Friday, August 13, 2010

The List

How do you motivate your kids to work? To complete and learn basic house-hold tasks?

I've tried chore charts before. The problem (for me). They take thought, planning and follow-through to be effective.

Last summer we used one. I printed charts off at the beginning of every week. We were pretty consistent through most of the summer. They worked, but this summer they sounded like too much work.

So I did nothing, and my kids did very little extra work around the house (with our trip to China this summer I didn't push in this training department anyway).

But now we are home and its time to get busy!

Earlier this week a friend commented that she makes a list of jobs for her kids to complete every morning. As a listy-type of person this appealed to me. Compared to chore charts, lists are low maintenance and non-committal. If a day is extra busy, we drop the list. No problemo.

So far, so good. I make a list each morning. They complete it by lunch time. If they need extra motivation, there are no fun extracurriculars until the list is complete (or no snack/dessert item at lunch).

In an effort to keep "the list" fun, I'm trying to come up with a variety of jobs. The same-old-same-old will get old fast. Some jobs that have appeared so far are washing the door window, sweeping the front porch, emptying wastebaskets, working on math flashcards, writing and coloring activities, reading.

As sad as this sounds.. I am running out of jobs.

The list won't work without jobs.

So, what are so jobs your kids are responsible for completing? I need ideas.

Our list will thank you.

Our kids may not.


Emily said...

we have a toy lost and found basket- so instead of cleaning up toys and putting them in their rooms- i just put them in the basket and they have to "empty" it. i also have them clean the house- they have to pick up and put away all toys.

also high on my list is organize and clean their closets, dust, clean up all toys outside, unload dishwasher, clean toilets, practice piano, etc.

Emily said...

oh-- forgot-- sort laundry and put it away:)

sorry mya!!!!!!!!!

Mindy said...

Setting the table for lunch or supper.

Sweeping the kitchen floor after a meal - particularly if they make a huge mess at a meal then they must sweep up after themselves.

Making their beds.

Good luck!

Sandra said...

Depending on age of child for this list...
clear of dinner table
dishes in sink when finished eating
Clean rooms
Put away clean folded laundry
Collect trash
Feed dog
dust(use one of those swiffer things for small kids)
use dust buster and sweet under table after each meal(started this last year and my kids still fight over who gets to use the dust buster)
clean toys up once a week in toyroom

We do these weekly and each week on sunday morning they get paid for their chores. If they miss a chore a dollar is removed from their total.(they don't get a dollar for each chore they finish, but 5$ a week and if they miss a chore a dollar is removed for each chore they missed per week), then they divide that money into three slots. Making sure to give one to God, one to savings and one to spending then if they have extra they can choose where to put it.
Its been working so GREAT!!! Chores are so great for kids!!

Michelle P. said...

We are just starting to practice "responsibilities" at our house. Our four year old's list is currently:
Get dressed
Play with baby sister
Set/Clear Table
Carry laundry to laundry room

I was searching for more ideas after reading your post. This website has a nice list of chores for different ages.

Llama Momma said...

I've been doing the list thing this summer, and it's great! I bought each of the boys their own dry erase board, and they love checking it (and erasing) the jobs as they complete them.

I like the system because it allows me to give them more or less work depending on our day. (Home days they have more responsibility than trip-to-the-zoo days.)

A few of the 8-year old jobs:

emptying garbage cans, spot cleaning the kitchen floor, washing windows, cleaning the bathroom, making beds, dusting, vacuuming, picking up toys, washing dishes...the list goes on.

And for the four-year old:

get dressed
brush teeth
clothes in hamper
clean bathroom sink
pick up toys
pull weeds
use a spray bottle of water to spot clean the kitchen floor (his favorite job)

I'm really trying to give the older boys more responsibility this year. Maybe even packing their own lunch for school the night before...we'll see!

Jami said...

all i have to say is that i'm completed impressed with you. i am terrible about being at all consistent with the chores. i need to do better because it is so good for them. mya was making a book, that was a very creative chore the day i called. you are a great mommy!

L, Ann and boys said...

The boys are surprisingly good at laundry. They can sort fold and bring the basket upstairs. I give the boys a laundry basket and have them pick up everything on the floor in a particular room too, then I sort it out. The boys clear the table as others mentioned and can set it too. They sweep under the table after very messy meals. One thing not listed by others that boys love is picking up sticks in the yard before mowing. Also sweeping the deck or watering my plants is a good one because they like to be outside. Noah has to clean his guinea pig cage once a week which is a big job even for me-that's what pets are for though right. =) Yesterday Noah pulled weeds for me and was much better at it than I thought he would be. It seems like they do about as much as you put in front of them-I'm always surprised what they can do by 4 or 5.

Janie S. said...

Hey Megan!
I have a list like lots of the other moms, I am not wonderful at implementing it. But most days the girls do make beds and do my general bidding. As far as allowance, Carrie is almost 7 and gets 4 quarters a week no matter what, and it is divided into 3 jars: savings, spending, charity. She can do other chores to earn extra money or she can pull her teeth out. (I found her this week in the bathroom with the tweezers twisting her kind of loose tooth OUT. Bloody and gross, but effective. The tooth fairy did indeed have to come to our house...) My sister suggested the division of allowance for chores and allowance for teaching.

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Cindy said...

This isn't an item for a chores list, but one of the most effective tools that I had for keeping things orderly and structured in our home was 'room check'. When I said 'room check' before bed, everyone had a different room or area of the house that they were responsible for straightening up. For example, one child would have the foyer, steps and bedroom. Another would have a bathroom, mudroom and her bedroom, and so on. Each person went into their areas and checked for anything out of place such as shoes, socks, newspapers, school work, or anything that got left out during the day. It took about 5 minutes for us to get the whole house in order and get everything returned to where it belongs. I always took the hardest room--the kitchen and Brad usually had the family room. It worked great for us and we continued it until our children were quite old. My best to you. Cindy E.

Nog Blog said...

How about picking a new recipe from a cookbook with pictures, memorizing a short Bible verse, writing (or dictating) a note to Grandma or Grandpa, using the camera to take 10 pictures of the day to show Daddy when he gets home, coming up with one idea on their own to add to the day's list...just trying to think of some different things to add to the usual list of household chores, hopefully to keep them enthused with the list. Some of them add a little to your work, but might keep the list interesting for you, too.
Judy K.

Nog Blog said...

Another "extra" to the list I thought of especially for older kids...make a list of people to pray for, and also a personal prayer request list. Even the little ones just going into school can put the teacher, different classmates, etc. on their list to pray for. It would be good for them to know, too, that their parents are praying for specific little requests for them throughout their school days. The bigger kids like Mya can help the little ones come up with a very simple list for them. I wish I had done more of this with my kids when they were growing up, instead of concentrating so much on running them around from one activity to another.

And to add to the practical side: sweep out the garage, smash pop cans or other recyclables, straighten out their bookshelves.