Chore Charts That Work
Linda Wechter-Ashkin PhD NCSP BC-TMHC ADHD-CCSP
Chores are part of life. We all have to do them as adults unless we can afford and choose to hire someone to do them for us. Chores need to be part of your child’s life but as parents we also need to be reasonable. I have known 22 year old’s that live at home and have no responsibility and 4 year old’s that are scrubbing toilets. We need to create reasonable expectations for what our children should be doing and then reasonable rewards for completing their responsibilities.
- For toddlers chores should be limited to cleaning up after themselves and they should be rewarded for doing so. This means shoes in the bin, toys away, clothes in the laundry basket. Toddlers love praise but something like a sticker book might also be a good incentive.
- For preschool children you can add 1 or 2 additional chores such as bringing their plate to the sink and kind of making their beds. Rewards can be treasure box items, desserts, special time with a parent
- For elementary school children we might add another chore or 2 with cleaning up after themselves being expected by now. Now they may be responsible for putting all of the dishes in the sink as well as making their beds. Rewards can be treasure box items, desserts, special time with a parent or time on their computers
- As children get to middle and high school responsibilities can increase with additional chores that can be done for additional payment. At this age money usually works the best especially if you don’t hand them money without them having to earn it. At this age you will need to have some leniency in the time frame especially if the child is very involved in extra curriculars. It might be best then to assign chores that are not urgent such as cleaning their bathroom once each week.
- The most important thing with chores is consistency. Same chores for the same child all the time with the same rewards. Clear and consistent.
- If the chore is done in the designated time frame there is a reward but if it is not the chore still needs to be done. The reward may be missed but the responsibility does not go away.
- Start as a toddler and be clear and consistent and chores will be a non-issue as long as they are age appropriate.