Star charts and surprises
Using star charts and rewards is a great way to get your kid to do their chores.
(Diane Cassells)
From the moment she could walk, I taught my kid to carry her dishes to the sink, deposit her rubbish into the bin and clean up after herself. It was, and never is, an easy task but, as a then-single parent, I knew I’d rather spend my time doing fun things with my kid rather than picking up after her.

Because our house has always been one where we do things together, it is common that I do the housework with the help of my little person. She’s been a regular broom-wielder since she could hold and we make cleaning fun. But, with motivating children to do household chores, sometimes you need to entice them with a reward.

In the positive reinforcement school of thought – which I align myself to – rewards are given when a task is completed by a child. Each time she’d take a step forward in life, remember to clean her room by herself or learn a new skill, there’d be a reward attached. Now that she’s older though, it’s not always necessary but, for the big things like doing well at school or conquering a test, they still exist.

Perhaps the most fun part of the reward system has been involving my daughter, every step of the way. When it was star charts, she got to pick the stickers and cardboard we used to make it up. Together we chose the tasks to be completed in order to get a sticker placed on the chart and, together we chose the final reward for completing the chart. I realise it’s a little overly democratic but, I found that by involving her in choosing the tasks and rewards, she bought into the process with ease. There was very little persuasion required and she excitedly counted the stars on her chart, every step of the way.

Now that she’s older, she does her housekeeping tasks without thinking. I never have to ask her to take her plate to the kitchen and she’s taken to berating adults for not doing similarly the moment they’re finished a meal. I hope I’ve laid a foundation for her that is centred on being responsible for yourself, and firmly grounded in making the little tasks of life fun.

How did you get your kids to do their chores? Or is it still a daily struggle?

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