Episode #27:

Why Chore Charts Don't Work


I cannot tell you how many chore charts I have started and abandoned in my parenting journey.

“You get a sticker for cleaning up your toys!”

“Here’s a stamp for sweeping the kitchen!”

 I was always full of hope that these nicely structured (and sometimes beautifully decorated!) systems would turn my kids into responsible, helpful and courteous kids.

Spoiler alert: I had a junk drawer full of half-completed charts, half-used sheets of stickers and kids who would rather lay on the couch than empty the trash. 

Then I discovered Michaeleen Doucleff’s brilliant book “Hunt, Gather, Parent: What Ancient Cultures Can Teach Us About the Art of Raising Happy, Helpful Little Humans.”

If you only read one parenting book in your life, make it this one.

Michaeleen introduced me to the concept of acomedido, which she learned while staying with Mayan families in Mexico. The goal of acomedido is for children to pay attention to the world around them and learn what needs to be done on their own. If a child only pays attention to their “assigned chore” they never learn to skill of looking around, seeing who needs help or what needs doing, and taking that initiative to pitch in.

If you’ve ever heard your kid say, “That’s not my chore” when you asked them to help unload the dishwasher even though it wasn’t on their chart, you get what she’s saying.

On today’s “Good Enough Parenting” podcast, I share ways to help your kid become a helpful household citizen, rather than just chore chart checker.

Tune in to learn how to foster acomedido in your own house. Your kid’s future roommates will thank you.