Getting Chores Done Without Yelling

Not fun, but a part of everyone's lives in some way:


 "It's very hard and frustrating, but as you go you get more of it done so you feel like 'I'm doing pretty good!' Then you are almost done."
E, age 10

 "I don't know much about chores. I only like [cleaning] windows, chairs, and tables."
H, age 5

 My boys were not helping around the house. When they were helping, it was slow, sloppy, and accompanied with copious amounts of whine - and not the good kind. This had to change. Besides my husband and I both working full time, we want to children to learn the value of their work. 

 Luckily, I know what my children are motivated by. That was the key when designing our new system for cleaning up. The better the carrot, the better the effort. 

 For my boys, the "carrot" is money and screen time. 

 It is important that when choosing to give a reward for a behavior, that the reward is both realistic AND you are going to follow through EVERY TIME. The instant doubt is cast onto you for lack of follow through, all of your past success is lost. You will be starting from square one. 

 Some ideas for realistic rewards:
- screen time
- coins
- You Tube videos
- music/mini-dance party
- staying up a few minutes later than normal
- being in charge of a "grown up" choice, like what is for dinner
- painting in the tub
- getting to sleep somewhere special, like on the couch or in mom & dad's room (for one night!)
- getting to use a special toy or do a project
- extra books before bed
- one "get out of cleaning up" free card

 When deciding how to run a program like this, I do my best to KEEP IT SIMPLE (my motto). I designed a chart to use for the entire week, for both kids. I put jobs that I knew they could do independently. Check in is on Sunday afternoon, unofficially at 4PM. That can be flexible if we are busy. A "check-in" involves counting how many initials each boy has. They can then use that number to redeem their reward.

1 initial = 5 minutes screen time
1 initial = 25 cents

 They can mix & match or use them all for one cash in. So far, they are mostly choosing to watch a movie together on Sunday evening. 

 There it is!!! We've been doing it for 3 weeks. So far, so good. Part of the perks is that if I ask them to do something during the week, I can remind them they will earn points. The pouting quickly turns to helping and I get the help I need.

 Try it out and let me know how it works out for you!

Update: After Halloween, the boys decided on their own that they would have to trade in chores to eat their candy. They consulted with each other and decided that 3 initials would be worth a piece of the fun sized candy and 9 initials equals a full size candy. :-)