I need help coming up with a chore chart for my three children (14-year-old daughter and two sons, 11 and 10) so there is no whining or complaining when it's their turn to do a chore.
A chore chart is a great idea, especially with three children in the home. Chore charts are useful because children know what is expected of them each day and chores can be fairly distributed. Here’s our advice on how to create a chore chart:
- Divide your chores into daily and weekly duties.
- Look at pictures of chore charts online to get an idea for how you want yours to look. It can be simple or elaborate, depending on how much time you have and your style and personality.
- Set simple incentives to motivate your kids to complete weekly chores. These positive consequences don’t have to cost anything; for example, give an extra hour of TV that weekend or extend curfew by an hour.
- Consider what consequences your kids receive for not completing chores. (Adding chores may not be an effective consequence since they had trouble completing chores to begin with.) Consequences could include not being able to out that weekend or not using any electronics on Friday night. Think about your list of consequences, both positive and negative.
I have three children, two boys ages 11 and 9, and a girl who is 6. The two boys fight regularly and it is a challenge to get them to do their chores. It is difficult to be patient with them. What can I do to establish a routine for them?
Parenting can be tough and often requires you to re-establish rules, guidelines and consequences. We all need reminders to keep us on track and within acceptable boundaries; that’s why we have speed limit signs posted at regular intervals along our roads and freeways. If there was only one sign, we would soon find ourselves traveling too fast or not adjusting our speed when driving through certain areas for safety. When speeding occurs, there are negative consequences such as fines and warnings.
It’s no different in your home. As a parent, you should have expectations for your children. You are responsible for setting the rules and stating your expectations clearly and specifically. Set routines and keep your kids on track with reminders such as charts or schedules. If they do not comply or meet your expectations, you must re-teach skills and issue negative consequences to discourage their negative behavior.
At a neutral time, record your home rules, behavioral expectations and privileges on a chart that can be posted on the refrigerator or somewhere your kids can see it. Tell your children that if they don’t meet your expectations, they will lose these privileges. Ask your children if they understand your expectations and the consequences, then have each child sign at the bottom of the chart. Begin enforcing the posted house rules immediately.
Now, before all of this is in place, develop a Staying Calm plan for yourself. Identify what your kids do that really upsets you and what you experience when you feel angry. Next, come up with some ways to calm down when you begin to feel yourself getting upset. These may include taking several deep breaths, lowering or softening your voice, or perhaps walking away for a few minutes to remind yourself that you are the adult and won’t allow your kids to control your emotions. Be consistent and stick with it; over time, you will see positive results!
What are some age-appropriate chores for a 10-year-old and a 6-year-old?
Chores are a great way to help children learn a variety of skills. Kids can learn and practice skills such as responsibility, following instructions and accepting feedback by regularly completing chores. Chores give children skills that they will use throughout their lives. When assigning chores, make sure you focus on completion rather than substance; it’s more important that your child completes a task than what the specific task is. Also, let children be part of choosing chores by asking them to help you come up with helpful tasks they can complete.
Sit down together and have a "Family Meeting" to discuss some possible chores for everyone. Make it fun and create a "Job Jar." Have your 6-year-old write his chores on a piece of purple paper and have your 10-year-old write his chores on a green piece of paper. Then put all the chore slips in the Job Jar. Each morning (or night), have your children pull their jobs for the day out of the jar.
There are probably a million tasks around your house that sometimes don’t get done because of your busy schedule! Here are a few ideas for your Job Jar to get you started:
- Wipe off all door knobs in the house.
- Wipe off all baseboards in (list specific room of house).
- Vacuum couch.
- Wipe out inside of trash cans.
- Collect trash on trash day.
- Make beds.
- Sweep porch or garage floor.
- Shake out rugs.
- Empty out one kitchen cupboard and wipe down the inside.
- Go through personal toys and pick out one that isn’t played with much. Give the toy to Goodwill so another child can enjoy it.
You’re the best judge of what will work in your home. Just remember that your focus should be on teaching your children to follow instructions and complete the chores. Try to be creative and make it fun!
