We have been on a journey to teach our kids how to not only contribute to the workings of our home, but to be helpful outside of the house. As a Mom, you want to raise children that understand how their actions can affect their family, friends, and everyone else in the world, but how can we help develop that mindset? We can create a “chores and achievements” list for them.
During the summer, we created a chore list for my son. He’s always helped out in the house, helping Dad take out the garbage or helping me set the table for dinner. We never actually gave him a real chore list and offered up an allowance. Even though we may be on a tight budget, I still believe that giving an allowance is key to teaching a child responsibility and good money management. The list was small, including items that he has to do everyday, and items that he would only have to do once a week. But, I was determined to have him work on his character as a person as well as contribute to the household chores. This is when I created “achievements.”
Achievements are actions that will teach him to bring joy to others around him, which will in turn bring joy to himself. Some of his actions include writing a letter to his grandmother in Ohio, going over to my Mother’s house and helping her with some of her chores, reading a story to his little sister, and so forth. I also added in a few academic achievements, like writing book reports on the books he checks out at the library. One key difference between the chores and achievements is that he doesn’t get an allowance for his achievements. When an achievement is accomplished, he’s given praise from not only us, but other family members. We’d like him to understand that when you do something helpful for another person, a “thank you” is all that you should expect from the interaction. That “thank you” will make you feel accomplished and important, and that’s all you’ll ever need.
Our goal is to keep this going during his 3rd grade school year, adding in achievements that are more centered around school activities and connecting with his sister when he’s home. It may seem like a small addition to his routine, but I’m hoping that it will yield big results in his life, in the long run.