Isabella’s mom adjusts when she makes dinner so that she can take Isabella to practice. Isabella watches TV. “Why don’t you ever offer to help, Isabella?” she snaps. “Take out the trash or something.”
During the ride to practice, Isabella is quiet and doesn’t want to interact. She brightens up when she arrives at the school and sees her new friends.
During practice, Isabella’s mom reflects on how her frustration impacted Isabella’s mood. She doesn’t want to have conflict. She realizes she’s adjusted her schedule, but Isabella has not. And she doesn’t want to be responsible for always telling Isabella what to do, so how should she approach making a change with Isabella?
Isabella’s mom makes a list of areas where she’d like help and in return will make time for Isabella to attend practice and be with friends. She realizes they need a chore chart. More than that, they need a regular routine of checking the chore chart every day after school and each of them need to have a chore.
They sit down as a family after dinner and make three tools to help with routines. First, the chore chart, simply lists the chores in a table with the people down the side, the days across the top, and the chore in each square where the person and the day come together.
Sample Chore Chart
In this example, a Chore is like a wildcard. Choose a chore choice from the bottom of the table and cross it out, then write it in place of chore up above. Dad did that with Laundry on Tuesday. Giving people a choice makes it easier to accept a new way of doing things.
Analyze and Schedule the Week
Isabella’s mom has the idea to put the chores and practices on a weekly schedule, so Isabella sees the benefits of helping with chores. They make the weekly schedule, and block out school, chores, practice, and learning time. Isabella suggests sleep and play time, too. Isabella’s new schedule is below.
Chores are a great place to develop lifelong habits and to learn responsibility. Simple, daily planning starts your child building an essential routine that ensures that if something needs done, it gets done. Children learn to make tradeoffs when too much has been planned. They take ownership, are helpful, and build their belief in themselves (self-efficacy).