August 30th, 2011 - Category: Chores
If your kids are like, well, any other kids in the world, one of their favorite phrases is, “That’s not fair.” And no matter how many times you explain that life is not fair, they will continue to use that phrase as a legitimate argument.
This is very true of doing chores. If you’ve ever had a chore chart before, you understand what I am talking about. One of your children may feel as if they have to clean the bathrooms more often than anyone else. Another child may complain that they have twice the number of chores assigned to them. And still, another child may feel that their chores take longer to complete.
You will never be able to create the perfect chore chart where everyone is happy. (Mostly because kids aren’t real excited about helping with chores.) But maybe there are a few things you can do to make life at your house just a little more “fair”. We’re not going to guarantee that these work, but they’re just some ideas we came up with after working with our own children.
Try to avoid the gender-based chores. If you have a ten-year-old son, then he probably gets assigned the chore of mowing the lawn, right? That’s understandable. Boys tend to be stronger physically than girls. But making boys do “boy chores” and girls do “girl chores” will hardly help your children feel better about their work load. Besides, at some point, both your boys and your girls will be living on their own. They need the experience of being able to do both kinds of chores.
Switch it up. No one wants to do the same chores over and over and over again. As adults, is something we have to deal with. But if vacuuming is easier for your child than doing the laundry, give them a chance to vacuum. As you divide chores among your children, come up with some backup plans, or ways to keep the chores rotating. One additional benefit to switching things up is the change in who is whining. If kid 1 cries about life being unfair today, at least he’ll be on to something new next week.
Divide the tough stuff. How often do we say we’re going to clean out the garage or the attic one day? Those are some difficult chores to tackle. They could take hours, even days to complete. If you have those kinds of chores to be completed, don’t take them on yourself. Your kids can help. But you need to carefully describe what each child should be doing. Otherwise, one person will be completing more work than another and come to you complaining. Divide large chores into smaller chunks and then let the children get started.
Reward greater effort with greater rewards. No amount of parenting is going to make all your children equally reliable or hard working. So try to reward the chores that take the most time with an additional benefit. Also, create a system where you can give extra rewards to children who do an exceptionally fine job on their work.
Let your children see you working. No, you don’t have to add your name to the chore chart (although that’s not a bad idea). But if you work alongside your children, they will be less likely to complain about their own workload. They need to see you working with them to create a clean, pleasant home to work in. It creates a bond between you and your children so they can feel like part of a team instead of like slaves.
Dividing up the chore chart properly is an important part of maintaining your home and your family. Take the time to really evaluate what each child in your family is expected to complete and decide whether they are being treated “fairly” or being sufficiently compensated.
If you don’t have a chore chart that works for you, then you really need to check out MyJobChart.com.
August 23rd, 2011 - Category: Charts
Over the weekend, I was surprised to see a Facebook friend of mine post this statement: Just completed what seems like the millionth chore chart/program for my children. I think the greatest accomplishment of my life will be finding a way of instilling them with a work ethic that WORKS!
Why was I surprised? Well, for a few reasons. 1) I obviously haven’t spread the word about MyJobChart.com far enough. 2) Lots of people are still trying to create their own chore charts and struggling to get their kids to follow them.
So this blog post is to serve two purposes. The first is to tell people who have not tried MyJobChart.com to at least give it a chance. You may be surprised at how eager your children are to give this one a shoot. And you’ll love how easily it works…so you can focus on other things.
The second purpose is to discuss the objections parents or kids might have to using an only chore chart:
What if we don’t get on the computer very often? Okay, so many families don’t spend a whole lot of time on the computer. But let me ask you this? Do you check your email? At least on a daily basis? Of course you do. With MyJobChart.com, all your children need is just a few minutes to login and update their chores for the day. Our experience has been that a children enjoy logging in to their own account much more than the paper or chart systems being used right now. Once they get used to it, they’ll have no problem keeping their information updated.
What if my kids are too young to use the computer? If your children are really little, then yes, you may need to rethink your chore chart system. But I’ve known 18 month olds that know how to unlock iPhones and open up their favorite apps. There is no risk for trying MyJobChart.com. It’s a free account. Teach your child how to use it, and if they can’t pick up the process, then you could try something else.
What if I don’t want to spend the time looking up my child’s progress? I’d rather just look at the refrigerator. Here’s the thing…although you may save time by having a print out or chore chart form on the fridge, you’re probably going to spend hours creating your chore charts, calculating allowance, etc. MyJobChart.com let’s you make changes any time you want to and will do all your calculations for you. And hey, if you need a visual update on the fridge, then print off your chore chart and have your children mark both places when they finish their chores.
For every parent, getting your kids to complete and track their chores can be a real nightmare. But with MyJobChart.com, you get all the benefits of something that is fast, fun to use, and easy to adapt if you need it.
The next time I see a Facebook post from one of my friends, I hope it says something like: Using MyJobChart.com to keep the family moving forward. It’s working great.
August 16th, 2011 - Category: Kids and Reading
We’ve already written a few articles about the benefits of kids reading. And in those articles we gave you all kinds of facts about how kids that read perform better in school. So we’re not going to rehash that information. Today, we want to focus on how difficult it is to get kids to read.
Sure, you may have a child or two or even three who read voraciously – perhaps to the point that you wish they’d get outside and do something else. But not all of us are that lucky. For many parents, just putting kids and reading in the same sentence sounds like wishful thinking.
So what makes the difference between the two? What would cause one kid to want to read and another to do everything they can do avoid it?
