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Goal Setting 101

August 29th, 2014 - Category: Kids and Responsibility



Whether it’s a scholarship that’s in your future or just a desire to get a better math grade than last year, the beginning of the school year is a great time to set some goals.

If you want to ensure that your goals get accomplished, follow these simple tips to keep you on track.


Start by making sure your goals are realistic.

Don’t set yourself up for disappointment by setting goals that you aren’t going to be able to accomplish.  Failure can deflate your confidence and affect other goals as well.  Don’t be vague in your goal setting and set a time limit.


Break it down.

Write down the steps it will take to finish your goal.  Keep track of how far you’ve come and how far you still need to go.  If necessary reward yourself at certain increments to keep your momentum going.


Make yourself accountable.

Tell a friend about your goals and check in with them periodically to make sure that you stay on track.  For more fun, make goals together and have a race to the finish.


Think positive.

Positive thinking is an essential factor when it comes to success.  Use positive language and thoughts when referring to your goals and you may be surprised how much farther you can get.


Goal setting is much more than simply saying you want something to happen. Remember to clearly define exactly what you want and make a plan to get there, and your odds of success will be within your reach.


So, what will you decide to accomplish today?




Work + Positive Attitude = Success

August 12th, 2014 - Category: Teaching Kids to Work, Uncategorized

 work hard


A strong work ethic – one that includes a positive and productive approach to work – is favored at home, at school, and in the work force.


Work ethic doesn’t just consist of the ability to work.  It is comprised of a person’s attitude, feelings, and beliefs about work.  When a person has a good work ethic they understand the benefits and importance of work and it’s ability to strengthen their character for the better.


Whether you have a good or a bad work ethic can determine how you set goals, how reliable you are, and how well you cooperate and communicate with others.  It can also determine the effort, timeliness, dedication, honesty, and determination you put into completing a task.  Your leadership and volunteerism choices are also impacted by your work ethic.


We may be able to bribe or threaten our children into working.  But is that accomplishing what we want it to?


Teaching our children to not only work but to have a positive attitude about work is the key. Here are some tips on how to create a good work ethic in your child.


Let them contribute with chores.

Even young children can do chores.  Parents shouldn’t feel they are burdening kids or robbing them of playtime. Children want to contribute and do things that make them feel valuable. Chores encourage the idea that service is expected in the family. If we don’t invite them to help, we miss an opportunity to teach and they miss an opportunity to learn.


Make Work Positive

If parents can tell or show kids how work contributes to the family’s well-being, children will be more positive about chores. Giving them choices can also help their attitude but don’t let them opt out.  Incentives can also make work more fun.


Let Them Fail

It’s the effort that counts. Don’t expect kids to always do their tasks well but resist the urge to step in and take over. If the child fails to water the plant, let it wilt or die. If teenagers have trouble on a job, or even get fired because they fail to show up on time or do the job correctly, don’t make excuses for them. Let them learn that their actions, or inactions, have consequences. Talk about what happened and ask them what they can do to keep from repeating their mistake. Don’t rub it in, but don’t let them shrug off what happened either.


Explain the “Why” of Work

As children get older, it’s important for parents to discuss the meaning and purpose of work. Now is the time to make it clear that jobs are not done for drudgery’s sake but to create value, make products, or serve people or even a greater good. A young person needs to learn that there is a purpose to work.  That doing a job well makes you a better person and enhances character and self-esteem. One way parents can start this discussion with their kids is by sharing their own work experiences – good and bad – and talk about the lessons they’ve learned and how they were shaped by those experiences.


Teach Patience

In real life, work isn’t always fun.  Sometimes the boss isn’t fair, customers are rude, and hours seem to drag by. Expect teens to complain about their jobs. Let them vent.  In fact, encourage it. After all, adults sometimes gripe about their jobs too. Just be ready to offer encouragement afterwards.


Model Good Work Ethic

Kids learn good work habits when their parents have good work habits. You are the one that can show them that work is important and that it’s part of a balanced life.  Resolve yourself that work is exactly what the name implies – work. There are things in life that aren’t going to be fun to do, but they still have to be done.  As an adult we can still have a positive attitude about it.






Does Your Child Have Leadership Skills?

February 21st, 2014 - Category: Teaching Kids to Work

Does your child have leadership skills


Some kids are just natural born leaders.  You may think that your kid isn’t one of them.   But all kids have leadership potential.   And as parents, we can help develop and enhance those skills that will not only set them up to be leaders, but will also benefit the rest of their lives.

Just pushing someone toward the role of leader doesn’t mean that they will be a good or effective leader.  In fact, the title of leader itself means nothing unless that person has earned it, they have the respect of those around them, and they have the self confidence to do it.

You can start by teaching your child that being a leader means that they are in charge of what happens to them instead of being captive to what someone else says will happen to them.  Following the crowd can leave them open to all kinds of outside influences and affect their choices if they can’t stand up for themselves.

