We have 4 children ages: 12, 9, 6 and 14 mo.s. I wish I could say that I had this down but I am really struggling. I grew up with a very authoritarian father and unstable mother and it's hard to know how to get my kids to do what they need to be doing without using manipulation or threats, bribes. Simple things that I feel like we need in order to have a functioning house like: make your bed, pick up your toys, dishes, ets. I've tried all kinds of things. The latest was based on a book (can't remember the name right now) where you incentivize them by putting a jar of $ for the month allotting a certain amount for each day their chores are done and if they're not done then you remove that day's worth of money. That seemed better b/c with a 12 yr old who has SPD, ADD, LD, etc ad infinitum....he struggles with seeing how A+B=C let alone how $1/day amounts to $30/mo. He'll turn his nose up at $1 to do anything even officially hired chores like cleaning the car or sweeping the garage. Yes I hate the idea of paying them to do regular chores but I also feel like it would be helpful in learning money management. But after 2 weeks they just didn't care. So we've employed the old, "you can't do anything until these chores are done" but for kids who will literally sit around reading all day I have to force them to play outside. Sigh. I'm so tired of it. Any ideas?
Drewsmom, I don't know if it would work for your family, but I'll tell you what my family has been doing this year. For about three years we've been doing "chore charts" (customized per child by age), and this year we started paying them "bitcoins" which are actually little plastic (?) coin type things that were inspired by the digital currency called Bitcoin. (My husband brought several home from this past spring's Bitcoin conference.) Starting at age 3, each child has a set of chores to do every day, and when they complete a set number they earn a bitcoin. After that they can earn bonus bitcoins for doing "jobs" like sweeping or mopping, taking care of siblings, cleaning the toilet, or putting away laundry.
The toilet training 3-year-old earns a bitcoin every time he poops in the toilet. His 2-year-old sister would earn a bitcoin if she would do that, too, or even pee in the toilet.
After earning bitcoins, after finishing dinner each child can "pay" for dessert by giving Papa a bitcoin. Certain dessert items are worth more than others. For example, an ice cream sandwich from Dairy Queen is worth 3, a big cookie is worth 2, and a small cookie, cup full of smoothie, or small piece of candy is worth 1.
Another way for the toddlers to earn a bitcoin is to stay in their rooms at naptime (after using the toilet if needed) and go to sleep quietly.
I hope this helps. Something else to consider might be saying you don't get a snack until you do x, y, z (insert chores), or something else they like and look forward to that they don't get automatically.
What about dividing the chores up between kids? Maybe one child could do all the beds, another all the toys and the other older child could do the dishes? Or something like that? With my older it helped for her to have just a couple of things that were "her job". Another reason I think this could work is because then it isn't this "laundry list" of things that needs to be done for each kid but just one or two big jobs that they could be reminded of doing.