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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Dh and I were thinking about starting a reward type chart for tasks that we would like DD to help with. Some of these include; putting her dirty clothes in her hamper, helping to set the table, making her bed...etc...maybe like 5 or 6 tasks.<br><br>
So how can i do this? We thought about doing a sticker chart and when she gets x amount of stickers she would get to pick a small toy out of a "treasure cheast." However, i dont think getting a toy 2 or 3 times a week (and filling my house up with cheap junk she wont even appreciate) is a good idea. We thought about using money - but she is 3 and has no idea about money and it wouldnt mean anything to her.<br><br>
Would doing the sticker chart be enough? What systems do you use at home?
 

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I want to see what everyone suggests. I have a 3yo DS and it's time for him to help out (he does a little bit, I want to motivate him).<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lurk.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lurk">:
 

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When dd was three the only chores she did were the ones alongside mum or dad. At three they are motivated to help and be like their parents, I personally think a reward chart or a checklist would have hampered the process. She's almost 7 now and our consistent message is chores are something we do as a family to keep our home nice - no rewards. We don't do everything at the same time now but she has some specific responsibilities.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
REALLY? DD CAN get dressed by herself but doesnt usually want to and i end up chasing her around the house trying to get clothes on her to start the day. Sometimes she puts her clothes in the basket when prompted, but sometimes she screams "NO" and runs away. She is one of those "i cant" kids - if something is hard she just doesnt do it and i feel like a reward chart would really motivate her. I guess i agree that i shouldnt pay her for tasks that as a member of our family she should be doing - but she doesnt like to help me around the house - isnt there a happy medium?
 

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At 3, she's not quite developmentally ready to 'work toward' a reward. 3 year olds are still living very much in the present. That doesn't mean you can't try a 'reward' chart, but the 'reward' is the sticker itself, or something immediate.<br><br>
We do "chore time" at our house - 15 minutes after dinner, where we have chores written down on popsicle sticks that the kids draw out of a bag. (I rotate them daily so that the things that I see need to get done mostly get done - so if there are a lot of books on the floor, "pick up 5 books" gets put in the mix. If the living room needs to be vacuumed, that goes in. If the living room got vacuumed yesterday, it comes out, and "mop kitchen floor" or something like that goes in.) I throw in a few funny ones too - 'do a somersault', 'count to 30', 'rest 2 minutes', just to keep them interesting.<br><br>
After the 15 minutes are up (we set the timer), then the kids can play.<br><br>
And you know what? Our 7 year old does beautifully (most days), and our just turned 4 year old still needs a shadow. She's just not developmentally ready to do chores on her own. Some days she'll do great - she vacuumed the living room the other day pretty well for a 4 year old. Other days, she lies on the floor and screams "No! I'm too tired!" and it takes us guiding her (and telling her that if she's that tired then she can go lie in bed) to get her to do a minimum number of things.<br><br>
It helps me to remember that there's a difference between "physically able to" and "mentally ready to" take on these things by themselves. Dd has been physically able to get herself dressed since she was 2. She's just now at 4 getting to the point where she doesn't always want my help. The 'needing' my help is her way of saying "I'm not quite ready to be grown up" mom. Ds 'needed' help dressing until he was 5 (or was it 6? - it was a LONG time.)<br><br>
Things that do help:<br>
1. When doing routine things, like dressing, when I want my kids to put the clothes in the hamper, I <i>ask</i> "Where does that go?" and they're often more than happy to show me by doing it. If they deliberately say something like "right here" and drop it on the floor, then I usually do something silly like say "Oh no, the clothes vacuum is going to come gobble it up!" and then vroom around like a vacuum and snatch it up. When they scream "no, no!" I say "oh, too bad it's not in the hamper. that's the only place it would be safe from the clothes vacuum." And lo and behold, 9 times out of 10, that cures it. The 10th time they're too tired to play along. (See <i>Playful Parenting</i> for a really good discussion of this kind of thing.) Or we'll play "laundry delivery service".<br><br>
2. Involving my kids in 'real' chores that are usually reserved for grown ups. Vacuuming. Cleaning the toilets. Mopping the floors (they LOVE to mop). Does it get done as well as if I could do it? No. But that's OK. I'll do it next time. And in order to vacuum/mop, everything has to be off the floor. So, they're motivated to pick things up in a way that they aren't if I just ask them to pick up so I can vacuum. And while they're vacuuming/mopping, I'll go around and pick up other things, or sweep another room. So, viewing this helps them see the chores as 'our' chores, not as 'kid' chores (that are hated) and 'grown chores' (that look really cool).
 

