Monday, February 4, 2013

Finger Chores (children chore motivation)

Need help getting kids to do their chores? Here are a few tips I have figured out, that I wish I had learned when I started out with my older kids.

Finger Chores-
I don't know if "Finger Chores" is the best way to describe this, because I tend to think of chicken every time I say it.haha I don't know why, I just picture greasy Kentucky fried chicken when I say it.

This is how I get my kids to remember what is expected of them every morning before they can have any privileges for the day. 
It works great! 
I like chore charts and all, but they always somehow end up ripped off the wall, or colored on by certain little people, to the point we can't read them anymore, or they are even forgotten about. So I came up with a different solution to helping my kids remember. 
We have been doing this for a while now, and I love that the kids still love the concept. It just kind of stuck with us. Probably because our fingers are stuck with us too. :)
I even like to have my own "finger chores". 

Above is an example of my 5 year old daughter's finger chores. They are they same for all of us, except she gives the cat water in the morning. 
My 7 year old lets the dog outside. 
My 2 year old does "mommy's finger chores" with me. 
We also do night chores, listed in the white in the picture. The black ones are for the morning. 
These chores teach good hygiene and responsibility, and they are so easy for little people, and it gives them a sense of being "big". 
I love what my sister wrote in her blog the other day, that her kids know she will help them if they put forth the effort. 
I always felt like I was doing things for my kids to get their chores done, because they weren't motivated. Like literally brushing their teeth for them, putting their clothes on for them and such. Ugh so frustrating!
 Since we started this though, they  have gotten so much better at doing it themselves, and it makes it easy for me to reward them with their daily privileges. 

FlyLady taught me to have a morning routine, and I like my kids to have a morning routine too, that way they grow up in the habit already. Teach your child that for each finger on the right hand, they have a morning chore. It may take a little while to help them memorize the chores, but with a little prompting each day, and keeping it fun, they will eventually remember them. 
The left hand can be night chores. My kids fingers talk to them and say "Get dressed!" or, "Make your bed!" :)
If they can associate something with their chores to remember what they are, without having to look at a chart, it will become habit for them easier too. 

I learned the privileges technique from a book I read and loved called "A House United" by Nicholeen Peck. She has some really awesome ideas.
Privileges for our family include

  1. Playing outside
  2. snacks
  3. movies/t.v. (although we don't watch t.v.)
  4. games
  5. coloring
  6. and our MobiGo and VReader

Make sure you have lots of privileges for the kids to look forward to being able to do freely once their chores are done. Also, make sure they know you expect them to get their finger chores done before they can do anything else, and let them take their time so they aren't feeling forced. Forcing them to do chores, especially when they are little, will only cause them to not like chores even more their whole life. 

Remind them gently, that they don't have any privileges until their chores are done, if they try to do a privilege before they have earned it. I say GENTLY, because if you raise your voice, or demean them in anyway about their chores, they will feel like a failure before they even have a chance to feel awesome. 
Give them a high 5, and a "You did great!" when they complete them, to help them feel awesome too :)
You can also let them put a star on their chart to earn a reward.

Something I have tried to have for the last 7 years of parenting, but I only have really grasped why its essential until this last year.
My kids are good kids. They have their rebellious moments, and their tantrums still, but overall they are good kids. I would like to tell you your kids are good kids too! :)
I know this because, when they were born they were all perfect. Environment, and example are the only things that effect their personal choices until they are at the age of accountability, which I believe is about 8 years old. 
I have learned, that I can't punish my kids if they do not understand accountability yet. In fact I don't think punishment works for anyone, and anyone old enough to be punished for something really bad, was probably punished for the wrong reasons when they were first learning right and wrong.
I use consequences and rewards, but not punishment. 
Consequence is something that happens naturally after a choice is made. Believe it or not, kids will respond to a natural consequence better :)

Consequences- In our home we have 4 consequences that my husband and I and my kids have discussed. Our kids helped us decide them. (which is important to do too). 
They happen in degrees, according to the behavior that was displayed. 

  • 1st degree-Lose a privilege for the day (unless they work to earn it back)
  • 2nd degree-Extra chore (ours is usually washing walls, until the wall is clean) 
  • 3rd degree-time in their room, minimum time coordinates with the childs age. My 7 year old would get  at least 7 minutes, and my 2 year old would get 2 minutes. With my 2 year old though, I would not go over 2 minutes, until she is 5 and understands a bit better.
  • 4th degree-lose a privilege for the whole day

If they choose to not do their finger chores, they do not earn their daily privileges. 
If they call their siblings names, or initiate arguments, they get to wash walls. 
If they use physical violence towards siblings or friends, they get to wash walls also. 
In church if they choose to not be reverent, they get to spend reverent time in their bedrooms when we get home. 
The consequence can be given according to the negative behavior that was chosen also. 
We hardly ever have to do time in their room, or lose a privilege for a whole day, because losing 1 privilege until they work for it back, and washing walls works so well.

Nicholeen talks about privileges and consequences in her book too, and the ideas above came from her suggestions. They work really great. 
We make sure to talk about it with our kids first, so they can know what to expect if they choose to do something that would have a negative consequence. We also have positive consequences, like high 5's, star sticker charts to earn a party, and Daddy dates, and Mommy dates. 

Anyway, those are some things that have really helped us to have a more peaceful loving home. Patience from the parents is Key to all of it. Keeping a low voice, and quick responses to the kids, also helps the kids to know they are loved, and important, and first priority. Those were hard things for me to do for a long time, but I am getting a lot better, and my kids behaviors are improving. I love it, and just wanted to share! :)

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