As summer begins, it is time to revamp chores and daily habits for kids. Instead of those check-off reward charts, I make a picture chart to help my 8 year-old see her daily routines and chores. I’ve found after working with kids of all ages over the years, that a picture is worth a thousand words. When it’s chore or get ready time, I tell her, “Just look at your chart” so she knows what to do next.
After customizing her charts, I print several and hang them in her room and kitchen. During the school year the charts include some getting-ready-for school tasks which are now removed. The cool thing is when I find something that isn’t working for her, I can easily change it. Of course I carefully train her how to do each chore or habit.
The days when I walk into her bedroom and the bed is made, I want to shout “Yes! It’s working.” Every night she puts an outfit of clothes on the floor for the next day. I remember my older girls doing this too and it looks like a little person laying on the floor.
People ask me, “How do you make your kids do their chores?” Quite simply, they don’t get to play with friends, read, use the computer or Wii until the work is done. Play is the carrot to dangle. The key is Mom being consistent and not giving in to the whining. I typically raise my eyebrow and give her a firm look if she is begging. I’m not perfect, but this usually works.
Summer is always harder for routines, and I lighten up on my expectations. Bedtime is always later than I want it to be. You can always pause the movie and send the kids to do their night chores, and then let them to return to finish the movie.
Here is how to make my chore chart:
- Decide what chores or habits you want your child to learn. Make sure they are age appropriate otherwise you will be doing more of the work than they do. I put daily habits on the chart as well even down to putting on the deodorant. For younger children a good rule of thumb is their age. For example, a 4 year-old can do four chores. An 8 year-old can do 8 chores. And they can be spread throughout the day.
- Create a spreadsheet (love Excel!) with the same size column widths and row heights. Word docs are more difficult for me to maneuver, but if that is what you are used to then go for it.
- Add a chart icon picture on the side that tells your child if the chart is for morning, night or day chores. I used a vertical title box, but you could do a row on the top of the chart with your title.
- Find clipart or internet pictures of objects that are familiar to your child. I go to places like Walmart.com and Kohls for things she is familiar with. I even found her favorite stuffed horse, Angus from the movie Brave and a picture of a desk that is similar to her own.
- After you copy the picture to the spreadsheet, right mouse click and remove the hyperlink.
- Use the crop tool to take off the excess. Minimize or enlarge the picture until it is the size you want. Move the picture to the square you want.
- I added numbers to the squares to show the order for her to do the tasks. The font style on my chart is Aharoni with 28 font size.
Hope you figure out a chart that works for your child for the summer! Just be consistent.