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I don't know if this is widely accepted or not but it works for us....my kids don't get to go to a park, take a walk, watch a movie or cartoon, or go outside until the bulk of their chores are done. If they diddle getting their chores done, they've lost time that they could be having fun and they know that. I have to take care of my responsibilities before I get to have fun too. Occasionally we say to heck with it and go out and have fun, like when DH has a day off or we have playgroup. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
The 7 y/o sweeps the dining rm, living rm, and kitchen.<br>
Empties the dishwasher (when needed).<br>
Scoops the cat boxes (this is something she chose to do so she could earn money, if she does this without being reminded she gets paid for it).<br>
Sets the table for dinner.<br>
Is responsible for keeping her room picked up and any toys she leaves laying around the house.<br><br>
The 4 y/o is responsible for her toys she strews all over the house.<br>
Putting her books on her bookshelf.<br>
Putting her clothes in a pile for me to sort (she is one of those kids that changes her clothes 50x a day so 99% of what is on her floor isn't dirty).<br>
She has voluntarily started helping her big sister with emptying the dishwasher and setting the table. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
The 2 y/o picks up her toys when she leaves them laying around and likes to hand her sister the silverware to put away. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love"><br><br>
For things that aren't everyday chores like mopping, dusting, etc they like to help dry the floors with old towels and run around with damp rags on the baseboards and window sills.<br><br>
It helps if we keep toys to a minimum so they don't get overwhelmed and provide easily accessable places that the toys belong.<br><br>
I think even a 2 y/o can "help" put their clothes away if they have low drawers, my kids loved it when I would hand them their folded clothes and then show which drawer it went in.<br><br>
We do not pay for chores either (with the exception of the cat boxes on 6 out of 7 days since one of the cats is hers). Things may not always be done perfectly but they usually have fun and it is better than not having anything done at all or me going insane trying to do it all myself. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up">
 

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Oh and another thought -- for getting routine things done, some kids love to have a picture chart where you list the steps. So, take a picture of her: getting dressed, putting her clothes in the laundry, brushing her teeth, etc. Then paste them on a board so that she 'knows' what comes next in the routine for getting going in the morning or going to bed. If you're feeling really fancy, laminate it, and put boxes next to each picture so she can mark off each step that she's done. Sometimes this alone will motivate kids!
 

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<div style="font-style:italic;">When dd was three the only chores she did were the ones alongside mum or dad. At three they are motivated to help and be like their parents, I personally think a reward chart or a checklist would have hampered the process. She's almost 7 now and our consistent message is chores are something we do as a family to keep our home nice - no rewards. We don't do everything at the same time now but she has some specific responsibilities.</div>
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Great post. I agree, ds is three and he helps me do things around the house. He helps me most days make his bed, he picks up his toys, mostly on his own, sometimes with me starting the process. He helps with cooking and setting the table and clearing the table, but he does it because he likes doing things with me and I think it will get him into the mindset of everyone helping out as he gets older. "Chores" at 3 years old though IMO is too young.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Lynn - can you be MY mom?! lol. Great ideas ladies - keep em coming! I WANT to practice playful parenting, but i just dont have the imagination at times to even think of what to do.
 

