Nancy and I have been thinking about the best ways to teach our children how to work. This past week we instituted a new chore program. Each day the kids have daily chores that they need to complete. If they complete their chores they get points. Once they’ve earned up enough points they get a treat. Even Nancy and I get points for doing some of our daily chores. The kids also get points for attitude. Attitude points are completely subjective and can be taken away if they whine, are naughty, etc. Kind of like House Points in Harry Potter’s world. Once the entire collective family earns a certain amount of points then we get to do a family activity like go bowling or miniature golfing or something fun like that. We need 2,000 total family points in order to do an activity. I figured it would take about 5 or 6 weeks to earn up 2,000 points.
On Saturdays each kid has major cleaning chores to do. I tried to devise the chore lists such that it will take each kid about two hours to do their chores. There are no points for doing Saturday chores. Saturday chores are just part of the price you pay for being in the family.
This past Monday we had a special Family Home Evening where I explained the new chore program, and the rewards, to the kids. They did pretty good throughout the week although Samuel lost his attitude points every single day except Friday. He was also grounded for the entire weekend from playing with friends so that should tell you the kind of week he had. Overall it worked pretty well. The kids needed the usual pushing and prodding but they did their chores and towards the end of the week they started to do them without as much prodding.
This Saturday was our first day of doing Saturday chores. I thought we would get a lot of whines and moans and groans from the kids but we had a family meeting this morning and gave out the assignments and the kids set about doing their work without any complaning. Nancy and I helped the youngest two kids with their chores and helped the other kids with things like getting the cleaning supplies out of the cupboards and such. I was so pleased and surprised that they worked hard for two hours without complaint that at lunchtime I awarded an extra 100 bonus points, 5% of the total needed for an activity, to our family total. It’s probably too early to call the program a long-term success but I would say the first week was an outstanding success.