Today I want to introduce the best Chore Chart we ever used (and didn’t use). Chore Charts can be very helpful, but we’ve found this to be the best solution yet. I’ll explain how our kids Swap Chores For ScreenTime.
While many different chore charts can be very helpful, we’ve found these to be the best. Once we invented, designed, printed and implemented our swap screentime for chores cards, we realized that they were the easiest & best solution yet.
Swapping Chores for Screen Time works. Not only do kids learn to work hard, but it also eliminates the guilt that is associated with screentime or electronic use… because they are EARNING it. You are paying them with screentime (which is a luxury) instead of cash. (Of course, you can give them the option.)
Plus, we’ve found (and heard through others who have used our cards) that their children are helping out more around the house. They are asking to do more chores. The best part is that the adult is not yelling or nagging them about their chores.
When we begin to use a chore chart as a way to help our children to become more responsible or to help out more, it will either work like a charm or fail miserably. Having a chore chart for kids is definitely a good idea, as long as it does not become MORE work for the parent.
That’s where chore charts usually go downhill…
Chore Charts usually stop working or begin to go downhill when it becomes more work to keep up with (for the family). When the CHART becomes another CHORE in itself.
I want to tell you a story about my friend, Kelly.
I am changing her name today for this post. As a child development therapist, I have worked with many families. I help children and families with specific needs and each family is just as important as the other. However, the one that stood out to me the most was the Dove family.
Kelly Dove had three young children, ages 3, 7 and 11. She was a fantastic mother. Kelly had been a Kindergarten teacher for ten years before she quit teaching to raise her children. She was an involved and caring mother, yet her children didn’t seem to appreciate her.
She tried everything. She had a kids chore chart hanging on her wall, she spent hours every week trying to figure out which chore chart ideas were going to work best, but in the end, none were working for her because they were all causing her more work than benefit.
She felt like they weren’t helping out, but instead, they were spending more time on electronics: watching TV, playing games on their iPods, talking to friends on their iPads, playing with their tablets, playing on her laptop, playing video games… She was frustrated by the change in her children’s behavior. When they had a free minute, they were grabbing their video game controls or their tablets.
Kelly felt like her kids were taking her for granted. The worst part was that they were starting to lose the connection & bond with her, and with each other. She valued their relationship and didn’t want to lose it.
They were always on electronics, they were arguing more, and they weren’t helping out around the house.
Even though Kelly had printable chore charts for each of her kids, they weren’t using them. Her children were no longer doing simple chores or keeping their rooms clean, let alone utilizing the family chore chart. They had stopped cleaning up after themselves.
Her children had even stopped putting things away when they were finished. They weren’t playing nicely with one another, and they were bickering more. Worst of all, they had started talking back to her.
She was at the end of her rope.
What did we do? We started swapping chores for screen time.
By Swapping Chores for Screentime, they learned that in order to have screen time, they had to help out first.
When they helped the family out, they were rewarded.
In the end, the parents were able to have help around the house and they still could allow their kids to have screentime because they had earned it. Plus, they weren’t spending all of their time on electronics because now they only had the time that they had earned, so it was limited.
Chore Chart Benefits – The valuable lessons behind swapping chores for screen time
– The Value of Hard Work
– Building their character
– Learning about the contribution to the family responsibilities
– Work Before Play
As a parent, you can feel OK about allowing them to have some downtime to kick back and relax after they have completed their work. You’ve taught them a great life-lesson.
It is so simple.
And let the kids pick their chores.
The chore basket is probably the easiest chore system that you are ever going to find. It makes it so easy!
If I need their help, I have them pick out 2-3 chores and they do whatever is on the card.
Also, because I’ve explained why I need their help (part of the family, more time to play if we finish our chores, etc…) they usually don’t complain.
BONUS: Use the Chore Chart Cards to encourage independent play or sibling play (or as a thank-you for babysitting the younger kids):
That’s it. It is simple and easy.
Update: This email just came in…
“The cards work! Like they really work! We didn’t have to use them long (just a few weeks) because the habits were picked up by our kids rather quickly. Then they just started helping more and reaching for their devices less and less. These cards are amazing. I wish I had used them years ago!”