Keeping the house clean & organized is like grabbing spaghetti out of a hot pan and thinking you might actually hold onto a few strands. Especially for Type-A parents like myself who achieve calm and balance when the house is in some kind of order, cleaning seems like an insurmountable hurdle at times.
We’re constantly wondering how the kids can be more involved, and have tried a multitude of systems and chore charts over the years. Let’s just say we make some progress, but that this “chore” is in a constant state of evolution.
I love this guest post from My Job Chart Founder Gregg Murset, where he shares some inside knowledge on when and how we can get the kids on board. I wanted to share a great line from Gregg’s description of why he developed My Job Chart: “Currently there are numerous studies saying the same thing — kids may not know how to work, kids spend too much watching TV and playing video games, and kids don’t understand the basic fundamentals of managing money. Now My Job Chart can help reverse these trends by parents and kids working together to turn teachable moments into productive work and smart money decisions.”
When and How to Start Chores
By Gregg Murset
You Can Feel It … Most parents get “the feeling” when their children are capable of learning something new or taking on a task. It’s no different with picking up responsibilities around the house. Don’t ignore your gut and begin recognizing that your kids can be a get help to you.
Start Them Young … The basic rule is – if your children are old enough to take toys out to play, then they are old enough to put them away. The same goes with most other things around the house, even clothes, dishes, video games or items used out at the pool.
It’s Your Call … Don’t let so-called experts put an age range on particular jobs your kids could be doing. While it might not make sense to someone living in big city why a 10-year old would ever run lawnmower, in America’s heartland, it’s not uncommon for a 10-year old handling equipment on the farm. If you know they can complete harder chores safely, maybe you should let them try. It’s your call.
Understand Why It’s Important To Have Kids Do Chores & Receive Rewards … Using chores & rewards to teach our kids about responsibility, accountability and money has been around for decades. It’s easy, effective and can change as your child grows. Kids need structure and providing them with a daily routine or responsibilities, only help them later in life.
Be Consistent … When it comes to kids doing chores around the house, often there is only one thing stopping the kids – parents. Whether it’s because we get busy and forgot, get tried of nagging or just find it quicker to do it ourselves, parents are often the reason kids stop doing chores. Parents need to be consistent, demanding and set proper expectations when it comes to chores.
Be Fair … Kids understand right and wrong or fair and unfair. Separate the chores evenly or rotate them so the worst chores aren’t always with one child. If you are rewarding your children for jobs well done, don’t be afraid to compensate one child more than another if the chores they handle are more difficult or are less attractive.
Don’t Let Other Things Get In The Way … Dance practice, music lessons, football games, baseball practice and homework are just a few things your child has on their plate each day. As a parent, teach your child from an early age how to manage time and set priorities, by doing all these things plus the daily chores. There are life lessons in everything, don’t drop off things around the house because outside activities make life busy. We certainly can’t do that as adults, can we?
Stress Saving & Sharing … If you provide a reward for your kids, make sure to stress saving and sharing. Everyone knows how to spend … it’s like breathing … you just do it. Saving and sharing takes practice, a plan and often some research. In the long run, however, your kids will see the benefits and continue to do these things as adults. It’s like riding a bike – learn it early in life and you can always do it again later. Learn it later in life and it’s more difficult.
About the Guest Author
Gregg Murset, CFP, is Founder & CEO of My Job Chart, and the father of six kids. His company tagline, “where kids, work and reward click,” describes the apps he has developed to help families increase accountability, responsibility, and problem solving.
Photo provided by My Job Chart showing Gregg’s own kids in action!