Friday, August 14, 2009

Chore Bingo

I've been searching for some ideas for encouraging the boys to do chores. I'm going to try chore bingo. I am going to make cards for all four of us (nine squares for the boys and 25 for the adults) and put them on the fridge, and as we finish a chore we can put a magnet on that square. First one to get a Bingo wins some kind of special prize. The boys are so competitive, hopefully this will motivate them to help out around the house.

I'm a big believer in kids doing chores. When I was reading all about unschooling, I found most of the parents were on a big "anti-coercive parenting" kick. Don't force your kids to do chores. Or clean up after themselves or be responsible for their own things. I thought a lot about what they had to say. I decided I don’t agree with that philosophy at all.

I don't know why this rubs me the wrong way so much. I guess it hearkens back to my childhood. I come from an extremely rural part of Louisiana. We had a huge garden. I had to get up at 6am every day during the summer and on Saturdays and Sundays during the school year to help in the garden. We planted, watered, harvested, shucked, and preserved about 80% of the food we ate during the year. We were also expected to help with all the household chores, every day, on top of our homework.

I think chores have great value for a child. It helps a child learn basic life skills. It helps a child learn to appreciate what he has. It helps a child learn responsibility, and that other people are relying on him. It can help a child learn cooperation skills. It gives child a sense of accomplishment and worth. How great do you feel when you finish a job completely, especially when it was challenging? It helps the child feel that he has a real role in his family. He feels that his contribution is important.

How do you feel about chores? Do you have a trick or two that you use to encourage your kids?


  1. Chore Bingo sounds fun! We use craft sticks in sort of the same way and race to see who "flips their sticks" first. Maybe you saw them on my blog a while back. Since the fun comes and goes with them we are going to spice it up when we start school on the 1st. We have a school bell that whoever gets their sticks flipped first will be able to ring to tell us all that it's school time! :)

    I also use this term that I picked up in a homeschooling book once: We are each like a tire on our van. We all have to do our part to help around the house and in our family at all times to "air up our tire" so that the van can move. If one of us does not do our part our tire will be flat and the whole van won't move. The kids LOVE that and GET IT. That is usually all that needs to be said now and they even call each other on it and tell each other to "air up your tire!" when they are slacking.

  2. This sounds like a great idea! Will you send me your files after they're done? (LOL! I am such a mooch! But I am also _very_ interested in what your assigned chores are, because...) My brother and I weren't required to do chores on a regular basis. As far as I can tell, neither was my husband. I think it was a detriment to all of us. None of us are particularly responsible or easily motivated to do the regular daily maintenance stuff required in a household. I have been trying to get everyone in this house to pitch in and make sure the floors are picked up, and dishes done, before anyone plays the computer or watches a video. It never works. Not even for the adults.

    If we did the bingo around here, I wouldn't give out prizes. My bigs are competitive, too, and just the satisfaction of winning would, I think, be enough for them.

    As far as encouraging them, usually a race against each other ("Who can pick up and put away 3 toys first?") or "beat the clock" type game ("Let's see if you can put this toy away downstairs and get back to me before I count to 10/before this timer dings!") works. The only other chores they really have right now are helping mom/family working together to unload dishwasher/clean up the kitchen & common areas.