After a couple of weeks of a new chore regimen, expect some push back from everyone.
The novelty is gone and frankly, we are over it!
People who are procrastinators by nature are never going to be that excited about a To Do list or a chore chart. So, we have to get creative. Here are some things to try especially if one or more of your kids are just not into charts and lists.
Timers and alarms and clocks
Every child needs to have easy access to analog clocks and timers if you expect them to develop a logical sense of time passing. Digital clocks are just numbers that magically change. What do they mean anyway? To a kid, not much. Get them some old fashioned clocks with hands. Kitchen timers that tick down as the pointer moves toward zero are also great.
How can a timer help, you ask?
Your son is sick of you nagging him and besides, he’s right in the middle of a chapter!
Son, when this timer goes off it is time for you to take a bath.” Leave the room.
Now you aren’t telling him to take a bath, the timer is! And it usually works.
If you notice your child(ren) having trouble remembering what the timer signifies (because it is always changing) use sticky notes beside the timer. TAKE A BATH
Phase 1: check on them (silently) when the timer sounds and give gentle reminders about what they are to be doing
Phase 2: let them set the timer themselves at your prompting (“15 minutes until bathtime”)
Phase 3: independent time management with one task at a time.
This is the winning solution for my VERY STUBBORN, introspective child who procrastinates like he was being paid to.
Create a timeline for the after-school (or morning) time period. End the timeline 30 minutes before bedtime to provide a cushion. We are setting them up to succeed.
Mark off 15 minute increments like in this photo.
Create pieces of paper to indicate activities in corresponding sizes. For example, dinner at our house takes a bit under 30 minutes. So we have a Dinner piece of paper that is the right size to occupy two 15 minute sections of the timeline.
Create pieces of paper that simply say Chore if the chores vary from day to day.
When your child gets home from school, one of the first things they do is set up their timeline. They design their afternoon! If they want to put everything at the end of the day, they will learn how that plays out. Let them try it! Give them a chance to learn from experience. Maybe they will rock it and you know they’ll be the students pulling all-nighters in college to finish a project.
This timeline gives your child a lot of freedom and it saves you a lot of yelling and the frustration of trying to convince them that it’s really a better idea to take a shower after you play baseball. It’s about learning and figuring out how life works.
Phase 1: help them set up the timeline everyday just by practically making sure the pieces stick on and that everything is included. 15 minute increments
Phase 2: “Have you set up your timeline yet today?”
Phase 3: they enter items into their own digital calendar themselves and follow that instead (or as well)
Just because a chart or list didn’t work for your child doesn’t mean they are never going to be able to be a contributing member of society. Use timers and reminders, calendars and timelines to start teaching them time management and how to prioritize. Those skills are just as important as How to Load a Dishwasher.
Who has another not-a-chart chore system? Do tell! in the comments.