Motivating children with goals

Motivating children with goals is a challenge.  They know what they want.  They know what they need to do to get those things.  But they need clear plans.

Our kids do have some goals.  One son wants to buy a Harry Potter wand.  Our daughter wants a robotic dog.  How do we motivate them?  How do we get them to help around the house to earn those things?

Chore Chart

We have chore charts organized for each child.  Right now the charts are on clipboards hanging on the wall next to their desks.  At any time they can go look at the chores on their list and choose to do some chores and earn some money.  We write the money down on their chart so they can see how much they have.

It’s pretty cool.  But it’s more cool from a parent’s point of view than from the kids’ points of view.  The kids do not generally think to go look at the charts and see what chores are available.  They aren’t thinking “I want that wand and I need to keep earning and accumulating money so I can buy it.”Chore Ledger

What’s missing?

I think that scheduling and calendaring is missing.  These jokers are young enough that they simply don’t have enough organizational skills yet.  They don’t plan ahead that much.  They need their parents to help them plan ahead.

We all know that she wants the dog.  We all know that she still needs $35.  We all know that there is a list of chores with their values.  None of us has any idea when she’ll have enough money for the dog.

We need to lay out the calendar.  On Monday you do these chores.  On Wednesday you do those chores.  On Saturday you do some other tasks.  Along with a calendar we can layout the expected accumulation so we can see how far she has progressed toward the goal.  Then we all know what she should do, when she should do it, and when she will achieve her goal.  An example spreadsheet conveys the idea.

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