Clipboard Chores

Stacy asked me to describe how, when, and with whom I give out extra chores as a sort of discipline.  I fully realize that what I have to say about this may not be a fit for your home, so take it for what it's worth to you.


We have found that having extra work to do can be a great way of providing service opportunities to our children.  So rather than treating it as discipline, we tell them that they need to serve the family by doing such-and-such a chore.  Usually the chore fits in some way closely with whatever the infraction was.  I'll list some examples of ways we've used chores as extra service opportunities:

1.  A certain young man in our home has been prone to destruction ever since he was wee.  Recently he was told by his grandfather, his brother, and some workers who were on our property not to throw rocks.  He didn't heed their warnings, and when he launched a rock it actually broke the windshield of one of the workers.  Cost to the family was $260, so he now gets an extra job or two per day that are worth $1 each, and we have been charting his progress until he has worked off all $260.

2.  We have told our boys repeatedly that they need to sit down when using the toilet out of respect for the four females in the house.  I have found evidence lately that at least one of them is ignoring our advice, and have told them that when I find said liquid on the toilet seat, they will then clean all the toilets in the house, whether they need cleaning or not.  I suppose this is discipline, but I prefer to think of it as a really good reminder to sit down.

3.  When a child is struggling with a particular behavior, say, speaking harshly to a sibling, we will warn them that if we continue to observe such behavior, they will have to serve their sibling in some way that involves work.  Maybe making their bed for them everyday for three weeks, or doing their kitchen clean-up job for them.

Now, extra work tends to be something we assign to the boys so far.  Our boys are the oldest three (13, 11, and almost 9) so I do think that this is an age-related choice rather than a gender-related choice.  I know of one little girl who will probably benefit greatly from extra work when she's a little older and past the training stage.

Extra work and  service opportunities help to remind the child of their negative behavior and the need to change it, gives them opportunity to serve the family unselfishly in some way, and teaches them humility that we would like to see as evidence of Christ's redemption in the life of our family.

In my next post, I'll list all the chores on the clipboard.