Your Virtual Admin Can Help With: Chore Charts and Reward Systems
Over the weekend, my husband and I found ourselves in a position where our kids (who are 5 and 3) wanted to do chores (I know, crazy, right?!) in order to earn a toy that we had said we wouldn't purchase for them (let's face it, we're still broke from Christmas). After discussing this we decided to setup chore charts and a rewards system to help the kids learn how to work to earn rewards. Seems pretty simple, right? I looked on Pinterest and Amazon for chore charts and rewards program examples, but couldn't find anything that I liked. That's when I remembered I could do it myself, because I am a virtual admin with kick ass creative and program development skills.
But first, I did some research on what other families have found that work for their littles and tried to incorporate those ideas into our system. This is the process I took to develop our system.
Step One: Figure out what the tiny humans are in to these days.
Sit down with your kids and find out what they like in terms of colors, patterns, etc. Kids are like adults and they enjoy 'custom' things so your kids are more likely to want to use and refer to a chore chart if they are excited about what they see. Olivia (5) really likes unicorns and bright colors. David (3) is in to construction vehicles, trucks and green tractors.
Step Two: Start easy and grow chore lists over time.
It can be tempting to list everything you want your kids to eventually do for themselves and around the house, but this will just overwhelm them. Especially the little ones. Start with a select few "every day" chores and tasks that you know they can complete with little to no help. Once they are completing these chores and tasks every day with no difficulty, then add one or two more. We started with: Brushing Teeth (AM/PM), Make Bed, Clean up Toys, Unpack Backpacks and Lunch Kits, and Eating Meals/Veggies.
Step Three: Determine the best reward system type for your kids.
This takes a little thinking. Some kids are fine with stickers on a page and then filling that page and getting a reward. Others like options when it comes to rewards. Little kids generally need to "see" rewards, that's why stickers, check marks, tokens etc., are a good way to show them that they are physically earning something without having to fork over real currency that will undoubtedly be lost. Our kids are like their parents and enjoy playing games so we went with a points & token based reward system.
Step Three: Earned points/tokens can be lost.
This style of chore chart and reward system that we picked creates a visual way for our kids to see how their actions have consequences by the removal of tokens when bad behaviors happen. I'll report back when we actually take away the first token, but I am expecting things to get a little explosive the first couple of times.
Step Four: Talk about it with your kids repeatedly and GET HYPED!
Don't just set it and forget it. If you don't reference the charts and make a big deal of the rewards then your kids won't either and your system will fall apart. It's
important for everyone to be onboard for a system like this to work effectively. This includes grandparents and babysitters. Kids are crafty and manipulative (at least mine seem to be) so they will try to get what they want (the tokens) without doing the work or by doing as little as possible by targeting other adults that may not know the rules to the system. This isn't Lord of the Flies - adults make the rules and everyone under the age of 18 follows them. (Don't come at me, I know the teen years are something else entirely, but one can hope.)
I will try to do a follow up on how our system is working in a couple months, but for now if you would like a custom made chore chart, reward board or other family management document created for your family, click here to contact us. We'd be more than happy to help make your life run a little smoother.