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Making Chore Charts Fair

November 30th, 2011 - Category: Charts

Life isn’t fair. It’s the lesson you’ve been trying to get your kids to understand for years. But no matter how many times you say it, your children will still expect fairness. It’s almost a disease among young kids – to expect the world to deal with everyone equally.

However, as a parent, you probably do want things to be as fair as possible for your kids. You’d hate to have your children feel they’re getting the short end of the stick. You want them to feel like home is a safe and welcoming place to be.

Now on to the difficult topics. No child really wants to do chores. They only do chores to earn their allowance (or avoid getting in trouble). Even knowing there will always be chores, your child will complain at times. And the last thing you want to hear from your child is: those chores aren’t fair. So here are some ideas to make sure chores stay fair and your children don’t have that excuse to stand on.

Don’t ask them to do anything personal. A friend of mine grew up with the following chores on her chore chart: clean master bathroom, vacuum office, wash and fold all the laundry. In other words, this friend was expected to clean up after her parents. The parents reasoned that they worked all day so the children could surely take care of these additional chores. My friend always resented cleaning up after the “adults”.

Reward them for their efforts. If it’s on the chore chart, then make sure your children are rewarded for it in some way. If you have chores on the chore chart that don’t help the child in some way, reconsider it. Having your children do chores for “free” (unless it’s cleaning their room or doing something similarly personal) is not fair.

Switch things up. If you have more than one child, you’ve got to switch the chores around. Otherwise, you’re going to hear phrases like, “I always have to wash the toilets. It’s not fair.” And that’s true. Unless your children share all the chores, someone will always get stuck with a more difficult lot.

Chip in when things are exceptionally different. After a big event (like Thanksgiving dinner), you need to take kitchen clean-up off the chore chart. That’s simply not fair to the child whose turn it is to keep the kitchen clean. The same idea holds for mowing the lawn after being on vacation for two weeks or doing chores while you have guests in town. Chores should be adjusted according to the circumstances in your house. And chip in when you need to.

If only the world were fair, you wouldn’t even have to create a chore chart. Your children would simply do what needed to be done. But until your children are grown, fairness has to be according to their terms. If you want your home to run smoothly, you need to keep your chore chart as fair as possible.

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