You can also help them develop good communication skills.  Give your child opportunities to speak, listen, and read.  Interacting with others will help develop their understanding of the world and help them develop empathy towards others.

You can encourage their independence.  A 5 year old probably can’t cook eggs for breakfast, but they can pour their own cereal.  Let them grown in your home, where there are safe limits.  Let them play independently and let their imagination grow.  And if they tell you they can do something, let them do it.

Teamwork may seem like a skill that contradicts independence, but they need to realize that a team can get more accomplished than a single person.  The family is a great place to model this principle.

Instill confidence in them. Praise them often.  Remember that what may seem insignificant to you, may mean the world to them.  Help their self esteem grow by letting them do harder things.  Even if it isn’t done perfect, praise them for their effort (and resist the urge to fix it).

Support organization, planning, and strategizing.  Illustrate yourself how to manage time.  Guide them when it comes to goals and help them break down larger tasks into smaller pieces that can be accomplished quicker.  Check lists, in written and picture form, are great ways to help with this.

Most kids know how to manipulate their parents to get what they want, but superior forms of conflict resolution, like negotiating and compromising are great leadership skills to possess.  Teach your kids how to bend.  If they can learn to give as well as take, then everyone wins.

And last but not least, problems happen.  Life isn’t always fair.  Persistence and determination even when things don’t work out is an essential leadership skill.  Solving problems without getting frustrated is a great skill that will help them in all aspects of their life.





Need Some Motivation?

July 30th, 2013 - Category: Teaching Kids to Work


Whether it’s the hall closet that needs organized or the exercise routine you’d like to start, sometimes we all need a little motivation.

It’s happened to all of us.  Somewhere along the way of getting our goals accomplished we get tired, or distracted, or busy with other things. 

It’s not that we lack the desire, just the motivation.  What you need are some motivation tools to pull you through the tough spots. Try some of these suggestions on for starters.


Give yourself a pep-talk.   Five year old soccer coaches (among others) have learned that to get something out of a team of difficult kids, sometimes it helps to yell encouraging remarks.  Try it with yourself.  O.K.  maybe not yell, but try crowding out any negative thoughts by pumping yourself up with happy, supportive self-talk along the way.


Write down your goals.  Before you get overwhelmed with what you’ve gotten yourself into, write down your end goal and then share it with a friend.  They’ll help hold you accountable.


Use a visual reminder.  Take a before picture of what you’d like to change and post it by your written goals.  Look back often to see how far you’ve already come.  And when you’re done, take another picture and post it as well so you can bask in the satisfaction of a job well done.


Reward yourself.  At various milestones along the way, reward yourself with an activity or treat.  Just be sure that your treat doesn’t go against your bigger goal.  Example:  You decide to go out for ice cream because you just lost 10 pounds.


Have a buddy.  Misery loves company…can you think of anyone that would like to join in on your misery?  Working together may actually make the job go smoother and faster and make it more enjoyable.  You’ll have someone to bounce ideas off of and can offer an objective point of view if necessary.  A friend can also keep you focused and hold you accountable.


Well, whatever it is that you have on your list of goals, let me be the first to offer a word of encouragement.  Good luck and stay motivated until the end!


Divide and Conquer – Ask the Kids for Help and Get More Done

July 9th, 2013 - Category: Teaching Kids to Work


Is your “to do” list spilling over onto several pages?  Do you have too much to do and not enough time to do it?

Why not employ the forces and start checking off those tasks, one by one.

Jim Fay, co-founder of the Love and Logic website, and  parenting expert says, “We all need to feel needed and to know that we’re making a contribution – even kids.  But they can’t feel that way if they don’t have chores and make contributions to the family.”

Do you hesitate to ask the kids for help because the tasks on your list are too hard?  Why not give them a chance?  Your child can probably do more than you think.  And if the job is more than they can handle alone, ask another sibling to help them out or you can work along side them.

Then you’ll be sure that the job is done right, you get to spend some quality time together, and the job still gets done.

What could be better?

Have you asked them for help but you’re not getting the response you would like?  Instead of dictating how and what should be done, how about giving them some say in what they do?  Maybe you can show them the list and let them pick out what they would prefer to help with.

Maybe a special reward can be received after a hard day of helping Mom or Dad.  After all, they did go above and beyond their normal chores and helped you knock off a couple things from your list!

If all else fails, maybe you could pull out the guilt trip card :)  Explain how most of your day goes toward helping them, ie. making their lunch, washing their clothes, helping them with homework – now you need a little help.

Teaching our kids to serve others can start right in the home by teaching them how to serve or help Mom and Dad.


Learn more by reading this related article:  Your Children Crave Responsibility – Give It To Them




Helping Your Tired Kids Wake-Up

February 19th, 2013 - Category: Kids and Responsibility

Does your child seem to be continually tired?  If so there may be a physical or psychological explanation for their tiredness, but maybe it’s just because they don’t have anything to wake-up for.  Maybe they don’t have any dreams or goals to work toward or achieve.  Maybe they are just going through the motions of life, with nothing to enjoy.  They may not like who they are anymore.

