistency. I am loving this system and know it will help my son develop great habits before "graduating" to big kid responsibilities which are only a few years away. 

Go here for part 2 of how we made these cute charts!


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