As the eldest of four children, I had a lot of household chores and responsibilities while growing up. I didn’t like it, of course, but I did what was expected of me. I had read stories about kids growing up in the country having many more chores than I, so I figured my lot wasn’t so bad.
Nigel sees it differently. He balks at the few chores I have him do, complaining about slave labor and communism. “Cleaning rooms is for nerds,” he says. Cajoling, begging, and trying to reason with him (“Everyone has responsibilities,” I say) is usually unsuccessful. So I came up with a plan:
1) Create a chart – a visible reference, like the schedules used in his early intervention classes. It lists what he does when, each day. It has spaces for star stickers or checkmarks to indicate when chores are completed.
2) Offer rewards – positive reinforcement for completing chores. He’s a teen, so it has to be something that will really motivate him. Two things he loves the most: renting movies and having friends spend the night. So when he receives a certain number of star stickers, he can rent a movie or have a sleepover.
3) Withdraw privileges – negative consequences for not completing chores. Two things he would miss: watching movies in his room every day and having computer time. For each day a chore is not completed, he will lose time doing what he enjoys.
This is an experiment – I’ll report back with how it goes! Unlike communism, I think it will work.