For the past few years I’ve struggled to find a way to encourage my children to do their chores and take more responsibility. A couple years ago I put a chore chart on CG’s door where they would check off the chores and earn a nickel for every one. At the end of the week I’d dole out the money they had earned for doing those chores. That lasted a few weeks and they lost interest in earning money and even moreso in doing chores.
Then I had these paper chore charts that barely lasted a couple weeks because I hated having to fill out those paper charts EACH AND EVERY WEEK (yes, I know I could have photocopied the original, but we didn’t have a copier or scanner at home at the time).
With the kids now entering first and second grade, the time is NOW to get them to be more responsible for their surroundings. And if money is not enough of a reward for them, then I figured I’d try something else.
Enter My Job Chart, an awesome website I learned about last week. The site enables you to set up an online daily chores list for which the kids can earn points. In our case, the kids earn points for brushing their teeth, doing homework, making their bed, putting their dishes in the sink, and reading a book at night. CG earns points for not whining. CB earns points for staying dry during the day (he tends to wet himself when he doesn’t want to stop playing to obey the need to pee). Each child can earn between 70- 100 points a day if they do EVERYTHING on the list. On weekends they earn less points because they don’t have school-related chores to do.
In turn, I’ve set up rewards for the children, based on how many points they’ve earned each day. For instance, if a child earns 80 points, then can redeem those points for “Family Game Night” which means that child can pick ANY board game in the house and we’ll play it. 115 points can be redeemed for 30 minutes of computer time. 150 points gets them 30 minutes of Wii time. 1500 points gets them $10 ($1 of which is for tithe, and $2 of which is for savings). And all in between we have other rewards – going out for ice cream, a toy from the dollar store, and one called “Pick a Parent” where that child can pick either parent and do something special just the two of them – whether its going to the park, making cookies together, or having a Jim Jones Barbie Tea Party one afternoon.
We began the program on Wednesday evening when they got home from Camp Marmie, and so far it’s been a huge hit. It took a while for CG to understand the need to SAVE her points (she being a MAJOR immediate-gratification spender) to get the reward she really wants. CB, on the other hand, loves saving, so I’m not so worried about him.
What’s great is that once the kids understand how to negotiate the site and I can trust them to fill out the form AFTER they’ve done their chores (not in advance), then I can leave them to their own devices and let them log into the site on their own – they each have their own account that tracks their points and redemptions.
Here’s a picture of our family login page, which is all part of our main account:
Each person has a login screen. Denis and I have administrator rights so that we can go in and add more chores as they get older, and add more reward options as we come up with new ideas or the kids request other kinds of rewards. The website has a lot of options available for rewards – such as going camping, getting a new kitten, getting new shoes, going to the zoo, and even going to Disneyland! You can also add custom rewards. You assign any point value you want to the rewards as you set up your system, based on how many you think the kids can earn in a day and how long you want them to do their chores before they earn enough points to redeem them.
I’m of the mind that the ability to earn at least one reward option a day is incentive for my kids to keep doing their chores and using the website. If they did chores for three days and only earned enough points to add one more reward option, they’d get frustrated pretty darn quick. As it is, CB expressed displeasure that he’d have to do 10 days of chores to earn the chance to go to the movies. But he’s still happy to see that each day he unlocks a new reward – even if he opts not to redeem his points until he can go to the movies.
Here’s a picture below showing CG’s current “store” – she has 252 points saved up since Wednesday night, and has unlocked five rewards thus far. See the sticky note on the right side of the picture? We can send each other notes through the site and they appear in the user’s sidebar when they log in. How cool is that?
So that’s my review. I think it’s a great option for kids nowadays since they are so computer-savvy. I also like the idea of letting my kids pick their reward for doing a good job, rather than just giving out money once a week. If you have been struggling to find a way to get your kids to do chores, this might be a good option for you.