Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Works for Me Wednesday

For the last 6 months I have been really thinking about how I can inspire the boys to be more helpful around the house.  I want to balance the feeling of "we are a family and we help out around here" with the feeling of "I can do this and I will earn my keep around here."  It is a hard balance and it is a hard thing to come up with when your children are in these younger years. 
The idea of allowances, rewards, internal motivation, etc.  just plain stresses me out.  There are so many strong views for and against all of these things. 

So here's where we are starting (thanks to my friend Sarah for getting me going with this system). 

Our struggle in the mornings has been mama begging, pleading, and eventually snapping and raising my voice to get certain tasks done that should to be independently accomplished.  So that is where we are at. 

The boys each have a chart that lists 4-6 tasks that are their "MUST DO" items for the morning.  They also have a "MUST DO" list for the late afternoon/evening.  These items might sound silly but they are the things that I want them to do without my nagging/ involvement. 

Their job is to conquer each of these "Must do" items with very little help from mama.  The first week or two I gave lots of reminders.  Then I let them go and just watched to see what happens.  Now they do them and forget to mark them...the goal.  FOR SURE. 

They use the white board marker to mark the task when they are completed.  Then they bring the chart to me and I will check them over quickly and give them a smiley sticker to put on the back.

So basically they have 2 chances to get a smiley sticker each day.  I did mention to them that if I saw some great helping out then they might receive a bonus sticker.  Their back sticker chart has 20 boxes.  So within 2 weeks they can earn the entire chart.  IF THEY DON'T FORGET.  The kicker - they have to do the entire list to earn a sticker.  If they do all of the items except one they don't get a sticker.  Makes it hard at first but easy as the parent to not have to argue.

Now the charts have taken a break because these items are happening pretty naturally.  And I have other things I am snapping about. haha.  So the lists might change now.  But for the time being I am leaving the lists and kicking it up a notch with some other opportunities.

These babies are put out there when the opportunities present themselves and they can choose to take on an extra duty around here.  This will help them earn an extra sticker.  I haven't totally decided if each task would earn a sticker or if they have to do three.  But when they choose to do one they can clip it to their board and I will then take care of things. 

I also have a few other clips that are colored differently.  These are new "job of the week" clips.  This week Henry is in charge of setting the table and Charley is in charge of clearing the table.  This clip is attached to their chart.  There has been no question about "what they get for this"  I have presented this task as "we are a family and this is how we help." 

Now, as they earn stickers they can cash them in for different "can do" choices..  Here are the items on our list for now.  These also can change or move around.

5 Smiles: 
Special Dessert with lunch
Mommy or Daddy will clean something up for you
Extra TV show or screen time
Treasure chest

10 Smiles:
Shop the dollar section at Target
movie from redbox
donut for breakfast

15 Smiles:
You choose dinner menu
ice cream or hot chocolate outing with mom or dad
mom joins you for lunch at school
craft from craft store

20 Smiles:
Pick out a book at the book store ($5.00 limit)
Mom brings special lunch to school
Play date
outing with mom OR dad

So far Henry earned 20 smiles and chose the $5.00.  He is saving for a "BIG TOY".  Charley earned 20 stars and he can't decide what he wants. 

This is working just fine for us.  I wanted to give them opportunities to earn a little money and I am not/ we are not ready to move to an allowance system.  Totally overwhelming to think that whole deal out.  So this offers them the chance to earn some money and have the opportunity to spend and save.  Both boys got really cute wallets for Christmas and they are starting to think about their money.  It is so interesting to see how they think when it comes to spending, saving, giving, etc.

Chore charts and allowances are such an overwhelming thing since there are SO MANY ways to do things.  I think trial and error are okay. What works at this season might not work when the kids are older.  I think letting the kids know that we are trying this for now and it might change is okay.  This whole parenting gig is learn as you go.  And it is okay to realize that something is or isn't working. 

What are your strategies for chores, allowances, etc.

This is linked to Works for Me Wednesday here. 


natalie said...

I am totally om the same page! We have tried morning chore charts also but I hate the slips of paper that accumulate all over, so I love the white board marker idea! Might have to pick that up at wm today :)
I give the kids a dollar for every big chore they do without complaining or fighting on chore days. I like your idea of reward increments...
Hope your morning went smoothly. We are actually ready early, don't know how that happened!

Anonymous said...

Brilliant! I need to do something like this too. Thanks for sharing.

LaVonne @ Long Wait said...

Sarah, I really like these ideas. Thank you for sharing them at WFMW. I have a four year old girl and I am thinking of putting together a more detailed chore chart, this has given me great ideas!

Blessings :)

Amy M said...

I LOVE this, Sarah. Presently, Erin earns her daily allowance by accomplishing her morning "chores" without too much complaint. Other chores (for all 3 kids) are accomplished via nagging, cajoling, sometimes yelling, occasional bribing and often by mom just doing it herself. The ideas I appreciate the very most here are the rewards--they look great and doable! I am wondering, how does Henry read his chart?


Paula said...

I suck.

Rebecca @ Unexplained X2 said...

Ouch! Paula is being hard on herself!

Love your ideas...thanks so much for sharing.


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