When I was younger, I was in a graduate school program that I hated, but I didn’t feel that I had any other direction to go.  After grudgingly working my way through several months, I began to have difficulty getting up in the morning – even when I’d gone to bed early the night before.  Often I’d sleep until one o’clock in the afternoon, roll out of bed, and drag myself to class at the last minute.  I began over eating and my dress became sloppy as well.  I began to experience chronic tiredness

Interestingly enough, when the program was over, a surge of energy began pouring back into my life.  I enjoyed getting up in the morning again and I looked forward to my day.  I was able to fulfill my responsibilities.  I was excited about life again.

Maybe like me, your child is suffering from chronic tiredness because of a lack of dreams.  Not because of anything physical, maybe it’s just because their life is misaligned or mismanaged.  And their lack of dreams is leaving them nothing to get fired up about.

Discuss with your child the real source of their tiredness: Is it because they have no dreams to pursue?  If so, give them something to live for, something to look forward to, something to wake-up about.

  • Consider enrolling them in a sport or a club.
  • Help them find a friend that they can share special moments with.
  • Encourage them to branch out and try new things.
  • Give them some responsibility.

If your child always seems to be tired, consider helping them find a dream to wake-up for!

Battle of the Chores

January 15th, 2013 - Category: Kids and Responsibility

How many times have you looked around your messy house, only to see your kids watching TV, so you thrown up your hands in frustration and decide to have a family meeting?  How many times have you come away from the meeting with a desire to make a change but it only lasts for about 3 days, and then everyone is back into their old routines again?

It is time to succeed!  It is time to win the Battle of the Chores!  Make this the year where everyone’s ideas about chores are changed.

Many times it’s the parents that need to change their thinking about chores too.  Maybe you resent your parents for making you do chores.  Maybe you want your kids to have a better childhood than you did. Maybe you feel guilty for making one child clean up after another child.  Whatever is holding you back, realize that you are hurting your child more than you are helping them by letting them get out of their chores.

Just like we send our children off to school to prepare them for a job when they are adults, having them help out around the house now, prepares them to maintain a home when they are adults.  Chores are just another life skill.  You are showing them more love by helping them be more responsible around the house.

Start Young

It’s always easier and faster to just do the job yourself, but remember the short term goal is to get the house clean, the long term goal is to teach your child how to work and be responsible.  Start young and you will have less arguing from them as they grow older.

Baby Steps

If it’s too late and bad habits are already formed, take baby steps.  Plan on taking the next year to slowly add more chores and responsibility.  Start this month with having them help with the dinner dishes.  Next month add a bigger Saturday chore.  Several months down the road, they can have several daily chores, and by the end of the year, you can even add several BIG chores in.

Alongside You

When you add chores slowly it gives you the opportunity to help them and show them the standard you would like the chore to be done at.  (And you get to spend some extra time with them!) It takes 21 days of doing something for it to become a habit.  By taking a month before you add more responsibility, it helps them and you develop habits of getting those chores done.

Let Them Choose

You may be thinking that this the craziest thing ever when it comes to kids doing their chores but giving them a choice means that the job is more likely to be done.  You may just be surprised at what they pick.

Cleaning Loves Company

Set up a certain time of the day when chores should be done.  If everyone is cleaning at the same time then it doesn’t make anyone feel like they have to do it all alone.

Use a Reward System

We don’t like to work unless we get rewarded for it and neither do our kids.  When offering a reward, make sure it is something they think is a reward, not just something you like. offers kids the opportunity to choose their own reward.  Points add up and they are able to cash them in for items on  What could be easier?

Make a plan for this year to be different.  Start now by showing your kids how much you love them by making them do chores and be more responsible.

How Young Is Too Young?

December 28th, 2012 - Category: Teaching Kids to Work

Parents establish cleanliness habits from a young age. We teach our kids to take a bath, wash their hair, brush their teeth, and how to take care of their toileting needs because we know that establishing these habits young will make them routine as they grow older. Chores, however, are not as cut-and-dry. At what age should they be required, and what is appropriate for younger kids?

Appropriate Toddler Chores

As the mother of three young ones, I started chores just shy of two-years-old. If they are old enough to recognize that they made a mess, they are old enough to clean it up. I started with simply picking up toys. Make up a song, set up a timer and make it a race, or get lots of buckets and let the kids organize the toys in unique ways. Consider organizing by color, shape, or size. Chores seem less like work when they are made into a game.

