Mommy is Not the Maid

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The feeling of finally getting the house clean is unexplainable.  It is quite an accomplishment to say the least…  Only to realize that the three little people living in my house have destroyed it again in half the time that it took me to clean it. Sometimes I wonder why I even bother to clean it in the first place.

Thank you Emily's Craft House for making this cute chore chart!
Thank you Emily’s Craft House for making this cute chore chart!

Just recently I came to the realization that my kids were getting old enough to help out around the house.  Slowly I began implementing small chores like picking up after themselves and taking their dishes to the sink.  Then we added more tasks like setting the table for dinner and putting laundry away.  I believe this teaches them social and family responsibility and that every member in the family has a role.

When I was cleaning the house, I started giving each of them a small chore like sweeping, dusting, or picking up toys.  When the chore is complete, they have pride in their accomplishment.   Sometimes it’s easy to criticize the less than perfect results so I try to remind myself that it’s ok if it isn’t perfect.

In early preschool years, the real value is not the end result, it’s about teaching responsibility and respect for themselves and the work they are contributing to the family.  They love to be little helpers and harnessing that motivation makes starting chores easy.

By talking with other moms and from my experience I have learned some basic tips when reinforcing chores:

1.  Know their limits – Kids are able to do far more than we often give them credit for.  I fall into the trap of doing things for them when they are able to do it themselves.  It’s also important not to expect too much where they get frustrated in the process.

2.  Set expectations – When my kids know what is expected of them, they have a clear picture of what needs to be done.  The chore chart shows that I expect certain chores to be accomplished and they understand what needs to be done.

Getting to put pennies in their cans is a great motivator to show positive behavior.
Getting to put pennies in their cans is a great motivator to show positive behavior.

I decided I needed a chore chart to implement this new plan.  I asked Emily’s Craft House to make me something and she came up with a cute and effective chart.  My kids are excited to do chores and move their jobs to the completed status.  It’s a great visual for us all.

In building on this model, we incorporated a reward system when the chores were complete.  The reward system also includes positive behavior. Each child receives a penny for completing their jobs and showing good behavior.  A penny gets taken out when positive behavior isn’t being shown.  So far this system seems to be working well.  We have had less fighting, more sharing and a clean house.  That makes for one happy momma!

What are ways you motivate your kids to do chores and show positive behavior?

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