4 busy mothers share techniques to get kids helping at home

4 busy mothers share techniques to get kids helping at home

In the battle to teach kids to do chores there are two sides: mothers who believe that children should be rewarded versus mothers who believe that work is its own reward.


Kimberly Roman works for a private investigation firm and has two children, both under the age of 10. Kimberly says she needs her kids to cooperate with housework because it benefits the entire family.

Yes to a fun reward system
Kimberly developed a reward system she calls the "virtual buck system”. Each chore her children do earns a "virtual buck”.

“Right now they have to earn 10 ‘virtual bucks’ to receive a small prize. If they do not do their chore, or do not do it well, the ‘buck’ is taken away.”

Kimberly says her children love earning the "virtual bucks" because when they hit their 10 bucks, they can get one of three rewards: a free App on the iPad; dinner at their choice of family restaurant; or the entire family has to play the Wii game of their choice.

“The buck system gives them an incentive to do their chores with pride. We have fun with the buck system because we make it part of family time.”

Kids can get credit for doing their chores
Mothers Denine M. Anderson-Regan and her sister, Daniele Anderson Stringer, blog about parenting and lifestyle choices. Denine says, “We used to work together, now we blog together and spend an extraordinary amount of time raising our kids together.”

In the sisters’ experience, children always respond better when they have a say in how their daily lives pan out. In their families, everyone shares in what the children earn.

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“In our homes, we let the kids choose what chores they would like to do each week. For every chore completed, they have the option to earn money or credit.”

In Denine and Daniele’s families, the money goes into the children’s piggy banks for them to use as they please. The credits, however, get banked by the family and can only be cashed in for family day activities.

“We've used their credits to go to the gaming park, pumpkin picking, and on paddle boat rides.”

Clean first, then get a treat
Busy mother Kiana Shaw, 35, takes a completely different approach to chores. She believes parents need to make cleaning the requirement, along with ideas like getting good grades. She doesn’t believe in material rewards.

“When I used to babysit my niece, she would ask me for cookies or other goodies as her snack. The first thing I would do is ask, ‘Is your room clean?’ In the beginning, she would run to her room, look around, and clean up anything out of place. After a while, she learned to clean up first before asking me for a treat. Now that she is 12 years old, her room is constantly clean and her chores are always done.”

Shaw believes in a philosophy that there is no reward without responsibility. “If my niece wants money for extracurricular activities her work needs to be done. I don’t have to give my niece extra rewards because the motivation to go out with her friends is all she needs. This keeps everyone happy.”

What to remember
All the moms agree that consistency breeds results. Through weekly requirements, children learn that the only way to be in a position to ask for anything extra is to first meet the minimum chore requirement of the home.

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