Friday, October 19, 2018

Let Your Kids Make Their Own Chore Charts

Effective Teaching: Motivation Charts Designed By Kids

Gold star stickers and smiling faces are the hallmarks of chore and motivation charts that encourage kids to do anything from make their beds in the morning to be kind to their sisters during the day to finish their homework at night. One of the main criticisms of chore charts, however, is that they don’t really teach children very well and they set children up to expect rewards for things that they should being doing every day – like brushing teeth. These things should have intrinsic value to children – they want to do them because they recognize the value in these things.

This idea is a feel-good way as parents we might wish our children viewed the world. Unfortunately, by the time our kids are old enough to logically understand the real consequences of not brushing teeth, it might be too late for good oral care and they could look forward to gumming their high school lunches. There are just some things parents need to teach children have value, even if kids aren’t able to fully understand that concept yet. This doesn’t mean I think that everything needs to be laid out in a chore chart, deserving a sticker for anything short of breathing. I’ve used chore and motivation charts with my kids with great success, but I also created a twist on this old method with great results.

Child Designed Chore Charts

In an effort to make sure that my kids were taking responsibilities for their actions, I used motivation charts, but instead of handing them neatly arranged rows with detailed listings of expectations, I gave them blank graphs with only the days of the week. It was their turn to create their own charts for things they felt they needed to put more effort into in their daily lives. We had conversations about what might be on the charts and I included some guiding words.

  • This is the opportunity to set real goals (we started with 3 goals).
  • The goals need to have daily accountability.
  • Choose at least 1 goal that is for personal satisfaction (i.e. work on baseball swing), and 1 goal that benefits the family (i.e. clearing the table after dinner). The 3rd goal can be any other goal that parents and child agree upon, but should be contributed by the child.
  • There needs to be ways that accomplishing daily goals will be measured, especially if some are less obvious (it might be spending 15 minutes extra practicing baseball swings each day).
  • Recording these daily measurements of success needs to be clear – i.e. one sticker for clearing the table.
  • Choose if there will be rewards other than accomplishing the goals and what those might be.
  • Decide what, if any, the consequences will be for not reaching daily goals.

Benefits of Child Designed Chore Charts

As kids begin to feel the true responsibility they are developing, the intrinsic value will be increased. When my kids created their own chore charts, there was no reward needed for completing a week – they felt that accomplishing their goals was the best outcome. Encouraging kids to take ownership of their responsibilities and create their own chore charts teaches them several lessons.

  • They learn about goal setting and measuring success when working toward goals.
  • They develop accountability.
  • They learn about contributing to a larger cause such as the family and home.
  • They learn that their choices have consequences, both good and bad.
  • They are valuable members of the family. When they have to develop their own family-benefiting goals it develops a deeper sense of belonging.

Sure – some kids might want to put the easiest tasks on their charts and see this as an opportunity to get out of responsibilities. However, many times kids willingly take on challenges like this because they are constantly striving for a little more independence, and this gives them a good opportunity to direct their own independence. I believe that kids for the most part are trying to do what they think is best – motivation charts can help them make plans for how to contribute and be their best selves, especially when they design them.

Related posts:

  1. Chore Charts Can Promote Teamwork
  2. Behavior Charts for Kids
  3. Do Simple Behavior Charts Work?

View full post on Parenting Tips For Raising Successful Kids |

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