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We have a chore chart and my 3 year old loves just marking off that she'd done something. She gets to use the sharpie markers that she normally doesn't get to and then write on the wall (the chart is taped on our pantry door.)<br><br>
Her chores are:<br>
Make Bed<br>
Put Silverware Away<br>
Clean Living Room (basically pick up toys)<br>
Clean Bedroom<br>
Daily Task (wash the kitchen table, help sort laundry, dust tv and shelves)
 

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Our view on chores is that they are a part of being a family and responsibilities are rewarded by a successful family life, not stickers or toys. My ds is almost three and he helps me with the chores, it's just a part of life. At this age he is required to complete the tasks that take care of himself and his possessions as is developmentally appropraite. Putting his clothes in his drawers, cleaning up his toys and books, hanging his jackets and puting his shoes away, putting his dishes and utensils away, etc. Everything is either a habit that he doesn't think twice about, like hanging up his jacket on the hook, or something we are willing to make into a game, such as making silly voicews of the characters in his books while he puts them away.<br><br>
Additionally, he usually chooses to join me in the larger daily tasks, though he is not required to do so. If I'm dusting, so is he. If I'm putting dishes away, so is he. Making the bed, doing the laundry, folding the clothes, mopping the floor, cooking dinner, etc. I just have him do as much as he can and we sing and turn the tasks into games to make them fun as much as possible. The only thing he doesn't participate in is the vacuuming because the noise is too much for him.<br><br>
If we hit a wall, as in the examples of getting dressed or putting clothes in the hamper, we just go on matter-of-factly. So we don't move on to reading the bedtime books until his clothes are in the hamper, he loves books so when we remind him by saying, "Oops, clothes." he is quick to put them away. If he isn't dressed and it is time to leave I just take his clothes with us and by the time we get where we are going he is excited to participate in the activity and gets dressed in the car when we arrive.
 

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My 3 y.o. would LOVE to help clean the toilet. What kind of cleaner should we use though in case it sprays up at her face or she touches it? Sorry to hijack, Lynn do you have a suggestion? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> Yes, great ideas. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up">
 

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My 3 yo sometimes clears his plate, sometimes doesn't. Often his sisters do it for him. If the others are setting the table, sometiems he joins in, sometimes he doesn't. If he drops his clothes on the floor, I pick them up and remind him where they go. Depending on his general mood, tiredness level etc, I might ask him to put them away. Same for putting away toys.<br><br>
Honestly, I don't think it's worth sweating about. I didn't have charts or routines or rewards for any of my kids, and they all started helping out more and more as they got older. Now my 7 yo automatically cleans her room and tidies if someone is coming over. The older ones always clear their plates, and almost always set the table. Not because I demand it, but because I call out that dinner is almost ready and the table needs setting, and someone almost always arrives to do it.<br><br>
So, we don't have systems or praise or rewards or battles. We just coexist fairly peacefully and cooperatively (most of the time, anyway) and the kids gradually mature and take on more responsibility. It works for us, and I never had to waste time or money on charts or rewards. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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whelp. When I get the bug to have my kids do more... I just... have them do more!!!<br><br>
We dont do allowance or sticker charts or rewards for helping around the house.. just because, at this point (my kids are 4 and 7) Id really rather they help out because its the right thing to do and because they are part of the family. Also.. my Dad gives them each $3 a week that we put in the bank every few months (boy does that add up!!) so, I dont feel like they really need to be earning money yet..... once the kids get older and want spending money for stuff, we will explore an allowance. Right now, I allow them to take $10 - $20 of "their money" to spend when we go on vacation.<br><br>
What I do is.. just recently my ds is responsible for putting away his own clothes because he is capable and I think it makes him feel proud (even though he hates to do it.. there is still a sense of accomplishment I see when he is done). So, I fold his clothes and put them in his room and puts them in his drawers.<br><br>
My dd will often offer to do hers bc she sees ds doing his.<br>
I ask my kids to help me carry groceries in, put groceries away, they help me load the belt when Im paying for groceries.<br>
They are responsible for getting and moving around their own pillows, sleeping bags, toys when we go camping (ie, to the car, to the tent, back to the car, to the house and into their rooms).. man does this help!!!<br>
I am very adament about them cleaning up their own things every day... including dishes, cups, garbage, toys, clothes... they deposit their clothes into their hamper at night.. put cups in the sink, throw away food wrappers...<br>
Of course all of these things need constant reminders, but the older they get, the more often they take care of some of it on their own.<br><br>
Its important to me that my kids be helpful because they are part of this family, not because they are being paid.<br><br>
Im think allowance will be given upon asking just because, but it will be a privilege that can be taken away.
 

