What chores are important for your children to learn and what are they capable of doing? And how do you get them to do it?
I have tried several reward systems with my little ones… I had pennies, stickers, charts, but seemed to have fallen short as the mom with any attempt I made. I needed a system that they were excited about that teaches the kids the difference between a chore and a life skill.
A dear friend of mine said to use colored puffs and I immediately bought them and put a system in effect. I bought three large mason jars and used black label stickers with a white marker. I love the jar system in addition to Erin Condren's Functional Family Deluxe Set for my kids to see what they can do each day. The kids loved the extra large jars and were immediately excited about what they could get if they filled their jars with puffs. However, instead of getting a toy, I changed the rules. After each child gets to 100 puffs they get to choose what we are doing as a family.
What I like most about this is that you can change the award. One month you can let your child choose a date with one of their parents, or choose the family dessert on the weekend. Finally, something thats working.
One challenge I noticed is making their goals age appropriate. Obviously my four year old can't read for 30 minutes like my nine year old can, so you have to give age appropriate goals for each of them. They like to work for puffs, so I created different tasks they can choose from, whether a chore for our home or a life skill that can help with independence.
THE GOAL: To get to 100 puffs! Or you can create the amount… Easy Peasy… Right?
THE REWARD: The kids gets to choose the reward but it can't be an object! They get to choose our family activity: go to the beach, hiking, dog beach, surfing, movies… whoever gets to 100 gets to choose first.
THE SITUATION: Each child gets a jar and has to work towards getting puffs. You create the rules as the parents. I created what works for our house. You decide what works for you. I do allow them to earn extra puffs for various reasons… For example, I am trying to get my daughter to read past her 20 minutes, so sometimes I offer her a puff if she reads longer to me.
CONSEQUENCES: Just like puffs are given, they can be taken away. I take puffs away for not using manners, or being rude to a sibling. They don't like this part, but like I said earlier, these babes need structure and its my job to give it to them.
Here are some ideas for age appropriate chores….
Ages 2 and 3
Assist in making their beds
Pick up playthings with your supervision
Take their dirty laundry to the laundry basket
Fill a pet's water and food bowls (with supervision)
Help a parent clean up spills and dirt
Ages 4 and 5
Get dressed with minimal parental help
Make their bed with minimal parental help
Bring their things from the car to the house
Set the table with supervision
Clear the table with supervision
Help a parent prepare food
Help a parent carry in the lighter groceries
Match socks in the laundry
Answer the phone with parental assistance
Be responsible for a pet's food and water bowl
Hang up towels in the bathroom
Clean floors with a dry mop
Ages 6 and 7
Make their bed every day
Choose the day's outfit and get dressed
Write thank you notes with supervision
Be responsible for a pet's food, water and exercise
Vacuum individual rooms
Wet mop individual rooms
Fold laundry with supervision
Put their laundry in their drawers and closets
Put away dishes from the dishwasher
Help prepare food with supervision
Empty indoor trash cans
Ages 8 to 11
Take care of personal hygiene
Keep bedroom clean
Be responsible for homework
Be responsible for belongings
Write thank you notes for gifts
Wake up using an alarm clock
Wash the family car with supervision
Prepare a few easy meals on their own
Clean the bathroom with supervision
Learn to use the washer and dryer
Walk the dogs and play fetch
Put all laundry away with supervision
Take the trash can to the curb for pick up
Test smoke alarms once a month with supervision
Ages 12 and 13
Take care of personal hygiene, belongings and homework
Write invitations and thank you notes
Set their alarm clock
Maintain personal items, such as recharging batteries
Change bed sheets
Keep their rooms tidy and do a biannual deep cleaning
Take care of pets
Change light bulbs
Change the vacuum bag
Dust, vacuum, clean bathrooms and do dishes
Mow the lawn with supervision
Baby sit (in most states)
Prepare an occasional family meal
Ages 14 and 15
Responsible for all personal chores for ages 12 and 13
Responsible for library card and books
Do assigned housework without prompting
Do yard work as needed
Walk the dog (take care of pets)
Prepare food — from making a grocery list and buying the items (with supervision) to serving a meal — occasionally
Wash windows with supervision
Kids thrive on structure, and to be completely honest with you, so do I. Having a large family and two fur babies there has to be a system in place. Sure, I thrive on chaos, but a more structured chaos is what I prefer.
With my new found reward system with colored puffs in mason jars, life has been a little bit more easier, or shall I say more on task. It took a village of friends to cheer me on and help me adjust to having my fourth baby, it surely will take my village of children to keep our house flowing and functional. So happy my friend told me about these puffs. Let me know what you are using at home. What works? What doesn't? Comment below!