What is the purpose and value of a job chart within the family? If you ask different people, you will get a different answer. We wanted to give you some ideas how to effectively use one and teach the right principles to your children.
We know a lot of parents that have children complete chores around the house. In fact, this is a very important part of raising children. However, if you go about it the wrong way, you can actually give the perception to your children that you only gave birth to them so that they could slave around the house for you. That is not what we are after...
If you approach having a list of chores like that for your children, then you are sure to instill the wrong values with your children. The more the children understand why they are doing it, the better the experience will be.
We are certainly not parenting experts. We simply wanted to share what we have done with our children that has been successful in hopes that it would work for you too. Here are some principles to help you teach your children about doing jobs around the house:
Be Age Appropriate - There are two different aspects to being age appropriate. The first part is to give them jobs that are reasonable for their age. We do not give the same jobs to our 5 year old that we give to our 9 year old. Their abilities to work are different and so we must give them jobs appropriately.
If you give them tasks that are beyond their abilities to complete, they will only be frustrated and they will have no interest in learning to work. The job chart will then be an item of contention that causes fights. That is completely counter-productive.
The other part of being age appropriate is to keep in mind their ability for the associated chore. As an example, my definition of cleaning a room is much different than the 5 year old's definition. So, you have to keep this in consideration.We are trying to teach our children the value of working. If I constantly tell them that they did not do good enough, they will be frustrated and lose self-esteem. Congratulate them and show them love for what they have done. Let them feel the reward of working hard and accomplishing something. Over time, show them how to do even better.
Pay Them Or Not? - I know different parents have different feelings about paying children for doing chores around the house. Some parents feel that they want to reward the children for their work with the job chart. Some parents want the children to do the work because they are part of the family and should contribute.
We prefer to pay the children for the work. Why? Because for us, we are not only trying to teach them to work hard, but we are also trying to teach them how to use money appropriately. If they never (or rarely) have their own money to manage, they will never learn how to give money, save money, and spend money.
The way we do it in our house is that the children are not given an allowance. They are paid commissions for the work that they do. It is very simple: if they do the work, they get paid. If they don't, they do not get paid.
The principle that we want them to learn is that the way you earn money in this life is to work for it. An allowance makes them feel entitled to receiving money. Don't we all know enough people that feel they are entitled to people giving them money? We do not want our children to be one of those people. We want them to understand that when you work hard, you are rewarded for the work.
See, for us, a job chart is so much more than just having children helping out around the house. It is about building character. It is all about helping them develop core values that will carry them through their lives. Our focus is to raise children that will be strong, contributing members of society.
And we believe that all those values should be taught in the home by loving parents. There is not a better way for them to learn those values.