Preschooler Chores

By the time kids have the hang of cleaning up after themselves, I will start introducing them to other helpful activities including food prep, setting the table, sorting clothes, matching socks, yard work and even vacuuming. I’ve had one child that was a pleaser and she was ecstatic when I told her she was old enough to be entrusted with mixing the batter, putting napkins on the table, or helping mom push the vacuum. My middle child was not an anxious to help, but when he realized that tossing a salad is the mom-ordained “playing with your food” time, he got more into it. The biggest caution at this age is that some kids will want to do more than is age appropriate (like cutting, slicing, or handling delicate dishes), so emphasize that this is “help” time and be available while in the kitchen. Lots of potential dangers lurk there.

Young School Kids

By the time my kids were in Kindergarten they could fold towels, strip beds, and sort laundry. My oldest is now in third grade and she helps stir the pots at dinner, flip pancakes, sweep floors, plant the garden, wash cars, and clean sinks. My 1st grade son helps gather trash, unload the dishwasher, clean up the yard, and fold clothes. The older they get, the more they are capable of doing.

Staying Consistent

The hardest part for me is not in establishing the chores, it is in sticking with them. Let’s face it, sometimes it would be a lot easier to pick up the toys yourself rather than listening to the initial whining associated with asking kids to do it. Top that off with the guilt of having school-age kids do housework after they’ve been in school all day and then came home to homework, and it gets very difficult for me to enforce the chore habit. What I’ve learned the hard way, however, is that if I don’t stick with the chores, I have to start all over with breaking the whining. Just like with discipline, staying consistent with job requirements makes life easier for everyone. The truth is that responsibilities can allow kids to feel more grown-up and more of a productive member of the family. Combine that with point-earning potential, and chores are really a win-win for everyone. The keys are to start young, keep them growing, and keep them fun. Even as an adult, turning on my favorite music and dancing with the broom handle makes my job easier.

Teaching Kids Responsibility

October 31st, 2012 - Category: Kids and Responsibility

How do you awake a desire in your children to be more responsible?  How do you encourage them to be more diligent?  It can all start by nurturing your own enthusiasm of their independence.

It can be hard to cut those apron strings.  As a parent you want what is best for your children.  To step back and watch them make a mistake or a wrong decision is one of the hardest things to do.  But having an attitude of excitement for the progress and growth of your child will help the process.  Instead of being scared of the mistakes thy may make, appreciate the progress they do make.

To teach kids responsibility, teach them how to do something new by letting them assist you.  You can point out tips and how you expect the job to be done along the way.  List possible actions, outcomes, and consequences of different situations along the way.

Relay to them your personal experiences and how you succeeded or failed.  They need to know you are human too, so when they do fail, they know they can come to you for help and advise.

Ask them questions that will stimulate the thought process of how they can solve certain situations.  Guide them on where they can look for help but don’t make any decisions for them.  They may get frustrated and want you to give them a quick fix.  What can take you minutes, may take them days to figure out, but in the long run, advice will be better than doing it for them when you are teaching kids responsibility.

Remember that its’ O.K. if they decide to do something differently than we would.  It doesn’t make it wrong, just different.  Who knows, they may even prove you wrong!

As they come up with solutions to their problems, their self-esteem and confidence will increase, and they will become more responsible and independent.

At, kids can become more responsible by being self motivated to finish the jobs that are assigned to them.  With parental notices on whether or not certain jobs are done, you can encourage them without being overbearing.

Teaching kids responsibility takes time and isn’t something that happens by accident.  It takes intentional encouragement and patience.  Be excited for their growth, lead and guide them along the way, and then let them fly.

So you want to raise a responsible child …

January 20th, 2012 - Category: Kids and Responsibility

You hear it all the time, “I just want my kids to be responsible.” What does that mean to you? Better yet, what does it mean to your child? Sometimes I wonder if my kids and I speak the same language. Instructions that are perfectly clear to me do not always get the result I was hoping for. Does that ever happen at your house?

Let’s take a closer look at the word “responsible.” It means being answerable or accountable for something within one’s power, such as a list of “chores” to be done. However, in order to be accountable, the child needs to know what exactly what is expected. How many times have you sent a child to clean their room and when you go to inspect it you wonder how they thought it qualified as being clean? We need to be very specific in what we see the end result as being so that our child will know when the chore is completed. Having their chores listed on their online job chart makes being accountable easy. Being able to check off completed chores gives your child a sense of accomplishment.

The best way to help a child understand what they need to do is for the parent to work alongside of their child at first, showing them the way and giving them tips on how to get the job done. It’s like giving them a “lesson” first. That way everyone knows what is expected. Just don’t expect more than is reasonable. Having attainable goals and the prospect of earning a reward will keep your child enthusiastic about doing his or her jobs.

Making the chores age-appropriate is also important. This is where you will find My Job Charthelpful. With the use of the icons even young children can be assigned simple chores. It’s wise not to overwhelm or over-schedule children of any age.

If you are new to My Job Chart or even if you have been utilizing our system for some time, you will find useful tips on how to best set up and maintain a workable program for your child on the main site and in previous posts on this blog, particularly in “Making the Most of My Job Chart.”

