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Archive for April, 2011

Forget the Chores…Go For the Moment

April 26th, 2011 - Category: Family Time

As parents, it’s not uncommon for us to stay laser-focused on the things that just “have to get done.” We have our own to-do list and we try to squeeze our children into that same mold. As you know, this can cause some tension. Kids want to do things on their own time. And the urgency to get things done can make you seem like an ogre.

But how do find a happy balance? What can you do to teach children responsibility, get the chores done, and not be the overbearing parent?

Here’s an idea: don’t focus so much on getting the chores done. They’ll get done; even if it takes an hour instead of 30 minutes. What is important is that you build relationships with your children as you help them develop skills and learn to possibly enjoy their chores.

Below is a list of 5 ideas for making chore time memorable:

Turn on the Radio – doing chores can be fun…if you want it to be. A little bit of music can act as a motivator. If you associate pleasurable things with less-than-fun activities, you can reshape how your children feel about what they are doing.

Interrupt Chores with Some Fun– for example, if you’ve asked your kids to wash the car, take advantage of that opportunity to bond. Sneak up as they work and turn the hose on them. They’ll remember moments like that forever. No, you can’t do it every time they wash the car. But when it’s completely unexpected, go for the moment.

Make it a Game– the chores have to be done. When children are little, we sing the clean-up song to motivate them. Older children don’t want to sing silly songs. But what if you were to set a timer and offer an extra incentive if they get their chores done before it goes off. Or, hide some cash that they’ll only find by doing an exceptional job with their chores (like moving the furniture when they vacuum).

Join Them– as your children grow, it’s easy to let them tackle their chores on their own. After all, you’ve got things to do. But once in a while, find some time to help your child complete their chores. They need to know you still recognize what they are doing.

Skip the Chores– when you see your child dragging their feet about doing chores, why not skip them? Take them to a movie or out to get ice cream. Skipping chores once in a while won’t hurt anything and your child will appreciate your willingness to make them happy more than getting things done.

Switch Things Up– if your child is old enough, offer to switch chores with them. Send them off to the grocery store while you tackle mowing the lawn. A little variety will go a long way in making chores less mundane.

Compliment Their Efforts –just letting your child know their efforts are appreciated can make a big difference. There’s a big difference between doing chores because you have to and doing chores because it makes your parents happy.

Some of our favorite moments are those we’ve spent working side-by-side with our children. It’s a good feeling to know that even “hard work” can be rewarding, memorable and enjoyable. Those are the real skills and feelings you’d like to leave your child with, right?

If you have other ideas for making the most of chore time with your kids, please feel free to leave a comment below. And if you are looking for a way to easily manage your child’s chores, be sure to check out our free online chore chart, MyJobChart.com.

How to Let Young Children Help With Chores without Driving Yourself Crazy

April 19th, 2011 - Category: Teaching Kids to Work

You know the scene…you’re busy cleaning when your young toddler comes over to “help.” Perhaps you’re sweeping the floor when your child finds a second broom and helps by pushing your pile back around the floor. You might be baking cookies when your youngster chooses to help you by adding extra ingredients.

When your time is limited, it’s difficult to be patient. But stopping your child from helping may discourage future attempts. So how do you encourage positive behaviors (like voluntarily helping with chores) without going crazy?

Here are some ideas:

Give Them Their Own Space – if you’re sweeping, why not give your child a small space they are responsible for. Later, you can go back over that area. If you’re cooking, give a few “ingredients” to your youngster and see what they can cook up. By giving your child their own space, they can do the same job as you without getting in your way.

Have Them Complete A Different Job – rather than hand the vacuum over to your three year (because they think they’re old enough to handle it) you could hand them a rag and ask them to dust. Sure, you’ll be dusting later, but for now, your child is busy while you focus on getting those carpets clean.

Purchase Toy Cleaning Objects – some toys, like brooms or mops will only create a bigger mess. But if you want your child to find joy in doing “chores”, a toy vacuum or lawn mower are great toys that won’t create a bigger mess. Forts and tree houses can also be a place for your child to learn responsibility caring for their “homes.”

