Holiday Parenting

Parenting Hack: Holiday Break

December 10, 2018

It’s coming. You’ll hear the slam of a door and the sound of backpacks ricocheting off the floor followed by running footsteps to the fridge. The joyous childhood cries of freedom and wafts of peppermint signal only one thing: HOLIDAY BREAK.

For some parents, it’s magical. For others, it’s challenging. But, all parents stand united in figuring out “What in the world am I going to do with my kids for two wintry weeks?”

Sure, there are fun activities. One glance at Pinterest, and you’ll find “easy” homemade ornaments and “even easier” holiday-themed sugar cookies your kids will love to ice. But, what about those “not-so-fun” activities, the chores? Is this finally the holiday break in which your kids will dutifully make their beds, clean their rooms, organize their closets, and pick up after their perpetual snacking?

Behold! Chore Check’s guide for winter break which may give parents almost everything on their wish list: peace, responsible kids, and a clean home.

Special Holiday Chores!

The holidays bring more housework from decking the proverbial halls to polishing the silver to cleaning up the wreckage left behind from the gift exchange. Chore Check makes it easy for family holiday prep and clean up. Plus, many families are more charitable during the holiday season; include your kids in giving!

 Some of our favorite December “one-time” chores include:

  1. Stuff envelopes, address and stamp holiday cards
  2. Wrap gifts
  3. Hang outdoor lights with parent
  4. Put 5 toys from last year in the donation box
  5. Write name cards for place settings
  6. Assist with holiday charity activity (e.g. Toys for Tots)
  7. Hand out cookie tins to neighbors
  8. Prepare holiday song/dance performance for the party
  9. Help parent with party prep
  10. Sort used gift boxes and paper for recycling
  11. Write thank-you notes for your gifts

Extra time? Extra chores!

Assigning more chores may seem synonymous with “Bah! Humbug!” But, consider research by Sandra Hofferth and her team at the University of Maryland. Her study found that children between six and twelve years spend an average of just under three hours per week on housework (compared to 14 hours per week watching TV!). The average kid does less than a half-hour of work a day!

Research indicates that children who have a set of chores have higher self-esteem, are more responsible, and are better able to deal with frustration. Chores prepare kids for the real-world and independence.

Winter break is a great time to start a healthy chore routine. If you’re ready to increase your child’s responsibility level, consider an incremental change. If your child typically spends fifteen minutes per day on chores, try adding another ten-minute chore like unloading and loading the dishwasher. Of course, allowance is a great incentive! The kids will be more ambitious if they can earn extra allowance for their extra work.

Keep Them Interested With Fun Tasks

As many Chore Check families already know, not all tasks you assign in the Chore Check app have to be hard work. Keep the kiddos interested in fun assignments and you’ll definitely keep their attention!

Get your creative juices flowing with some of our favorite non-traditional assignments:

  1. Do a random act of kindness
  2. Play a board game with your sister
  3. Surprise grandma with a card
  4. Draw a picture for the fridge
  5. Plan a family game night
  6. Make cookies for the family
  7. Paint mom’s toenails
  8. Go without screen time for 5 consecutive hours!
  9. Make a homemade gift for Aunt Sarah
  10. I hid 12 stars around the house. Can you find them?

Fund Their Own Holiday Fun

You’ve been doling out allowance all year and now they need more money to buy gifts and winter break extras? Before you reach for your wallet, remember: you have an opportunity to teach financial literacy. Perhaps it’s the beginning of a great conversation about budgeting and making financial goals.

If your child is old enough, it might be time that he/she buys holiday gifts -- you might be amazed at the pride your son feels when you open a surprise he picked out and paid for. Don’t be shy when you express your pride and gratitude -- positive reinforcement cements learning.

If your teens want to do an “extra” excursion, they might enjoy it more if they have to earn it (or part of it) themselves. For example, if your daughter wants to go to a concert with her friends, she should understand that she has to make her bed and load the dishwasher for 60 days and maybe she needs to do extra chores like clean the garage. At Chore Check, we’ve heard success stories of kids asking for more chores to make more money to meet their financial goals.

Pro-Tip: Upgrade to Chore Check Pay and you can pay your kids’ allowance in real time. Children learn money management with their own pre-paid card. Plus, you can track spending and cancel lost cards.

Santa Is Watching  

If you’re a family who believes in Santa, you probably know the power of the Claus. One mention of Santa will make any believing child obey, comply and behave faster than you can say “Jolly Old St. Nicholas.” Use that to your advantage! Show your kids your Chore Check chore report and tell them that Santa and his team of elves have access! Staying off the dreaded "Naughty" list is easy with Chore Check!
To Do List? Enlist the family!