My husband and I have three children, ages 17, 12 and 11. I’ve inherited my father’s business, which is located four hours away from our home. For almost a year now, I have been required to be away from home for several days at a time. My husband also works hard, often six 10-hour days a week.
Our children do nothing around the house, and as a result, it looks like a pigsty. There are clothes, dirty dishes and garbage, etc., on the floor. They admit to being lazy but don’t seem to care. We’ve tried rewards, punishments, yelling, etc., to no avail.
Your children are certainly of the age when they can help out around the house. And hopefully, your work situation is temporary. If Mom and Dad are never home, then it is difficult to have a happy home. The longer this situation continues, the more disconnected your family will be.
Serious problem-solving is in order. You need to explore your options:
- Move closer to work so you don’t have to be out of town for long periods of time.
- Enroll the younger two children in school in the town in which you are working. The three of you will be able to ride together during the mornings and evenings.
- The three of you live there during the week and return home on the weekends.
- Sell your father’s business and invest in something close to home.
Whatever you do, your family has to know that you are working toward a solution. Your problem is more than just that your children are not doing their chores. Your family is functioning without a mother. The amount of time their father is around is not enough either.
The 17-year-old may be OK with the current arrangement, but the younger two are not. The behaviors you are seeing now will worsen and possibly lead to undesirable activities.
The consequences are not working because the parents are not around to enforce them. The children are not motivated to do their chores because there is no one present to monitor them.
Many families who own small businesses include all family members on their staff, and the family members earn wages. If this option is explored, a housekeeper could be paid to keep the house in shape.
The bottom line is: Your family needs to come together to discuss a plan for change.
I am a 32-year-old mother of four boys. I discipline by yelling and arguing, and I want to change this pattern. I just get frustrated when my children don’t listen and refuse to do their chores. How can I get my children to listen without resorting to yelling?
When you speak to your sons:
1. Get at their eye level so you can look into each other’s eyes.
2. Remove distractions by turning off the TV or electronic devices.
3. Be aware of your body language and tone of voice. Kids read meaning into them as much as the words you use.
Teach them the following listening skills. They will need to know these social skills throughout their lives. Social skills have behavioral steps, meaning that when your children use them, you will be able to see those behaviors and reinforce them or encourage them to use the ones they have left out.
LISTENING TO OTHERS
When someone is speaking, you should:
1. Look at the person who is talking.
2. Sit or stand quietly.
3. Wait until the person is finished talking. (Don’t interrupt; it will seem like you are being rude or are uninterested.)
4. Show that you understand. (Say “OK,” “Thanks” or “I see.” Ask the person to explain if you don’t understand.)
At a neutral time, remove distractions and teach your boys these skills. Describe what you want them to do (the steps above). Give them a good “kid reason” for doing it that way. A “kid reason” shows the benefit to them and not the adult. Have them practice what you have just taught them. Practice frequently, keep it brief and make it fun.
Give them reasons why listening is an important skill to learn. It shows that you are polite, pleasant and cooperative. It increases the chances that people will listen to you. Listening will also help you do the right thing since you are more likely to understand what the other person has said.
When you observe your sons using these skills or even some of them, reinforce them, praise them for using the skills and describe specifically what they did well. It may sound like this: “Way to go! You are using your listening skills. When Mommy started to talk, you stopped what you were doing and looked right at me. That’s great! Next time, remember to wait until I am finished talking before you ask a question or say OK.”
How do you get a 10-year-old to mind you? My son will not do chores, go to bed or do what he is told in general. He just responds, “No.”
At age 10, your son should be able to sit down with you and discuss the situation. Have this conversation with him when your family is not busy and everyone is calm and neutral. He will feel less defensive and thus, be likely to participate. Tell him what you are seeing and why you want him to change. Make certain you include things that he does well.
Point out how these changes will benefit him. For instance, say “When you do your chores, you will earn more free time and trust. I will be able to trust you to go to the park more often because I know you are following instructions and are being safe.”
