Have you used a free chore chart in your home with your children? What results did you get? Were you satisfied with the improvements in your child’s ability to stay on task and complete his jobs?
Generally, when I ask this question, I get mixed answers. Which is why I think using chore, behavior or reward charts of any type can make a parent feel as though they are in a battle of good vs. evil. Let me tell you why.
The evil downside.
With chore chart usage, there is a downside. You can see it for yourself. Grab any free printable chore chart from the web, fill it out and post it on your fridge. Tell your child this chart is just for her, to help her complete her chores.
Then walk away.
Check the results at the end of one week. Generally what you’ll find is:
Day 1 – Chores got done. Checked off. Gold star achieved.
Day 2 – Sometimes the same. Sometimes not so good.
Day 3 – Probably nothing happened.
Day 4-7 – Same as Day 3.
You know the worst result in this scenario? By the end of the week, not only did your child not make any improvements in good chore habits, he also knows something new about himself.
He has failed.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Failure is a part of life and offers some of our finest lessons. But failure that doesn’t find its completion through lessons learned is simply a hit to a person’s self-confidence. Which is the opposite of what you were looking for when you printed out that chart.
Now for the good upside.
The upside to using free chore charts is pretty easy to put into practice. However it does require treating the charts as the tools they are, keeping firm control of their usage and making adjustments as required.
For example, printing out that same task chart and posting it on that same fridge is actually step 2. You see, step 1 is you, as Mom or Dad, figuring out what your goal for using that chart is.
Do you want to see…
– less nagging?
– Chores completed correctly instead of haphazardly?
– Doing the assigned chores without being asked?
A little upfront planning can make all the difference in successfully using chore charts with your child. After planning ask yourself what the consequences will be for both success and failure in regards to the chart. Make sure these consequences are reasonable, age appropriate and communicated clearly and cheerfully to your youngster.
Then, be a coach or a mentor for your kiddo. Cheer them to success during that week. Work alongside of them. Show them what it means to do chores well and with a positive attitude.
Because the real goal here is not to get a pre-adult to do a couple of chores this week.
The real goal of parenting is always to help a child move forward in maturity while deepening a wholesome relationship with that child.
And that’s something that free printable chore charts can be quite helpful with when used thoughtfully and creatively.