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Someone asked for playful clean-up ideas. We have a bunch. Now that she's older we like to play 'beat the clock' and set a goal (tidying up toys) estimate how long we think it will take to do well, then set the timer and have at it.<br><br>
When she was little we used to sing the clean-up song. Or play freeze tidy - this is where you turn on music and every two minutes or so stop the song and everyone freezes in place.<br><br>
A friend has pictures of a tidy room, clean toy area etc. for her kids to use to compare their progress.
 

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Ever since someone taught me about the idea that lack of reward is regarded as punishment, I have been squeemish about reward systems. With a 3 yo, I would start by regularly doing these things with her and saying thank you for helping mommy! and when she gets good at it ( kid good, not mom good) I would do something like 'can you make your bed while I ....)
 

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Chores, especially things like picking up clothes, putting away toys, etc., they are all just part of living in a household & keeping the area in which you live, livable!<br><br>
We don't use a system or reward chart of any kind. Any task I'm doing - dishes, laundry, vacuuming, watering the plants, setting the table, sorting recycle, whatever - my DD (and now my DS too) asks to help, and/or I ask them to participate - at their level. Pretty much every household task can be split up into age-appropriate steps.<br><br>
For example when we're generally cleaning up, DS (13 months) can put toys into a box while DD (3.5yo) can organize the books/movies, put away toys in the right places, put shoes into the shoe bin, etc. Sure, most of the toys end up back on the floor again when my little one does his "job", but by having a task, he learns that he is important too, and learns a sense of responsibility.<br><br>
In the kitchen, my 3 year old will put away the tupperware that's at her height, while I put away the glasses, etc. up high. and DS stacks pots & pans on the floor.<br><br>
In the bathroom, my daughter uses her spray bottle of water & a rag to wipe surfaces (she LOVES this), while my son puts "trash" (paper bathroom cups, tissues, etc.) into the trashcan.<br><br>
DD loves setting the table - everything she needs is at her height - and she has the choice of what placemats to use every night.<br><br>
The point I'm trying to make is that I really have a problem with tying some sort of outside reward (like allowance or a star chart or winning a prize, etc.) to household tasks. Keeping your self & your area clean & neat is part of being an organized person - it helps keep your mind organized - it is a benefit to everyone. And its something kids learn by watching & doing, not by doing because mom "says so" or "beause I'll get a prize". And generally, I've found that kids WANT to help out! It's never been a problem around here. Doing "grown up stuff" is always a big hit.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>ErinsJuneBug</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/11542881"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Lynn - can you be MY mom?! lol. Great ideas ladies - keep em coming! I WANT to practice playful parenting, but i just dont have the imagination at times to even think of what to do.</div>
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Only if you do the cleaning! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
You know, you don't have to have the imagination the first time, you can reflect on things that are hard and decide "OK, next time I'll try..." The good news about parenting is that kids keep doing the same thing, so you get lots of "do overs". It took us about a year to get our current cleaning system worked out so that it wasn't a constant fight.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Emese'sMom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/11547278"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">My 3 y.o. would LOVE to help clean the toilet. What kind of cleaner should we use though in case it sprays up at her face or she touches it? Sorry to hijack, Lynn do you have a suggestion? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> Yes, great ideas. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"></div>
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Any sort of natural/non-toxic cleaner. And we usually spray it in for them. Dd has only sucked on the toilet brush once. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/grossedout.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="gross"> That was about a year ago, and she's doesn't appear to have suffered any ill effects. I came in and the front of her shirt was wet, and I said "We don't eat toilet cleaner. It's not good for your body. And I'm sure the brush has lots of germs on it." And she replied "and it doesn't taste very good!"
 
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