As a reading specialist, so many of the students I work with are struggling in school, not so much because of a lack in academic skills, but because of character development such as personal responsibility and resiliency. Here are some tips that I have found helpful in building character. First of all, chores should begin as soon as children are able to understand "no." They can learn to clean up, while singing the "clean up" song. Always think of the message you are trying to send, whenever you offer rewards or consequences. The message about chores is, "you are an able bodied member of the family, so attending to chores is expected." And expected behavior should not be rewarded with anything more than a specific verbal or nonverbal praise. "Good job getting your book bag by the door! That shows me that you are really maturing." What should happen when students do what they are supposed to do is this, "Do what you ought to do, then you can do what you want to do." That's what my grandpa used to say. SO, after chidden complete their responsibilities for the day, then they are free to do something of their choice. (By the way, that "free choice" should not include video games during the school week). The reason for allowance is to help children learn the value of a dollar. Allowance should reflect the maturity of the child. In other words, "if you're pulling your weight around here, (and an 8-year-old is going to pull more weight than a 3-year-old) then you can enjoy a little allowance each week." You do NOT get PAID for earning your keep!! Parents should decide on certain items that the parents will not purchase for the child. This boundary insures that the child will have a REASON to work and save their money. Chores should start out as routines. Create routines so that the child can be responsible for completing these routine chores without being reminded. For example: Morning Routine-1. Get up without being called more than once 2. Brush Teeth and wash face 3. Get your cereal or waffle 4. Be at the front door without being called to leave for school more than once Evening Routine: 1. Start Homework at 5:00 2. Set Homework Timer and when it dings, put homework away (finished or not). Time management is CRUCIAL for students to begin to develop in elementary school. When the child goes to school without completing the homework, they will learn to work more quickly and efficiently the next time. ( I could talk more about this). 3. Pack book bag, and place it by the front door so it is ready for school. 4. Shower and lay out clothes for the following day. 5. Bed at 9:00. There are lots of fun ways to encourage chores, but it is important for children to understand that parents are NOT going to beg, harass, or bribe the child into completing them. If the child does not complete the chore, then the message MUST be, "Okay, I will do this chore, but the choice you have made when this happens, is that you will go straight to your room, (where there is NO video game player or TV) and there you will stay for the rest of the evening." When the child hears this, his reaction will be, "okay, I will do it!" which will be followed by, "Oh no, not today, you had your chance; you can try again tomorrow; now go to your room."