Learn to Do Your Own Serious Cleaning When You’re Alone – if you don’t mind showing your child how to properly do chores then let them take part in what you’re doing. It’s a good learning experience and really you can do your own cleaning anytime. If it’s something that needs your complete attention, then choose a time when your children are occupied or sleeping.

Stop What You’re Doing – in some cases, toddlers are simply interested in what you’re doing. If they attempt to help, stop what you’re doing, praise them for their work, and then wait until they tire of the chore. If you’re no longer doing the chore, your child will soon wander on their way. Then, you can get back to what you were doing. Just be sure you praise your child for a job well done as they are working.

Give Them Some Pointers – we keep going back to this example, but…if your child grabs a broom to help you out, you don’t have to stop and teach them how to sweep. (They probably wouldn’t follow your lead anyway.) Show them the door and have them sweep their piles out of it. They may actually get some dirt outside and it gives them a direction in which to stay focused rather than pushing things everywhere.

Toddlers and very young children are so sweet. They want to be helpful, and you want to cultivate that desire. But sometimes patience grows thin, especially if you are trying to work on a schedule.

With some of these ideas, perhaps you’ll find a win-win situation. Then, when they’re old enough for real chores, they’ll be more apt to do them. And we can give you a system for managing those chores at www.myjobchart.com.

Have You Heard the MyJobChart.com Story?

April 12th, 2011 - Category: My Job Chart

First of all, if you’ve been using MyJobChart.com to help your kids stay on task with their chores…thank you. It’s absolutely amazing to us that something created specifically to help Gregg’s family could be so beneficial to others.

If you haven’t heard the story of MyJobChart.com, now is your chance. The Arizona Republic, one of Arizona’s premier newspapers recently wrote an article on Gregg and his creation of MyJobChart.com.

You can read the full article here.

In the article, Gregg talks about:

  • Why he created an online chort chart
  • His concern about kids today
  • What he enjoys about MyJobChart.com
  • How MyJobChart.com teaches kids responsibility
  • How this online chore chart has helped his family
  • And more!

Here’s the thing about MyJobChart.com…it was created because there was a real need for a new chore chart system. And it works!

If you haven’t tried this free program yet, you need to check it out and see what a difference it makes in how your kids tackle their chores.

Thanks everyone for making MyJobChart.com such a success!

Use Chore Time to Reinforce Positive Traits in Your Children

April 5th, 2011 - Category: General Parenting

As a parent, there are certain traits you’d certainly like your children to develop. But between school, extra-curricular activities, homework, and friends, how much time do you actually have to observe and reinforce positive traits in your children? Probably not a lot.

So you’ve got to seize the opportunity whenever it occurs. And chores are one of the consistencies that you actually have the chance to observe. So why not use chore time as a time to build your child’s character?

For example:

Your child’s chore is to vacuum the house. One day you notice the child has moved the furniture so they can vacuum under it. After they complete their job, be sure to mention it. You could say something like, “Thanks for getting under the furniture. It shows me you’re committed to doing your work well.”

Your child may roll their eyes, but they’ll be glad you noticed their extra effort. And they’ll be more willing to do it again in the future.

 

You notice a child, whose chore it is to wash the dishes. Throughout the day, they encourage family members to put their dishes in the dishwasher. Then, when it comes time to complete their chore, only a few dishes are sitting in the sink. Think about the benefit of this behavior and mention it to your child.

Let your child learn that work done now pay off in the long run and maybe you can combat the natural instinct to procrastinate.

 

After coming home from school, your child takes the time to relax. But then, they receive a phone call and find themselves rushing from one activity to the next. It’s late when they get home, but they still complete their chores before heading off to bed. Now, maybe you wanted the chores done earlier in the day. But your child just displayed some real character.

Use this example with their chores to praise your child for their sense of responsibility.

 

One child experiences a particularly difficult day. To help them out, a brother or sister completes their chore for them and asks for nothing in return. If you let that one slip, you’re really doing your child a disservice.

Be sure you praise your child for jobs well done and any charitable acts they might complete.

 

On a day to day basis, your children are not going to do a perfect job. They may do the bare minimum just to get done. But on occasion, your children will surprise you. And that’s the time to say something.

It takes extra effort on your part, but watching the effort your children put into their chores will afford you the chance to help them develop their character.