Chores sorted!

23 July 2014

Looking for a good way to teach your children about responsibility and to make them more independent? Here’s a great routine chart to download and put up in their rooms. And they’ll love they crazy characters on it!

Looking for a good way to teach your children about responsibility and to make them more independent? Here’s a great routine chart to download and put up in their rooms. And they’ll love they crazy characters on it!

Getting kids to keep up with regular chores such as brushing teeth, packing away toys and doing homework can drive busy moms up the wall. If these tasks cause a daily battle of wills in your home, drawing up a routine chart might be the answer. It not only reminds children what chores have to be done every day, it helps them to accept responsibility and gives structure to their day.

Why is a routine important?

Routine teaches kids responsibility, making them more independent, Johannesburg clinical psychologist Michelle Andrews says.

  • It helps children to establish a balance between homework, friends, personal hygiene and family time.
  • It teaches them to manage their time efficiently because they have to allocate time to various tasks.
  • It reduces stress in the home because children are less rushed and don’t require you to check up on them constantly.

What’s a routine chart?

A routine chart is a calendar that runs from Monday to Sunday with a list of chores the child has to do each day. It’s especially useful for kids younger than 12, Cape Town educational psychologist Melissa Bothma says. Depending on their age, it can include everything from brushing their teeth to doing their homework.

Put it on a wall in the bedroom where they can see it. If you have the chart laminated they can tick off their chores with a whiteboard marker or apply peel-off stickers when they’re done. Bothma suggests that with older kids you make a deal, for instance that they perform certain chores in exchange for pocket money.

What difference can a routine chart make?

Bothma says such a chart has these benefits for children:

  • Because it’s visible and tangible it helps them to remember their chores.
  • It helps parents to set targets for their kids – and children to set their own targets.
  • If for instance your child wants to learn to play a musical instrument you can set aside a time slot on the chart for practising.
  • It helps children to become independent because they know they have to do the chores on the chart themselves, Cape Town educational psychologist Karline Farbach says. Their self-confidence also gets a boost if they do the tasks on their own.

How to get kids to accept a routine chart

  • A carrot-and-stick method works well, Farbach says. If your children don’t complete all their daily chores you can for instance withhold privileges.
  • “Ensure the chores are age-appropriate and within your child’s range of abilities,” Andrews says. If you set the standard too high it will discourage your children if they can’t perform the chores.
  • “Be specific,” Farbach says. Don’t just tell them to tidy their room. Rather tell them to make their bed and put their dirty clothes in the laundry basket.
  • Don’t list only unpleasant chores on the routine chart or your children will associate it with punishment, Andrews says. Also make time for fun to spur your children on to complete their chores.
  • Link fun chores with less pleasant ones, Farbach says. Your children will for instance do their homework more quickly if they know they can watch TV when they’re done.

When may kids break the routine?

  • A child’s routine must be broken sometimes because it teaches them you can’t plan for everything, Farbach says. “I advise parents to maintain a strict routine with their kids during the week and to give them more freedom on weekends and during holidays,” Bothma says.
  • Even if the routine is broken during holidays, certain basic tasks must still be performed. During holidays for instance they don’t have to do arithmetic every day but they still have to pack away their toys and brush their teeth.
  • It’s important that children understand why their routine has been broken. “Explain it’s because it’s weekend or because they’re unwell so they don’t expect it other times,” Andrews says.

Download our brand new SuperMom routine chart here

•             Routine chart

To print your routine chart:

  • Click on the link above.
  • Right click on the routine chart.
  • Choose "save image as".
  • Save the routine chart to your device.
  • Print the routine chart from where it is saved.

- Mieke Vlok

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