In our house, we have three children, ages 2, 4, and 7 years old. My husband and I believe the two older children are capable of being responsible for tasks such as picking up their room without direct supervision. I do my best to communicate my expectations clearly and in simple language that is easy to understand. The majority of the time, our house runs like clockwork. However, lately, I have found that I tend to repeat the same instructions multiple times in a day. “Go pick up your room, please.” or “Time to brush your teeth, kiddos!” It can be so tiring to repeat myself, especially since I am the majority parent.
I have been thinking of and drawing out ideas for some sort of system to keep track of tasks completed that would be simple to understand, yet explain expectations, while being easy enough for the children to use unsupervised. I also wanted to include my husband in the process somehow. I bought a white poster board & some supplies. I even spent an hour one Saturday morning playing around with library pockets and index cards but it just seemed too complicated.
Then a few weeks ago, while out on a family outing to visit the Weinermoblie (yes, I’m serious) I spotted a teacher’s supply store in a nearby shopping center. I thought that it was worth the time to go inside and see if I could find something to fit my needs. I struck gold and found exactly what I was looking for!
What I found is a chore/reward system, called “I Did My Chores!”. Here is a link to the product description on the inventor’s website (a Mom!). It basically is a board that has a set of chore cards. Each card has the name & picture depicting a chore to be done. The cards can be sorted by time of day that the chore is to be done (morning – brush teeth, after school – do homework). After each task/chore is done, the child then moves the corresponding card to an “I did it!” spot.
At the end of each day, the parent switches out each completed task with a token. The idea is to give the child(ren) the responsibility and independence to move the cards as they complete tasks. This also frees the parent(s) from nagging reminding the child(ren) to complete chores.
One of the great things about the kit is that is includes pre-printed stickers for the cards, but also blank stickers. This way you can customize the chores/tasks for each child and /or update them as your child grows.
Our first reward list
The final part is to compile a list of rewards from which the child(ren) can trade tokens for. There is a list of suggested rewards that came with the kit, e.g. have a friend spend the night. We had fun coming up with a short list of rewards and I like that our children got to be involved in making the list. I anticipate that the list will change with time.
So as great as this product is, I had one more component to the chore system that I needed before I was done. That was to somehow include my husband in the equation.
He is gone so much and misses out on so much of our childrens’ lives that I make it a point to try extra hard to involve him. I did a quick search on Google for printable dollar bills, downloaded a template, imported a picture of my hubby, and presto!
Our personalized Daddy Dollars!!
The plan is that every night I will pay out one token for each completed card and every Sunday night the children will sit down with my husband to trade their tokens for Daddy Dollars (25 tokens = 1 DD). They can redeem their Daddy Dollars at any time (depending on the reward they choose).
So far we have been using this system for almost three weeks. I love it! From the first day, it was a huge relief to me to not have to remind my children over and over again to do things. All I do now is say once or twice a day “Hey, Apollo, is there anything on your chart you need to do?” Seriously – I remind them once or twice a day, not an hour. Easy peasy!
They really enjoy it also. I have noticed a big change in Artemis as she completes her cards and moves them to the “I did it!” box. without any prompts from me. She seems to be very proud of herself and have an air of self-confidence she didn’t have before.
Both children choose to redeem their first two Daddy Dollars to have a picnic in our living room. It meant a lot to both them and I that they earned the reward. I look forward to seeing what they pick next.
I am really glad I bought the system and highly recommend it to any parent.
How about you? Do you use a similar system? How is it different?