Now, let’s try tweaking that word, “responsible.” You can also think of it as “response – able.” Able to respond; most parents want to raise children that are caring, compassionate, helpful, innovative and dependable. If a child can learn to see what is needed (someone needs help, a mess needs to be cleaned up, etc.) and respond to it without being asked, they are becoming “response – able.” When they realize they’ve made a mistake and their first reaction is to apologize and try to make amends, they are becoming “response – able.” These traits are learned as children observe their parents behave in this manner and as they have opportunities to do the same. Having a system in place where kids are accountable on a regular basis for completing tasks will go far in helping them to become responsible now and in the years to come.

Are Job Charts a Gateway to Future Careers?

December 7th, 2011 - Category: Teaching Kids to Work

Okay, we may be stretching this one a little bit. But consider for a moment the possibility that getting your kids to work with an online job chart might easily be preparing them for life in the corporate world.

If you’re like us, you sometimes lament the decline in education. It seems that most young people are unprepared for either college or a career. This may not be because students are lazy or lack intelligence. Sometimes, it’s the basic skills that are lacking. Many students have no idea how to organize, plan, and complete work.

But as someone who has been in the corporate world, you know it’s imperative to learn those skills. No matter what your job description may be, you’ll have a list of tasks that need to be completed. And oftentimes, you are the only one checking to make sure the work gets done. How and when those tasks get completed is often up to you. But that’s not the only way a job chart like is going to benefit your child in their future career.

Here are some other similarities:

It’s online – for those who are accustomed to taping a job chart to the fridge, this might be a big change. And it may seem extreme. After all, with a physical job chart, you just check off the box and you’re done. (Of course, then you have to come up with cash for allowance.) An online job chart may be a little bit more work to access. But when it’s online, you can do so much more. You can track what’s been done in the past, save, send, or spend your points, make fast changes to the chart, and learn online skills.

Most businesses have turned to some sort of tracking model. To keep everyone on task and collaborating, companies have adopted solutions like Basecamp or Zoho. Can you imagine how far ahead of the curve your children will be if they’ve tracked their chores on a similar program?

It’s their responsibility – your child has the chance to use their own special login to access their chores. Yes, you get access to their account and you’re notified with an email when rewards are earned. But for the most part, your children are responsible for checking what’s on their list, completing their work, and updating their account. Sound like something you’ve been doing in your job?

It gives your child is a lot more complex than just finishing chores and putting a check mark next to it. In addition to completing chores, your child is rewarded with points that they can save, spend, or share by donating to charities. This gives them the chance to make choices for themselves. They’re responsible and as the parent you can work with them to make good choices and validate (or censor) their decisions. No, you’re not a boss, but you are the boss of your family and it’s important to know what choices your kids are making and why.

The truth of the matter is, a simple process like this one is teaching your children skills they may lack. You have chores that need to get done. Your children have skills that need to be learned. Why not try today?

Your Children Crave Responsibility – Give It to Them

July 12th, 2011 - Category: Kids and Responsibility

Have you ever tried to take a week off? Not on vacation, but just staying at home, doing nothing all day long? It’s kind of nice for a day or two, right? But before long, you start to notice little things:

  • The shelves haven’t been dusted in a few weeks
  • That towel rack in the bathroom is coming loose
  • There’s a growing pile of clothes that need to be mended
  • There’s a broken sprinkler that’s affecting the water pressure

Before you know it, your week off is now a honey-do vacation. You, of your own free will, have just given yourself chores. And how do you feel when the chores are done and you return to work? Fantastic!

The natural instinct of fixing and cleaning that you have is something your children are just starting to develop. They don’t want to sit around either. And although they may whine and make a fuss about doing their chores on a regular basis, they want to feel a sense of accomplishment and responsibility.

Let me give you some examples where I’ve witnessed this lately:

-3 young, homeschooled children had the day off because both their parents had to work. Rather than spend their time playing video games the kids all researched topics that they could teach one another.

-After helping her mother in the garden, a little girl asked if she could plant a garden of her own.

-After their father built a new playhouse, two young kids went to work sweeping the floor and carefully arranging their toys.

Your children crave responsibility. They want to do things that are useful and appreciated. And you can cultivate that characteristic. Give them a chance to be responsible.

If your child informs you that the towel rack in the bathroom is loose – tell him to fix it. If your young child is hungry, encourage her to fix a snack and make enough for all the others in the house. If one of your kids steps on a sharp object in their bedroom, hand them the vacuum.

No, this is not the traditional way of doing chores. But not all chores have to be assigned. In fact, if you’re waiting for all the chores to get done so you have a clean house, you’ll always be waiting for something. Giving your children more responsibility and teaching them to act when something needs doing will develop great characteristics and help you as parents maintain a well-run home.

Should Your Child Get a Summer Job?

