There are some very simple charts and wipe-off boards that are very useful to teachers as well as parents when it comes to keeping track of expectations, assignments, scores, or chores. I have had classes compete against each other for the best behavior points. My four year old has a chart in her big sisters’ room where she earns stickers toward a prize box when they play school. My nephew has a sticker chart in the bathroom for success on the potty. Help your Au Pair come up with a simple chore chart or reward program to keep the house organized and moving safely and cleanly along.
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What do chore charts, incentive programs, and family rules have in common? They all offer the structure that a 4-year-old needs. They let your child know what’s expected of him: “If I clean up my toys all week and Mommy marks off each day on the chart, I get a trip to the dollar store.”
Admittedly, rules and programs are a lot of work to maintain. You have to think them up, explain them to your child, and then be consistent about following through. Make it easier on yourself — and boost your odds of successful results — by not using more than one incentive chart at a time. It can be hard to stick to a routine when you’re juggling schedules of multiple children or if you have a demanding job, but if you can dig in and stay consistent, you’ll reap the rewards. Often the very presence of a chart inspires your child to keep up with it even when you forget. Don’t be surprised if he’s the one reminding you that he did his chore and is ready for a gold star.