Monday, July 2, 2012

Cautiously Optimistic

I don't know what it is about summer vacation that inspires me with all sort of projects and jobs for the summer.  Last summer I was determined to complete the upstairs painting and resulted in getting E's room done by September.  At this rate, we're accomplishing a room a year.  Oh yea.


This summer is no different.  Only I have grand plans in regards to my children.  This summer I am determined that I am going to instil some core values in them.. well core housecleaning values.  Does making your bed everyday, tidying your room, getting dressed and brushing your teeth count as core values?  I don't know but it's things I'd like them to start learning to do.  I am tired of having to constantly nag at them or do it myself.

So I've bit the bullet, sat down did a little poking around the internet and came up with three, (I said 3 (three)) different "chore charts".


Chart #1 Courtesy of Free Printable Chore Charts for Kids
I tacked one of these charts on each of my children's bedroom doors.  Cars for O, Tangled for E and Minnie Mouse for J.  I picked the charts that you could type the chores right onto the chart before printing.


Make Your Bed   
Get Dressed   
Tidy Your Room
Brush your Teeth

The idea being that once they completed each task, they'd get a sticker.  Now considering my children are aged 5, 6 and 8 the "Get Dressed" one is pretty much a no brainer.  After all they get dressed every day just to go to school. So I'm pretty much giving them that one.  The rest, we need to work on.  Particularly the brushing of their teeth in the morning.  I am so all over it for the bedtime routine but have a hard time remembering to nag them in the a.m.  So on the list it goes. 

So every day at a certain point in the morning when it's time to finally get dressed for the day (we are on summer vacation after all), we will all go upstairs and I will check to see that they have done each item on the list.  If their rooms are still tidy from the night before, I leave that one until bedtime and all I need to say is "If you want your tidy sticker for the day, your rooms need to be tidy".  Well, what do you know it's almost like waving a magic wand.  For the entire week now, we've managed to have relative tidy rooms, an awesome routine with very little whining.  

Of course, they are motivated by rewards.  At the end of the week, they are able to cash in that reward chart for a treasure from the treasure box.  (i.e. dollar store junk).  Not to be totally unreasonable, I will allow them to miss up to 3 chores a week but so far, we've had a full chart.  

Chart #2 - The Homework Chart   I adapted this chart to be their Homework Chart.  For Week 1 to 4, I put in Reading/Math/ Journaling  

For each day they work on schoolwork without complaining they get a sticker and once the week is up, they get to choose again from the treasure box.  I can't tell you what a peaceful morning we had the first day we started the homework chart.  They actually sat quietly for an hour working on homework. 

 J and E both worked on Starfall.com.  I would totally recommend this site. Through games and music, kids learn to sound out words, phonetic sound combinations, ABC's, counting and basic math.  My son (5) is now at the point where he knows the days of the week and can pick out today's date with the Calendar game.  They have a free version which is quite extensive and now a paid portion of the site which is more in depth.  We've used the free site for a couple of years now but decided to sign up for the paid version to give new and fresh material for the kids.  To sign up for 365 days it's only $35.00 and you can authorize up to 3 computers to access your account.  (not a paid advertisement or anything just my recommendation from personal experience with it)

And Chart #3, well that will have to wait for another post since this one is getting rather long.  

In the meantime, I will say I am cautiously optimistic about this plan for improvement.  I was surprised at how well my children embraced the new routine and how enthusiastic they were when I gave them the Family Rules (also to follow in another post).  Of course, it's only the end of the first week and I am just as likely to tire and get lax about the whole thing as they are which is why I say I am cautiously optimistic.  I need just as much improvement as they do. 

Some reputable parenting advisors are against such charts.  What do you think? Do chore/reward charts work in your house?  

Zeemaid

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