He needs to learn to follow instructions. He is to follow your instructions to go to bed and do his chores, and he should answer you with “OK” and not “No.” Many times we tend to tell our children what NOT to do instead of telling them appropriate ways to respond. This includes saying “OK” instead of arguing when we tell them to do something.
Specific links on parenting.org regarding this skill and others are http://www.parenting.org/article/following-instructions, http://www.parenting.org/article/effective-praise-applaud-effort-not-just-outcome-0, http://www.parenting.org/article/listen-get-kids-listen and http://www.parenting.org/article/getting-kids-sleep-using-bedtime-routine.
He is going through a time in his life in which he will be looking toward his peers for approval rather than you for approval and positive reinforcement. Have you seen this? Are his friends becoming more important? This is a normal part of growing up. But try to make sure he is involved with a positive group of kids.
Involve him in sports and other organized activities. Typically, kids who are involved in these types of activities learn to respect other adults, are more motivated to be successful and feel more self-confident.
Also, try to point out all of the positive things he is doing. Studies show that children learn best when we say eight positive things for every correction or negative comment.
My 19-year-old son is very bright, but after two years of college with C and D grades, he seems unmotivated to study or work. All he wants to do is hang out with his girlfriend and play video games. He says he can't find work during the summer, yet I don't see any real attempts to even look. I am a single mother with a 13-year-old son as well. The tension is terrible in the house. I recently told him that if he can't step up, then maybe he'll have to move out. I want him to succeed, but I don’t know how to help him.
Parenting is a tough job no matter what age your children are. The behaviors of your 19-year-old are very concerning and seem quite immature. If your son is really bright, then the grades in college he is earning reflect that there is something going on that is distracting him from applying himself.
The type of schedule he is keeping won’t work if he has a job or is going to school, so he is forming some habits that are setting him up to fail. Watching TV and playing video games is not a realistic way for him to spend his summer.
Does he have chores to do around the house? Is he responsible for cleaning, doing laundry, mowing the lawn or preparing dinner? If not, it is time for that to begin if he is not working at a job outside of the home. And unless you want the same thing to happen with your 13-year-old, we suggest that you make some changes by assigning responsibilities to both of your children. Make the TV, computer and video games off limits until the chores are finished or until you arrive home after work.
As a parent, your responsibility is to help your son develop his independence so he can take care of himself. You might suggest that your son see a counselor to help him work through the issues underlying his behavior. Have a family meeting, and present your expectations to your sons. Make sure the message both of your sons hear is, "As their parent, it is your responsibility to teach them to become independent young men."
My son does not see the importance of performing a task properly the first time. I have tried demonstrating how a particular task should be carried out, but he does not seem to listen and/or care. When his execution fails to meet my expectations, he responds with “Oh yeah, I forgot,” or “Oh, Mom.”
I follow up by first pointing out the things he has done well or correctly. After I have complimented him, I then indicate what he needs to improve on, and then I once again request that he complete the task. When I check up on his progress, I find that he has still not carried out my request. Out of frustration, I order him to do it.
I don’t want to fight with my son. But I do want him to complete tasks to the best of his ability and take pride in doing so.
To continually have to redirect your child to complete a task is frustrating and is a problem with which many parents contend. It is great that you compliment your child on what he is doing right rather than just criticize him on what he is doing wrong. Re-teaching how he should do it is also important. However, this is not working effectively for you. You need to change your strategy to affect a change in your son’s behavior.
So, think of a task you are sure to ask him to complete. Now write down in numbered order the steps needed to complete the task. The next time you ask him to complete a task, hand him the list, review the steps with him verbally and ask him to check off the tasks as he completes them. Ask him how long he thinks it will take him to complete the task. Then check to see if he has any questions.
Hold him accountable by saying that you will check to see if he has completed the task after the designated time passes. If it is completed to your satisfaction and according to the checklist, reward him with your praise and a privilege. If it is not finished or does not meet your expectations, he then forfeits a privilege.
Be consistent regardless of whether the task is involved, such as cleaning his room, or simple, such as taking a shower. Remove all distractions while he is working on the task.
You are most likely frustrated because you are more invested in this than your son is at this point. So make it worth his while to comply. He has to care more than you.