A couple of weeks ago I was asked for some advice on a reward/star chart that will help and reward a child for their efforts. I was asked for the advice by a lady who has 10-year-old ASN twins that need clear guidance.
I don’t have experience of children with ASN or experience of twins. However, I do have experience of having to parent children and keep them looked after during a period of a fall in our life. A fall that meant that they were children and we had to pull together as a family unit to get our lives back on track. For me I found the resilience of children to be remarkable. Remarkable during a period when I felt very concerned for their wellbeing and ensuring that they were raised properly. I found that I didn’t particularly have to use a reward chart – they were watching me and joining in with what I asked.
In our last house we had a leak which destroyed the upstairs of the property. But my children were wonderful. They loved the helping their mum to get our destroyed house back into livable abode. They loved the painting. Shortly after we were offered a permanent home which meant that we had to move single-handed, set furniture up and turn our house into a home.
From this I learned that children love adventure and that adventure can be the upside downs that are occurring in your life. If you turn it into an adventure and fun then they will be more than happy to co-operate. My son’s have enjoyed using electric screwdrivers.
I found that I would outline the jobs that we needed to do and yes I would offer praise and reward. Through our struggles I have found that the children have learned respect. My youngest son at one point did say to his brother. “I admire mum so much, through it all she keeps going, she makes me want to try, she is my inspiration.” Children really are clever and I do believe that to get the best out of them they need to learn and they learn through what they see.
I think the fact that I enjoyed studying and would study in front of them has meant that they enjoy doing their school work. Children learn by example and children learn by joining in.
Therefore my advice to parents would be patience. Plenty of patience. Patience is what is going to drive your children forward. Patience and time out to have fun.
So what can children do at certain ages?
Pre-school children can help with simple chores.
- They can help you carry washing to the washing line.
- They can help you weed the garden.
- They can help put washing in to the washing machine.
- They can put their toys away into their toy boxes.
Most jobs that you do they can help you with and they will often enjoy joining in as they find it a fun game. So for instance if you are clearing out your car, they can join in too, you just have to offer permanent guidance – hence where the patience comes in. All of the while they are learning valuable life skills. I always said to my children. “If you help mummy do this job then we can do something really fun like go to the park because we will have time.” This seemed to work.
Once a child begins to get older. They can help more with baking – which is like a science lesson in itself. My ten year old daughter this week baked a Banana cake all by herself. She felt a sense of pride as I told her that she was just like Mary Berry.
By ten they are able to make their beds, tidy their bedroom, polish, hoover, in fact they can pretty much get along with most things around the home that you do. It is good to involve them and it does free up more time for the family.
We’re all individual and how we run our homes differs to the next. It does depend upon exactly what you can and can’t live with. Your house = your rules. Therefore I believe the standard reward charts that are bought in the shops can be more of a hindrance. In my home they didn’t work as the chores were not apt to my home. Possibly because in my home routine is not always something we adhere to successfully. We tend to live on a priorities basis but I sometimes wonder whether that’s because it’s a single-parent household and therefore jobs do not always get done and I can accept that. Sometimes we have to decorate or something crops up which means routines are not always possible. But to be honest that works in my house.
However, I have started a reward chart for my ten-year old daughter. We bought a pain A4 notepad. On the front she has stuck a picture that she has drawn herself. Inside we have written a list of jobs that if she does she will get a star for each job that she does that day. The jobs include:
- Making her bed
- Bringing her washing downstairs.
- Emptying her bedroom bin.
- Tidying her bedroom.
- Helping me with the tea.
- Polishing in the living room.
- Cleaning the tv.
- Reading her reading book.
- Doing her weekly homework.
- Feeding the guinea pig.
Each day she has to do her daily chores which are her bed and she has to read some of her reading book. But each day she will join in with a household chore that I’m doing. Mostly I’m doing chores so we pick and choose each day.
She must get at least five stars each day to get her weekly prize. Which is something of her choice. Here are my suggestions for treats. They do not have to even cost you money.
- A trip to the park or play area.
- A treat from the sweety shop.
- A magazine.
- A film of her choice to watch together.
- Baking a cake together.
Another idea that I have had is to actually go to the pound shop and pick out little gifts. £1 a week treat is not going to break the bank. You could even wrap the gifts too to show your appreciation and all young children enjoy receiving a present.
I’ve found that the notebook works as each page can be ripped out as the week ends and a new week begins. You can even change the chores as you go. All you need for the stars are felt tip pens and the chores can be written in nice coloured writing. The fact that your child has drawn the picture to their reward book will engage them from the outset.
As for the older boys in my house. They are pretty much driven to do their homework and they help when they are asked and they do the basics in their bedroom. In that sense I’m a lucky mum!!! And I think that children love nothing more and thrive in no better environment to the ones that they are appreciated in.