My children are typical in the sense that they are pretty much like little explosions of disaster and terror throughout my house daily. My 3 year old, in particular, is SUCH a messy eater. I have half a mind to bring her back down to sippy cups because she spills her drink at least once a day and my dog thinks that she is some kind of awesome snack dispenser.
Other than putting their dirty dishes in the sink when they’re done with with them or helping to wipe up their own spills, kitchen cleaning is typically parent territory. Their bedrooms, however, are complete and utter kid cleaning territory. And my kids were previously A NIGHTMARE when it came to clean up time at the end of the night. I dreaded it, they dreaded it, and half the time I gave up before it was even adequately clean. Somewhere in between feeling like an utter failure as a parent and thinking of an alibi for how the kids’ rooms caught on fire, I decided that there had to be a better way.
So let me tell you about the Chore Chart that is rocking mine and my kids world.
Seriously, this if this seems like the most simple solution ever… it’s because it is. I don’t know how I went my entire mom life without it. The one that we have is from Melissa and Doug (who make super cute wooden toys) but any one would work I’m sure. We had actually gotten it for Jace for Christmas like… 2 Christmases ago. So one night in all of my please-pick-up-the-freaking-legos desperation I busted our now dusty chore chart and explained the rules.
How it Works:
They would each start with 3 chores (age appropriate, Jace’s are more difficult) and each night if they completed their chores THEY (this is important) would get to pick the star magnet and place it on their chart. It seriously thrills them. I cannot express the pride they feel as they watch their hard work fill up their chart.
Jace’s chores include:
Cleaning his room (Hallelujah!)
Taking care of his pet. He lets Oakley out in the morning and feeds him.
Getting dressed. This was more relevant in the morning before school than it is during the summer, but it does keep him from wearing jammies all day. ;P
Zoey’s chores include:
Cleaning her room.
Brushing her teeth. She used to give me a hard time about this, so it made the list.
Getting ready for bed. Getting her through shower time, jammie time, and staying in bed was always such a fight that I decided rewarding her for making it easier on me was in both of our best interest. 😉
Seriously you guys, it has been such a hit it is life changing. I literally don’t have to even ask them to clean their rooms, they just do it! Or if I do ask them, there is no fighting. It’s become a game to them. Their rooms have zero toys on the floor by bedtime 90% of the time. And I don’t pick up a thing. And it sure does make vacuuming a breeze.
I Don’t Expect Perfection Though
At the end of the day, Zoey is still only 3 years old. Some nights, she is just too tired and bratty in the evening for me to realistically expect miracles in regards to her bedroom. On these nights, we skip it, and it’s okay. It doesn’t seem to disrupt the flow or effectiveness of the overall program. She actually gets upset that she’s missing the opportunity to “get her sticker” that night. After which I gently explain that she can try again tomorrow.
When they get most of their stickers for the week they get a reward on the weekend. Once, we saw Finding Dory. Another time we brought Zoey to Claires to pick out play jewelry, or I brought new chalk home from Target. They really don’t even seem to care about how fancy the reward is, they are just over the moon when I acknowledge their accomplishments.
It has taught them responsibility in the best way, by making them proud of what they do for themselves. I think we will add a new chore to our chart soon, since these past couple months have gone so well. If you have trouble getting your kids to clean up, you should totally try this!