Let’s face it. If your child is ignoring the printable kids charts you’ve posted around your home, then you are probably nagging more than you want, the chores still aren’t done and, worst of all, your child is not cooperating the way you would like.
Kids charts are an incredibly helpful tool when it comes to parenting (I have four kids and use free printable charts extensively) but if those same charts are b-o-r-i-n-g you have a better chance of winning the lottery than getting the chores done by your kids.
The good news is there are some simple ways to put fun into chore chart usage. Here are my top 5 favorite ways to do just that.
1. Jazz ’em up.
There are plenty of free printable kids charts online and while you can easily print out bright and colorful ones, I’ve found that my kids would rather decorate the charts themselves. Not only is this activity fun, but it leads to ownership of the chart (and the chores on it).
Discuss the importance of doing a good job at any assigned task while your kids are preparing their chore charts. They have responsibilities at school and they have responsibilities at home, too. Talk about your own responsibilities and how you are glad to contribute. Passing this message along to your children is crucial.
2. Talk ’em up.
Make those charts a source of pride. Add little notes of encouragement to a child’s chart and the odds go up he will want to use his chart and get noticed again.
You might think that only little kids will respond to this type of praise, but I’ve found that my older kids are craving positive feedback and when I go out of my way to give it to them (like a little note on a chore chart), they are encouraged to look for even more ways to please me.
3. Make it a party!
Want to really see your kids’ chart usage explode? Start a weekly party night designed to celebrate your children’s handling of their responsibilities well. This doesn’t need to be elaborate to be useful and fun. Play some fun (or silly) music, give small prizes for chore competitions (see more on this below), play family games and have fun food to celebrate a successful week of chores.
What this actually does is start the great habit of a weekly family night. Keep it fun and as your kids grow they will want to invite their friends to this weekly celebration of your family. You will find your relationships with your children enhanced and strengthened, not to mention chores being done at the speed of light because everyone is well trained and good habits are firmly established.
4. Swap and get’em done.
Once you set up a written chore chart, one common complaint is usually the lack of variety. One fun way to handle this is to let each family member swap a (similar) chore with another family member for the week.
For some reason, knowing you’re doing someone else’s chore and they are doing yours is often more appealing (I’ve never been able to figure this one out, but I’ve seen it be true many times).
5. Who can do the best?
Healthy competition between your kids or your child and yourself can be a fun addition to a dreary chore chart.
Set a timer for fifteen minutes each day and watch everyone race to get their chores done. Let your kids judge each other’s jobs – effectively critiquing each other. Give out small prizes weekly or monthly for whoever does their chores fastest – best – cheerfully – or comes up with suggestions on making the chores go smoother for everyone.
Toss boring out the door and make your free printable kids charts fun again! These ideas are easy to set up and most take only minutes to do, yet the payback can be substantial.
After all, the real use of charts of any kind in a home is to teach healthy habits that will last a lifetime.