May 31st, 2011 - Category: Teaching Kids to Work

Summer is here. And that means your children are going to want more money – a lot of money. There are movies to see, theme parks to visit, vacations to take, and a whole lot of activities to keep them busy. But unless you are willing to increase allowance for the chores your children are doing, you’ve got to come up with a money solution.

For older children, there is always the possibility of getting a summer job. But are summer jobs worth it? Are they valuable to your child without affecting the way your family functions.

We looked at some of the pros and cons of summer jobs.


Your child learns “real world” responsibility. Even though your child has chores and other responsibilities around your home, there is nothing that can perfectly simulate what it’s like to work a job. With chores, your child can get them done on their own schedule. A job is not going to be so lenient. So it’s great for them to see what really happens.

You aren’t the one forking out money. If you were made of money, you may not mind giving a little more to your child. But most of us are on a budget. And paying your kids $20 to vacuum the floor and take out the trash is simply not realistic. Once your child has a paycheck coming in, they won’t pester you with money quite as much.

You won’t hear the “I’m bored” complaint. One of the biggest challenges of summer time is keeping your kids occupied. There never seem to be enough things to do. But once they have a job, there isn’t as much time to get bored. Which means…less t.v., less complaining, and less needs for money. You could even encourage your child to save some of the cash they’re bringing in.


It could add to your busy schedule. If your child doesn’t have a car, you’ll find yourself driving around a little bit more as you get them to work on time. Plus, if you have younger children at home, you can no longer count on the older ones to help out. The free babysitting just went to work.

Your child may be less inclined to do their chores. Sure, work is important, but so is taking care of responsibilities around your home. And your children should be contributing to that effort. Once your child has a job, they may feel less inclined to do their chores. Or, they may put them off as long as they can. Not only does that develop bad habits, but the benefits of having a job are now offset by the lack of help you get at home.

You see less of your child. As difficult as having your kids at home for the summer can be, it’s also a great time to bond with your kids. Unless a job is imperative, you may not want your kids to get a job.

If a summer job is something you and your children are contemplating, then take a minute and talk through the options with them. Whatever choices you make, just be sure that your family is well taken care of and that your child knows family chores and responsibilities take precedence.

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

Set Realistic Chores for Your Children

March 21st, 2011 - Category: Teaching Kids to Work


Just ask any kindergarten teacher – we don’t all grow and mature at the same age. In a class of thirty students, you may have a handful that know their letters, one or two who can read, and then a select few who are still just struggling to talk.

But you are not a kindergarten teacher, so how does this article relate to you? Well, as you assign your children chores and new responsibilities, keep in mind: they may not be ready to tackle the same challenges at the same age.

Just because your oldest child was doing their own laundry and even making dinner at age 10 doesn’t mean the next one will be responsible or mature enough to follow in their sibling’s footsteps.

Here are some ideas for making a chore chart “fair” when your children exhibit differing capabilities:

-Base your chore chart on “time of completion” versus a set number of chores. If your oldest child was asked to mow the lawn at age 10 and it took him/her 2 hours to complete, consider making that the only chore for the day. For a child who is less skilled at 10 years old, have them do several chores that would typically take them up to 2 hours to complete.

-Reward more advanced chores with better benefits. Similar to the work environment, more difficult work is typically rewarded with a higher salary or better benefits. As your children take on more strenuous tasks, increase their benefits (points if you are using Your children will come to understand that as they try and develop the skills for tougher jobs, they too will be compensated accordingly.

-Add an optional “helper” chore. Helping those that need a little extra assistance is a great trait to learn. If one child struggles to complete their list of chores, give them the option of seeking out help from other siblings. Then reward those siblings for helping get the chores done. Of course, be sure to reward the first child for being responsible enough to get their tasks completed.

Trying to fit your children into a perfect mold can be frustrating to them. Each child is different, and your chore chart should take those differences into account. When a child can complete all they are asked to do, they will find a greater level of accomplishment and be more willing to help in the future.

If you haven’t set up a chore chart for your children yet, be sure to check out

Should You Reward a Job Half Done?

February 23rd, 2011 - Category: Kids and Responsibility

Let’s face it…as children, most of us tried to get away with doing a minimum amount of work. And to some degree that tendency sticks with us through adulthood. So is it difficult to understand your children when they don’t perform in their chores as well as we would like?

If you’re like most families, then you’ve certainly dealt with children who want to do less than a perfect job. Instead they attempt to hide toys under their bed or in the closets. They might wipe counters with water and neglect to use a cleaning agent. Or perhaps they pull the most obvious weeds and leave those hidden weeds to be handled by someone else later.

So the question of the day is…should you reward a job half done or partially done? Will “partial” work teach your children responsibility and make a worthy contribution to your household? We’d suggest its okay to do so. But perhaps you’ll consider these stipulations:

The reward should be far less appealing than a job well done. Let’s say that a typical reward for a completed job is worth 30 points in the online job chart. Rather than giving 15 points for a job half done, offer 7 or 8 instead. Let your child know that part of responsibility is seeing something finished to the end.

