August 26, 2009

The Trouble With the Chore Chart

This week I finally implemented our chore chart. I decided to incorporate the beginning of chores with the beginning of school. If my daughters are expected to clean up at preschool, then surely they should be expected to clean up at home.
There are three chores they must complete each day: make their beds, pick up their toys and put their clothes in the hamper. With the completion of each task a sticker is placed on the chart. Certain spaces on the chart have a star. When a sticker covers the star they get to pick a prize.
Typically they'll be picking a prize once a week. In order to have them grasp the concept, their first "prize spot" came on the second day of the chore chart. I had already shown them the prizes they could pick so they were very excited to dig into the prize bag.
Ever since seeing the prizes Tortilla talked nonstop about the Hello Kitty hair clips in the bag. She couldn't wait to pick them. Cakes insisted she wanted a rainbow head band. Then the big day came. Roo picked first. She chose a blue Iron Man frisbee. Then Tortilla picked. I mentioned the hair clips, but she was adamant about picking an orange Iron Man frisbee. Cakes picked the rainbow head band. Sue Sue chose an Elmo book. Hubby, Roo and Tortilla had fun playing with the frisbees, but ten minutes later Tortilla decided she didn't like the frisbee. She wanted the hair clips. I explained several times that she'll have to wait until the next "star space" to pick a prize and then she can choose the hair clips. She was not happy. After awhile Roo wanted to give up her frisbee for an Elmo book.
I'm sure some parents would argue that I should simply stop giving my children prizes for doing chores. I look at it as a teaching tool. They don't receive prizes every day, but it's a way to get them excited about taking on responsibilities.
In some ways, I think the prize bag is helping them more than the actual act of doing their chores. They're learning how to make choices. They're also learning the consequences of choices. We're just a few days away from the next "prize space" and I will be encouraging each of them to think long and hard about which prize they'll choose.

10 comments:

Stephanie B said...

I'm with you. I think the choosing of the prizes is a big part of this. I used to give my daughter choices when she was very young and explained the consequences of the choices. I believe it has made things much easier later in life because she understands consequences better and accepts them when they come up.

Stephanie Manner Wagner said...

We actually use a site called handipoints to rack chores with my 8 & 10 year old. It allows them to earn points and redeem them for prizes you set or for "other rewards" you set.

Examples being a lot of points could add up to inviting a friend over for a playdate, going for ice cream, getting to choose the game on game night, picking what's for dinner, picking the movie, or picking from the prize box.

You can also choose to have the child lose points for bad behavior.

I really like the points system because they can learn the concept of "saving up" as well as go for more instant rewards.

Quadmama said...

One thing I've considered is eventually moving to an allowance with some of it going to savings and the rest can be spent at the dollar store at the end of the month.

MaryAnne said...

I actually remember having a prize chart when I was around your daughters age, and it definitely taught me some good lessons in making choices...

Brooke said...

I'm really interested to hear how your sticker chart goes. I tried that a few times but Mo got into the stickers and decided to fill in the spaces at will. So far so good with our experiment in allowance though. I could tell he really started to grasp it today at the doctor's office when he burned through the pennies I gave him to throw in the fountain and I said if he wanted more change, he could use he allowance money. That stopped him cold.

Quadmama said...

Clever Mo filling in the spaces himself. I have the stickers in a spot where (so far) they can't reach them.

Marilynne said...

Every toy they pick up, every bit of clothing tossed in the hamper is one you don't have to pick up and a start to learning good habits. They seem also to be learning about choosing their prizes carefully.

Good job Mom!

Quadmama said...

Some days it's still a struggle, but overall this system is really working.

jungletwins said...

Great plan! I think the prize chart is an excellent way to get kids to do chores without resenting it. I definitely want to introduce one when my girls are older.

Quadmama said...

Mine are almost four and I think if I had tried this much sooner the concept would have been lost on them.

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