Well, it is that magical time of year… the time when moms all over the country get out the ‘chore charts’ and hope that this year they will last a little longer than last! Actually, to be quite honest, Shey was begging for hers. No joke. She’s not my kid!
Anyway, last year I wanted to let Shey earn money so that we could learn about tithing. It was something I had realized that she hadn’t been really introduced to, so instead of earning prizes or outings, she earned cold hard cash. I think it worked well, although I found 22 cents at the bottom of my church bag a few months ago that I’m sure was supposed to be tithing once upon a time. Oh, well.
This year, I really wanted to focus on WHY we do chores. A lot of times, Shey gets frustrated because she has to help clean up a mess that she didn’t make herself. We are constantly trying to explain that we all have to pitch in because we are a family, and because the work needs to get done. So, I wanted to reemphasize that concept through the chore chart system this summer.
Instead of earning toys, money, or trips to the pool, I decided that I wanted them to understand that we are part of a family and we each have to do our part to keep our house nice (and to keep mom nice!). So, they have a three part system.
1. daily chores. these are things that have to be done. They get no reward besides being able to play after they’re all completed.
2. weekly chores. these are things that need to be done constantly to keep up the house. They get to go to a movie when these chores are completed. Our theater does kid matinees during the summer, so I got 10 movies (a movie each week) for $5. I figured it would be exciting to them, but didn’t break my budget like swimming/jump zone/toys would. And if they didn’t get the chores done and we miss a week, then oh well.
3. bonus chores. these are extra chores that they can help me with to earn a leaf on our family tree. Because they contribute to the family, they are building up our family tree, so once the leaves are all on the tree they earn a trip to see family. (*judge us all you want… I have to put bath/shower on there so that we make sure it happens! the kids love a bath once they’re in there, but getting them to stop playing to take a bath is sometimes a chore in itself!)
BEHOLD… the chore chart.
(Our family tree after week 1… coming along nicely!)
I made our tree by painting butcher paper and then cut out the leaves and laminated them so that they can be reused a second time (hopefully they’ll earn enough to go see grandma a few times!). The tree is about 3 feet tall and I cut about 6-7 leaves out of each sheet of paper.
So far they have really enjoyed this system. I know its only starting week 2, but I think it will be successful because seeing grandma and grandpa is ALWAYS very motivating in my house.
I think growing up I sometimes thought that my parents had kids so that they could do all the cleaning for them. I didn’t understand that if they didn’t have kids there would be no mess to clean up! So I want my kids to understand that we work as a family to help the family because family is important. We are a team. Hopefully if they learn it now we can build a strong bond before school and sports and friends comes into the mix a few years down the road.
So, we’ll see if this actually works. I am loving the concept, but I am also really good at being the first person to find laziness during the summer, too!
And this is what we do during the laziness of the summer:
“Camping” in our back yard.
Feel free to ignore how awful I look in this picture… it was a typical first trimester evening and I felt like crap, but figured I better at least prove that I went into the tent.
Big summer project #1: transforming “the garden” into “the play zone”
Nigel killed a brand new hoe trying to dig this whole weedy mess up! He was a rock star and got it completely clear before we laid the black plastic and added the mulch and filled the sand box. So glad I married a big strong husband. You laugh, but he really is much stronger than he looks! 🙂
I really should have gotten a close up of “Seymour.” There was a GIANT weed that looked like it could eat one of my children (you can see one of his leaves in the upper right corner). I was almost sad to see him go… but not really.
The finished product! The kids have been loving it! It is a much better use of our space for us non-gardening type. I had such big hopes for the garden before we moved in, but quickly realized I don’t like dirt or bugs or weeding or gardens. So the sandbox/trampoline area is working out much better for us.