Our Kids: Chores Part II

Cheyenne, WY The following tips courtesy Dick Berry of Youth Alternatives

What do you do when the kids aren't helping out with the chores? Trouble shooting chore issues can be done by checking on these three points: Post, Monitor, Follow-up. Using the city's speed limit as an example may help us understand what you need to do to fix your chore problems.

1. Post the Expectations: The city posts the speed limit. It isn't vague or difficult to understand. The sign says 20 mph, not whatever you wish. It doesn't have 20/35 on it.

Similarly, as parents you need to be clear on what you want from your child. You may need to write it out and post it on the fridge. Some parents find it difficult to be specific as it can lead to a confrontation. Being clear and specific allows you and your child to know if he met the requirement or he didn't. Posting helps you to clarify your expectations. Coming to an agreement may be difficult. Blend your parental expectations so you all feel comfortable with a common expectation.

Example: Your chore is to vacuum all of the carpeted rooms every Saturday by 5:00pm.

2. Monitor the Expectations : The city has people who monitor the compliance with the posted expectation. Those people drive special cars marked "police." If no one monitored the expectation, few people would comply. Similarly, as parents you must monitor how well your child complied with the expectation. Did he meet your expectation or not? It's helpful when you can catch him complying.

3. Follow-Up on the Compliance: The city has people who follow-up on the compliance or lack of compliance. Judges impose consequences if you aren't in compliance.

Similarly as parents you must impose consequences and rewards depending on your child's compliance. Be respectful of your child's choices: give him what he's earned.

Rewards: He gets something that is important to him: new video game, gets to go to a movie, etc. to start with you may need to be fairly immediate with the reward.

Punishments: work better when they don't require your child's cooperation.

Example: They lose the privilege of having a ride to someplace important. They can't have a friend stay the night. Certainty of punishment is more important than the severity. Don't be too harsh as you are less likely to follow through.

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