Here are some thoughts:
Your attitude toward reading is going to affect how your children feel about it. If they see you pick up a book once in a while, they may engage in the same behaviors. However, if you’re like most parents, you come home from a long day of work and just want to vegetate. So you flip on the t.v. instead. That’s understandable behavior. But if that’s what you’re determined to do day in and day out, then expect the same attitude from your children.
Also, many children seem to have preconceived notions that reading is boring, or tough, or a waste of time. It’s important for parents to make a positive correlation between reading and their kids. One way to accomplish that goal is to give them something enjoyable to read. If they’re not into the classics, don’t hand them Robinson Crusoe.
Getting kids to read is as simple as buying them a monthly magazine subscription. “Highlights” has some great stories for younger children. And once your kids hit those teenage years, feel free to give them “Seventeen” magazine or something similar. No, fun magazines may not stimulate your child’s intelligence. But any kind of reading is going to be beneficial to your children.
You may also want to try playing some games. Scrabble and other word games may encourage your child to read a little more often and pick up a larger vocabulary. Seeing their parents take an interest in them can really do a lot to help encourage kids. You may ask them to help you complete a word puzzle or crossword. Play spelling games in the car and try to just have fun with words.
If nothing else works, then add reading to your child’s chore chart. When reading becomes a chore and they refuse to do it, go ahead and make it a chore. Whether they enjoy it or not, at least your children will be getting the full benefits of reading.
Don’t make the assumption that just because your kids are in school they are learning everything they need to know. Get your kids reading more now. And if you have to make reading a part of the chores, then by all means try it.
August 9th, 2011 - Category: Chores
As a kid, your parents almost certainly assigned you chores. But…as we are somewhat older now, and technology back then was limited, your chores were probably written on a sheet of paper and taped to the fridge. If you’re a little bit younger than some of us, you may have used the chore chart form that came complete with stickers blank spaces for extra chores to be filled in.
Now, you’ve got your children on some sort of chore system. If you didn’t, you probably would have never found this blog post.
But here is our question to you today – are children the only ones who need a chore chart? Or would you still benefit from putting one together for yourself? Here are a few reasons chore charts are still a great idea whether you’re 10 or 40:
-You can stay more organized. If you’re like many adults, you have a to-do list. But what are you writing on that to-do list? Clean the house? How many different chores are involved in cleaning the house? Or working in the yard? A chore chart would certainly help you decide what things in the house need to be cleaned or what work in the yard needs to be done.
-You can plan ahead. In addition to knowing what needs to be done now, you can plan chores for the future. For example, washing windows or wiping down the baseboards are once-in-a-great-while kind of chores. But they need to be done occasionally. Planning ahead will not only keep your house spotless, but it will make your future plans easier to figure out.
-You can track the work you do. As adults who own our own homes, we have a vested interest in completing our “chores”. But that doesn’t mean it’s easier for us than it is for our children. However, if we track our progress (and even reward ourselves for the work we do) we’ll be much more inclined to get things done.
-You can assign chores more effectively. If there are two adults in the home, dividing up the chores can be rather painful. One adult may feel as though they are primarily managing the workload. A chore chart is a great way to split up the responsibility and make sure both adults are doing their fair share of the work.
Maintaining a home, yard and other personal belongings takes a lot of work. Which is part of the reason getting your children to help with chores makes so much difference in a family. But the same principles that work in keeping your children organized and staying on task can be used for adults.
August 3rd, 2011 - Category: General Parenting
For many of you, summer is still going strong. But here in the great state of Arizona, our children have already returned to school. And naturally, with a new school year, parents are gearing up, hoping this year they don’t have to battle with their children over maintaining good grades.
As a kid, I was always jealous of the students who got money based on how good their grades were. I thought my parents should adopt the same system. As a parent of six children, who all managed to bring home decent grades, that idea didn’t sound appealing anymore. I couldn’t stand the thought of forking out money for the number of A’s and B’s my children brought home.
So today, we want to give you a few ideas for encouraging good grades without bribing your kids.
First, encourage your students to join sports teams. At most middle and high schools, students have to maintain a C average in order to participate in sports. If your children have a genuine interest in participating, they’ll do what it takes to keep their grades up and still enjoy the benefits of being on a team.
Furthermore, many of your children’s teachers will notify you if your children are at risk for losing sports privileges. Sometimes, when your students are failing, you hear nothing about it until it’s too late (or nearly too late) to do anything about it.
Second, add reading and other school projects to your child’s chore chart. For many kids, organization is their biggest challenge in school. Not remembering to complete book reports or research papers could seriously affect their grades. But it’s not uncommon for many of these assignments to slip your child’s mind. If it’s on the chore chart, they won’t forget…and neither will you.
You may want to add reading to your child’s chore chart as well. Research has shown that the more a child reads, the better they do in school overall. But not every child is going to choose to pick up a book. If one of their chores includes reading for twenty minutes a day, you are helping them gain valuable skills and knowledge.
Third, start a college fund and frequently talk to your children about the value of their education. For many kids, a few words of encouragement are all they need to try their best. Your children want to know that you’re proud of them and you have high expectations of them and their future. By creating a college fund, your child is more likely to see a reason for performing well in school.
Nagging rarely works, but if you take the time to talk to your kids about their education, you may be surprised at how readily they respond. And spend part of your time together discussing what they learn. They may find school much more interesting if they have someone to share their new knowledge with.
I’m not saying that you can’t bribe your students with good grades. If that works in your family, by all means, do it. Education is important no matter what you devices you have to employ. But if you can get away without losing all your cash, that may be a better route to go.