Chore Incentives for Children

When Children Struggle to do Their Chores

Monday's are often hectic around here as we scurry back into our routine after the weekend. Sometimes we are all overtired or just dragging our feet simply because we don't want it to be Monday. Who can relate?

Yesterday was certainly one of those Mondays. I felt like a drill sergeant trying to get everyone back on track with their responsibilities. I started wondering what made it so difficult for them, knowing they do the same things regularly. Surely there was a better way to encourage my children to complete their lessons and chores without having to be constantly told.

So, I got to thinking. What motivates me? I mean, as an adult, the reward is being able to live in a somewhat neat and orderly home. It increases peace in our home and offers us space to breathe when there isn't stuff all over the floors and surfaces.

But when I was younger, those things didn't drive me. But money or prizes certainly helped me move! Who doesn't like to be motivated with some kind of incentive. Isn't that why our husband's often go to work? Even when they dislike their jobs? The reward of being paid (even if it is required to live) keeps them going.

Are Rewards for Chores a Good Idea?

There was a time I also found sense in hearing others say our children shouldn't be rewarded for something that's expected of them. But yesterday, it stopped making sense to me.

Because I thought, "Even God rewards His children for running the race. Even God blesses His children when they do what's right...even though it's expected of us." Isn't THE PRIZE what helps us keep going? So, why would we deny our children that same gift? The gift of a prize or incentive to continue running the race?

I mean, we can't even get it right and yet we have eternity to look forward to. He tells us to press on toward the PRIZE.

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. -Galatians 6:9

He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. 1 Corinthians 3:8

What a perfect spiritual lesson built from real life!

As our children continue in their work, day after day, week after week, not only will they see the fruit of their hard work, but they will understand as they continue to press on, there is reward. When they are old enough to understand this as a spiritual parallel, it will make good sense to them.

So, I created a schedule for each of my children, with their particular responsibilities on them.

That way there is no question of what they need to do or when. It's all right there in front of them. This alleviates me from becoming the drill sergeant and them from hearing me. :P

So, I shared my thoughts briefly on my Facebook page and a commenter shared a link that may interest some of you.

My Job Chart

The site is called My Job Chart and it's to encourage children to learn work ethic, accountability, and money management. All very important skills for real life.

The best thing about it, besides how wonderfully organized and enticing it is, is it's FREE.

Children can earn points from taking care of their responsibilities. Parents can convert those points into money AND it's linked with Amazon so if a child has something they want, they can work toward it. There are also charities they can donate to.

They use the Save Share Spend format. So, if that's something that interests you, you can look into that. I may use that in addition to the paper charts so they don't have to constantly be on the computer to check things off. Instead, they can do it at the end of the day.

The above chart I made I had laminated so the kids could cross off what they've accomplished with a dry erase marker, then clear it for the next day.

Chore Incentives

So, I'd say my mind is changing on offering an incentive for a job well done. The children will quickly and easily learn the consequences of doing poor work or excellent work because it will be evident in more than merely my disappointment. It will effect them more directly, too.

I don't think it's right or wrong to offer a reward or not. I think it really depends on each family. We are a large family, so we make large messes, and that can be overwhelming for a child. I make sure I pair up children to work on jobs together -- especially big jobs. They learn teamwork and it helps get the job done faster. But it still can seem hard to get motivated with no end in sight.

Come on moms, you know we get just as discouraged and overwhelmed! It's okay to show our children sympathy and tangible appreciation. :)

I modified this chart from Learn With Play at Home. You can download yours from there. :)

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