The child should have the chance to complete the job fully. Every child has tough days once in awhile. A decision to do half a job today may well be regretted tomorrow. Especially once the child realizes how many points or the reward they may lose out on. Seeing the consequences may teach a child penance and renew their sense of responsibility.

Continued irresponsibility should be discouraged with natural consequences. If your child is in the habit of half-completing their responsibilities, reward them less and less. If a partially completed job would usually gain 8 points, drop them to 6 the next time the child fails to complete the same chore. If done again, 4 points should be sufficient.

More than anything, you want your children to learn responsibility. But showing some sympathy when your child’s natural tendency is not to work may even be beneficial to your child. Just be sure you lead them toward making more responsible choices in the future.

The Great Allowance Debate

February 15th, 2011 - Category: Teaching Kids to Work

As a parent, you want your child to be responsible, helpful, and a contributing member of your family. Giving your children chores to complete is an easy way to instill all these attributes. Not to mention the benefits of having someone else help you around the house.

But if you choose to assign your children chores, does that also mean you should be giving your children an allowance? Do chores and allowance go hand in hand? And will giving your kids allowance teach them new skills they wouldn’t learn from just completing their chores?

There are arguments both for and against giving allowance as a reward for completed chores. We’d like to review those arguments and present a possible solution of our own.


-If a child has saved up their allowance, that may be reason enough for them to pass on their chores. When money is the motive for doing chores, children may choose to complete them when it meets their needs, not when it meets the needs of the family.

-No one wants a child who only acts when “bribed” to do so. Children who are paid an allowance may develop a habit of looking for the benefit of helping out. Wouldn’t you rather have a child who was naturally helpful.

-If children refuse to do their chores and are denied allowance, who suffers when they need money? Both of you. Because without fail, you’ll end up in an argument when they come begging for money from you.


-Getting an allowance helps children to learn financial responsibility, how to save, and to value their own things more fully. But do you really want to “give” your child money every week just because? That’s hardly a realistic expectation for your children to learn.

-You’ve heard the old term “work before play”. By tying your child’s allowance to completed chores, you can help them develop a belief in the value of work – a great trait for the future.

-Rather than fighting with your children over getting their jobs done, you can let their allowance motivate them. As long as you can stick to your guns, a lack of money might be a good consequence for not doing what was asked of them.

Okay, so how do you reconcile the idea that a child should be a contributing member of the family (without bribery) with the notion that children need to learn the consequences of not working?

Well, we’ve got an idea. At, children can earn points for completing their chores. As a family, you can determine whether those points should be converted into financial benefits or converted into physical rewards. By creating a solution like this one, you take allowance out of the equation and still receive the following benefits:

-This system teaches children to both save and work toward greater rewards…a realistic comparison to real life.

-Children are responsible for monitoring and reporting on their own work so it’s not up to you to keep track of whether the child has completed their work or not.

-Rather than trying to produce cash for your child and watching them spend it (sometimes recklessly), you can create a system online for helping your children work toward a goal.

If you’re not comfortable with giving your child allowance, then why not try a rewards system like the one on You may find a perfect solution to teaching your children responsibility without dealing with any of the negative consequences of allowance.

Teaching Good Habits

December 9th, 2010 - Category: Teaching Kids to Work

It is said that you must do something for 21 days to turn it into a habit. How can we help our children to stick with something that long in order to develop good habits in them? There is the incentive in to stick with your chores, but first you need to help your child develop the habit of checking the site every day and following through on their tasks. This is a conditioning phase.

What is a habit? When you learn something, your brain makes connections that create pathways for neurological activity. When you routinely perform the same actions, your brain learns this pattern of behavior and sets up a pathway. This pathway is a more efficient way for the brain to process the routine, as opposed to a new series of tasks. That is a habit.

Start by finding the best time of the day to have them log on to their chart. Try to make it a consistent time of day. It should be a time that they have enough time to check their chart and also to accomplish the chores. When cues like time of day, place and circumstances are the same in each case -it is easier to stick to. In the beginning you will have to remind them. You need to be their focus until they have learned to create that focus in themselves.

Make sure they are involved in picking their incentives. Of course as the parent you have the final say in their rewards, but it has to be something that they desire or they are going to fight you to do the work. At the same time, don’t try to do too much at first. You don’t want your child to be overwhelmed with the amount of chores. It is better to start light and add more tasks later on after the habit has been set.

Forgive them and yourself if you miss a day or two at the start. They aren’t perfect – neither are you. Just get back on track as soon as you realize you’ve forgotten. No sense in taking time to berate yourself or them. It takes time to become a habit. Punishing them for not following through teaches them about their faults not about how to make the habit stick.

