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Family Experiment with Choreganizers: Getting Kids To Do More Around the House

Mar15

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Alpha Mom Family ExperimentsI’m not very good at making my kids do chores around the house. Because I find it draining. Take setting the table for example. First, you nag them to do it. They eventually do but they are screaming at each other about who gets to take out the forks. (Why are forks so coveted anyway?!) By the time they are done, it looks like a tornado threw napkins and flatware all over the table in some kind of bizarre, haphazard pattern. It’s just quicker and more efficient to do everything myself.

Except that my kids aren’t learning anything from that except that mommy is really good at setting the table. And didn’t we know that already?

Enter my savior Choreganizers.

Don’t let the awkward name scare you. I first read about this book on Pioneer Woman. It’s a way to organize chores for your kids and reward them once they complete the tasks.

I was a little hesitant to try this out because I don’t really believe in “paying” kids to do chores. I think children should be helping out around the house because they are part of a family not because they are getting some kind of reward. But I figured, since my kids weren’t really helping out around the house anyway, what did I have to lose?! Family Experiment Time!

Here is how Choreganizers works. Each kid has a chore chart and every morning she will wake up to find 5 chores in a pocket at the bottom of her chart. As she completes the chores, she puts the card into the completed section of the chart.

The book comes with lots of pre-made cards like Making Your Bed, Personal Grooming, Doing Homework, Setting the Table, Wiping Counters, etc. It also comes with blank cards so you can add your own chores. For instance, we added, “Making lunch” and “Putting School Library Book in Backpack.” I resisted adding, “Give Mommy Foot Rub.”

At the end of the day, if the child has completed ALL five chores with a good attitude, then he or she gets one fake dollar (of either dad dollars or mom money). The child only gets the fake reward dollar if all five chores are done and there has been no whining about it.

Then every Friday, the Chore Store is open for business!

This when your little helper can redeem her money for some kind of reward. The book gives you ideas for how to stock your Chore Store. I hate junky items filling my home so I made sure it was stuff my kids would really want. (The price of an item at the Chore Store does not reflect the actual retail cost.)

My 8-year-old daughter took her five dollars of mom money and bought a small box of Junior Mints for $2, a half hour of jumping time on the trampoline with her daddy for $2, and extra hugs with mommy for $1. (The hugs weren’t actually in the chore store but my daughter came up with the idea and I thought it was ridiculously sweet.)  Her younger 6-year-old sister decided to save her money because she wants to buy a $10 Yummy keychain which is all the rage at school. I also offered things like a pedicure with mommy, decorative duct tape (which the kids use to make bracelets), extra iPod Touch time and some of their favorite treats.

I’m now on my second week of Choreganizers and I have to say, to my surprise, it’s really working. There is no sibling fighting because they each have their own separate jobs. And there has been virtually no complaining because the kids just want to get their chores done and see all the completed cards on display.

“When I finish all my chores, I feel really proud,” said 6-year-old Summer who is by far the whiniest of my four kids.

It fills my heart with joy to see my kids dust busting, wiping counters and helping their siblings. But I love the most how proud they are of themselves! Plus, I don’t feel like I’m paying them to do chores. I feel like they are being rewarded for helping our household run more smoothly.

You can purchase and learn about Choreganizers here .

About the author

Kelcey Kintner

http://www.mamabirddiaries.com/
Kelcey Kintner writes the humor blog, The Mama Bird Diaries and co-founded the cheeky advice site, The Mouthy Housewives. This Columbia Journalism School graduate also drives a gold minivan because you can't fit five kids on a Vespa. An award winning journalist, she still secretly longs to be an Olympic ice skater. You can follow her on Twitter @mamabirddiaries.


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8 Responses to “Family Experiment with Choreganizers: Getting Kids To Do More Around the House”

  1. Ang Mar 15 at 3:16 pm Reply Reply

    I really like this system. However, I don’t know how I feel about buying outside play time with daddy. Is this EXTRA play time with parents? I feel like quality time with parents should just be given (assuming everything that needs to get done is done for both parties involved). Am I simply misunderstanding? 

    Overall I really like this system. Thank you for sharing! 

    • Kelcey Kintner
      Kelcey Kintner Mar 15 at 11:53 pm Reply Reply

      Yes, it’s definitely EXTRA one on one playtime with daddy. Their daddy jumps with them all the time on the trampoline but this is extra special time. I wasn’t sure how I felt bout the suggestion at first either but I think as long as kids feel like they get a lot of quality time with their parents to begin with, it works.

  2. Auntie T Mar 17 at 11:12 pm Reply Reply

    CHOREGANIZERS SOUNDS TERRIFIC, WISH I HAD THAT WHEN THE KID SWERE YOUNG. GOOD FOR YOU!

    • Ang Mar 18 at 8:29 pm Reply Reply

      I dig it. :)  Thanks again!

  3. Carrie Mar 19 at 9:27 pm Reply Reply

    What happens when/if your children decide they’re not interested in any of the items from the “chore store’ anymore, and opt not to do the chores?

    • Isabel Kallman
      Isabel Mar 19 at 9:35 pm Reply Reply

      That’s a good question, Carrie. I have a reward system with my son and one of the lessons I have learned is that we have to often review, update and optimize the rewards. When we do, he is definitely incentivized anew. The benefit of our reward system has been that over the years he has internalized many of the items that were on the list and no longer needs an incentive. He has become internally motivated to do them. Hope this helps. :)

  4. A Mar 20 at 9:03 am Reply Reply

    I have been using a star chart with my girls (7 and 5), but I LOVE the idea of making pictures so they can keep track of the chores themselves. Fantastic idea!

    Our stars are worth real money, but the girls have been putting it toward buying their first American Girl doll. It’s taking a while at 10 cents a star but they’ve been doing it for a few months and are not tired of it yet. They also used some of their money recently to buy Girl Scout cookies and donate to a charity.

    • Isabel Kallman
      Isabel Mar 20 at 11:45 am Reply Reply

      i love how your girls are working towards saving up for items that they want and also towards donating to charity as well.

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