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.
If your child always seems to be tired, consider helping them find a dream to wake-up for!
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.
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.
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.
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. MyJobChart.com offers kids the opportunity to choose their own reward. Points add up and they are able to cash them in for items on Amazon.com. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 MyJobChart.com, 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.
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.
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 MyJobChart.com 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 choices – Myjobchart.com 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 Myjobchart.com today?
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:
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.
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.
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.
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 MyJobChart.com). 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 MyJobChart.com.