In an effort to minimize confrontation each morning, I recently changed how my boys do daily chores. Let me back up some. When my oldest son was about 4 years old I started telling him the chores he needed to do each day; emptying trash cans, picking up toys – all easy tasks. That worked for awhile, but he was clearly annoyed with the daily oral list of things to do. So since he couldn’t quite read yet I made a list with each day of the week with pictures indicating what chore needed to be done. But he still needed the daily morning reminder which provoked the “don’t tell me what to do” response.
My stubborn little seven year old isn’t at all a bad kid. He is very sensitive, loves routine and takes pride in accomplishing tasks both big and small; but he needs to think everything is his idea. So my latest effort to get the chore list done requires little instruction from me. Here is what I made in Microsoft Word that hangs on our refrigerator. When chores are completed each day by 8:00 am, then each of my sons get to put a star sticker in place. When all the stars are filled in, I promised to take them to Boomer’s Family Fun in Avondale (an indoor play place). If the boys want to be difficult they punish themselves with the disappointment that our fun day at Boomer’s will take even longer to come. This works so much better than me yelling at them. We’ve had bumps along the way, but this morning I said not a word about chores and they were all complete by 7:53 am!!!