Have you ever tried to improve something around your home using a chore chart or similar device?
For example, have you ever gotten exasperated at one (or all) of your children for not helping out around the house and decided to post a chore schedule to remedy the situation?
And did that scenario work out for you?
If you’re like many, many parents, the answer is a loud “NO”. For a few of you, the answer is a firm “yes.”
What’s the difference?
The difference lies in understanding where the power is. The power, in this case, is not in the chore chart. Chore charts are just pieces of paper. All by themselves, they don’t work. They are only a simple tool. The power is in knowing how to use the tool.
Let me offer an example to help make this whole idea clearer for you.
Let’s say you decided to build a house. You assembled your tools. Hammers, screwdrivers, nails, wood, etc. You carefully organized your tools and showed your work crew where to find the tools. You said firmly, “Now, I expect our new house to be done by the time I get back from work.”
You left. Your workers looked at each other. One of them asked “anyone know how to build a house?” No one answered THAT question, but there was a brief discussion how the boss (mom or dad) doesn’t get it (again). Everyone left to pursue their own interests.
End result: no house built. Boss mad. Workers frustrated and apathetic.
Now let’s put power in that scenario.
Again, you decide to build a house. You assemble and organize your tools. But this time you understand you’ve just gotten started.
You talk to your workers. You tell them they’re going to build a house and you’re going to show them how. It will be work, but it will be a rewarding process, too.
You set up a reasonable training schedule. You work together to create a sense of teamwork. Progress is slow, but steady and real.
You point out how to better use the tools to your workers. They develop a level of skill with the tools. They also develop a sense of pride in their accomplishment. You reward them. Everyone celebrates. The house still has a ways to go, but it’s starting to look like a real house.
People are working together. No nagging is necessary and fussing is at a minimum. Workers feel free to bring their input to the process, adjustments are made to the schedule and new tools are brought on board when necessary.
Successfully using chore charts in your home is very similar. Chore charts never work by themselves, but they almost always work when combined with the proper training and support. They are a fine tool for teaching yourself and your family the merits of personal responsibility, self-discipline, and teamwork. (If you would like more tips on using a chore chart effectively, please see the author’s resource box after this article.)
Make sure you understand where your power is, mom or dad. Arm yourself with EVERYTHING you need to get the job done in your home and you’ll find your household running smoother by the day.