With the start of a new year, I knew I wanted my oldest daughter to become more involve in the household chores. While she is generally VERY eager to help out (how many four year-olds do you know that cry if you do laundry while they are at school?), I wanted to create a way for her to not only take on more responsibility, but be rewarded for her time and efforts. So, I put my mommy brain and teacher brain to work, and came up with a fun new take on the typical chore chart.
Here’s how it works:
Hannah’s Chore Chart : Each day, Hannah has the opportunity to earn stickers for 8 different chores. I chose things that she could do independently. Many of these tasks were things we had worked previously on. When introducing a new chore, especially if your child will be doing it independently, make sure to model your expectations first. Show them what it looks like to complete that chore appropriately. You may need to give some reminders the first few weeks. Try to stay patient, and remember that they are still learning. Teaching your children to help out at an early age may be challenging and time consuming NOW, but will make your life much easier in the long run. For more info on ways to get your kids involved in household chores, check out my previous post: Getting Your Children Involved in Household Chores (and Getting Them to LIKE it too!)
Here is a more in-depth explanation of what Hannah’s duties look like. (For reference, Hannah will be 5 at the end of March.)
Put my dishes in the dishwasher – She must rinse her dishes and put them correctly in the dishwasher (She can earn 3 stickers a day)
Keep my bathroom clean – She must keep the potty flushed, the counter wiped, and extra toys/clothes out!
Do my school work – Hannah and I do schoolwork at home each day in addition to her attending preschool. She must complete her daily activities, AND do them with a happy heart.
Help with Laundry – There are several jobs that fall into this category. She can either gather all of the hampers for me, empty hampers into the washing machine, put laundry away (yes, I’ve taught her to do this, and wow….saves me a ton of time and she enjoys it!), or fold laundry. (She can fold undies, washcloths, socks, and jammies.)
Make my Bed – This was a task I had to model for Hannah (and continue to have to model for her.) However, for whatever reason, I go a little nuts when her bed is unmade, so it was important for me to teach her to do it. My hope is that it will become second nature, and she will learn to wake up and make it first thing (like her mommy does.) While she does not make it quite to my standards, she tries hard and is SO proud of her efforts. (And, it is pretty cute to see stuffed animals all lined up on her bed in a way she thinks is beautiful.)
Clean my Room – She is expected to pick up her room before nap, and again before bed. I am learning to make exceptions, if she is playing with something that has taken her time to set up, and that she wishes to continue playing with. (For example, she currently has a Polly Pocket “hotel” and “store” set up in her room. I am allowing her to leave it out since she worked hard to set it up.)
Pick up the Toys in Mom and Dad’s Room – For whatever reason, toys seem to end up in our room all the time. There will be a Percy train on the desk, a crown on the bedpost, Tinkerbell wings on the floor…Before bed each night, (right after teeth brushing) Hannah is responsible for picking up all of the toys in my room and putting them where they belong.
Help with Joey’s Food, Water, and Bed- Joey is our dog. Hannah is responsible for getting new food and water for Joey, and putting his bowls outside. She also moves his dog bed into the front room.
At the end of each week, Hannah and I count up the stickers she has earned. She then gets to “spend” them in the “Chore Store.” Here is what our “Chore Store” looks like. Chore Store
I chose rewards that were desirable for Hannah. You’ll need to choose rewards that are truly an incentive for your child. If they aren’t interested in the rewards, they are less likely to do the work. I also chose things that didn’t cost a lot of money. You don’t need to spend money to reward your children. I also don’t think your child needs a trip to the zoo or five dollars for doing something they should be doing anyways! For our family, I simply wanted to provide a small incentive, and to reward my daughter for her cleaning efforts. Once you pick out your rewards, you will want to set a “price” for them. Make the larger items more costly, but make sure that they are achievable. Your child will become discouraged if they never are able to earn enough stickers to purchase some of the rewards. Here is a summary of our rewards.
10 Stickers = 1 hour on the computer (Hannah loves to play computer games, but her time on the computer needed to be limited. This system works well for monitoring the amount of time she spends, and is a HUGE incentive for her.)
30 Stickers = Have a friend over – Hannah loves to have playdates, but they are harder to fit in, now that we have three kids, a business, a website, etc. She is currently working towards this goal right now.
5 Stickers = Watch 1 Show in Mom’s Bed – For whatever reason, my kids love to get in my covers and watch tv. Since I am not a fan of having my bed unmade, and don’t like them to watch a lot of tv, I thought this would be a fun incentive for her.
8 Stickers = Choose 1 candy treat at the store – Hannah’s eyes light up whenever we pass the bulk candy at Winco or go down the candy aisle. Except for at Halloween, she doesn’t get much candy, so she was excited to see this choice.
20 Stickers = Treasure Box – When I was teaching kindergarten, my husband built me a large wooden treasure box that the students would get to pick from. I now fill it with small items like coloring books, bouncy balls, headbands…this and that…(some things I even get from friends as hand me downs)…The point here is not to fill up a box with the latest and greatest in toys…Just opening up the box to see what “treasures” she can pick from is enough..
12 Stickers = Messy Project – This would include playdough, painting, shaving cream….all of the things she loves and mommy hates. =)
5 Stickers = Special Cooking Project – I let Hannah choose ANY recipe out of one of her cookbooks, and we work together to make it. She loves to cook!
The Store chart hangs on our fridge, above the chore chart. Next to the store, is an envelope with pictures of each reward. To make things easier, I also have sticker sheets on the fridge as well.
Once she has spent her stickers and chosen her rewards, I then take the chosen items out of the envelope and put them on the fridge with a magnet. Then, Hannah can choose when she wants to cash them in throughout the week. It is an easy way to keep track of her rewards, and make sure she is getting what she paid for. It also provides a reminder to her that doing her work pays off! Once she cashes in a reward, the picture goes back into the envelope.
This Chore Store works to help your child with some math skills!
1. Learning the days of the week – Help your child figure out which day of the week it is when they go to put their first sticker on each day. You can sing a days of the week song, help them sound out the words, or tell them things like, “Today starts with F,” or “Today is the day after Wednesday.”
2. Counting and One to One Match – Having your child touch each sticker and count how many they have earned will help them in their counting skills. They will also learn the important concept of one number equals one item. (one to one match.)
3. Addition and Subtraction – As your child works to spend all of their stickers, they will be using addition and subtraction skills. Help your child to add up the cost of the items they would like to buy. Then, as they select an item, help them to subtract the cost from the total number of stickers they have earned. They will learn to figure out what the “best bang for their buck” is, as they figure out how to best spend their stickers.
I hope that you will consider using a Chore Store with your kids! I have seen an increase in the amount of work Hannah does around the house. She continues to earn more stickers each week than the week before. Try it out and see if it works for you!