Is there a habit you are trying to start? Maybe you could work on improving yourself in some way at the same time that you are helping them to form better habits. In this manner they are seeing you as an example. The best way to teach children good habits is by setting a good example. Setting good habits for kids and instilling values in your children go hand-in-hand, you can’t do one without the other. Good habits for kids will ensure that your child grows up to be a loving and caring person who is self-disciplined and thus will succeed in life.

Advice for Parents Struggling to Get Children to Work

March 2nd, 2010 - Category: Teaching Kids to Work

It is a popular complaint from parents today that they don’t feel like their children are engaged in as many work related activities as they were at the same age. Parents feel like they were put to work at younger ages and had much more responsibility than their kids do. A 2001 Time/CNN poll stated that 75 percent of American adults believe children today do fewer chores than did the children of 10 or 15 years earlier. Many parents struggle with the fact that their kids are “spoiled” or feel like they are given everything on a silver platter. In fact, from the same Time article, 68 percent of parents think their own children are either “somewhat” or “very” spoiled.

Why is it Important to Teach Our Kids to Work?

Though it is easy to think that we as parents somehow had it “harder” than our children do today, these types of numbers do indicate that children today are experiencing less responsibility or are required to do less than children from generations before. When children have little responsibility they have more leisure time. This leaves more room for them to develop other, less productive, activities to engage in and also promotes laziness. All of these things can lead to huge detriments for children and their likelihood of succeeding in the future.

Teaching Kids to WorkIt is vital to give children responsibility and it needs to start at a young age. You may think that a 4 year old is not old enough to be required to do chores. However, it is very common and highly suggested that even younger children have daily tasks that are required of them. Brushing your teeth, showering, picking up toys after being used, putting your own dishes in the sink after dinner, and eating vegetables are good ideas of simple tasks for those not yet old enough to engage in other, more difficult chores.

Breaking the Laziness Cycle

If you have started late in teaching your children to work, it may be a bit more of a struggle to break the habit of laziness. Many parents are scraping and clawing trying to come up with ideas of how to help their children get off the couch and stop playing video games. If you are having difficulty motivating your child to do simple chores or take on other responsibilities around the house or, with teenagers, trying to get them to find a job, here are a few bits of advice that you may want to consider.

1. Don’t Give Them Everything They Want

It’s easy to fall into a habit of providing things for our kids when they are in need. “Dad, my friends and I are going to go to the movies tonight, can I have $20?” “I need new shoes for basketball.” These are very common questions and statements from children and there are millions of others that are geared for the same end result, you giving them what they want. It is a good idea if you are struggling to get your kids to work, to cut them off from this to some degree and require that they start earning some of the things they enjoy having.

My Job Chart offers a free online chore chart where you can customize rewards for your children. When they earn enough points, they can cash them in for prizes, money, or any other reward that you set up with them. You decide the chore and the points, and they can decide how to use their points. This is a great tool for teaching kids to work

2. Reward Your Kids

Piggy-backing off the previous statement, it is very important to offer incentives for your children to do work. It goes hand in hand with not providing everything for them for free. Once you cut them off from the source of the things they need, they are required to work for it. It is important to reward them for their work. No one wants to do work for free. Incentives are a necessary part of motivation.

3. Show Them How to Work

It is important that you do not just simply “tell” your children what they “have” to do. This is often met with a negative response and it is less likely that they will do what they have been told. If they do end up conceding, they will not enjoy the work and they will more than likely give a half hearted effort and not take away the value of the job that they could have otherwise.

Teach your children “how” to work. Work alongside them on outdoor projects. Build a play house “with” them. Teach them how to use different tools. Let them hold the flashlight for you while you change the oil on your car or change the tire. Teaching your children simple life skills will be a benefit to them and will help them understand the value of being able to accomplish tasks by themselves.

4. Let Your Kids Know They are Needed

Everyone wants to feel like they are part of something. Kids want to feel useful to their parents. We need to let them know that we really NEED their help (even if we really don’t). It may be WAY easier for you to stir the hamburger helper by yourself or to just take over and set the table. It may be more hassle than it’s worth to try and force your 13 year old son to unload the laundry and fold the clothes. However, it is essential that you take a back seat at times and have your children help. Work alongside them but let them work. Let them help and teach them that they really are helping.

Any comments or suggestions are greatly appreciated. Let us know your success stories or your struggles through the comment section below. We can all learn from each other when we work together.

My Job Chart Supports Michele Obama’s “Let’s Move”

February 12th, 2010 - Category: Teaching Kids to Work

On February 9th 2010, the First Lady, Michele Obama announced her new initiative called “Let’s Move” to combat childhood obesity.  Obesity is plaguing 1 in 3 American children according to Mrs. Obama. is another tool that will help in combating this epidemic that is facing so many American children.  With a focus on work and responsibility helps kids get off the couch and get to work!  As parents inspire and properly incentivize their kids to work for the things that they need and want, there will be less time sitting in front of the TV and more time spent on productive life altering activities.

Give a try. It’s free and your kids will love it.