Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tackle It Tuesday

I have actually done quite a few tackles this past week. So, please forgive me if this is long, but I just really wanted to share all that I was able to accomplish!

First of all, I tackled the assembly of our new air glider workout machine. This was a gift from my mother-in-law. She loves to watch and shop from QVC. This particular item she got from QVC back in 2001. Into her basement it went (still in the original box - never opened, the tie straps were still in place) and remained there until she realized earlier this month that Boo had spilled something on the box. The box that it was shipped in, that never penetrated the box or in any way came into contact with the interior of the box, much less the machine itself. Anyhow, thanks to Boo for getting something onto the box because after that happened, Grandma decided she didn't want it anymore and asked us if we wanted it. And of course, we said yes!!!

It stayed in my trunk for a few days, but I eventually brought it in and it sat for another day or two before I decided to put it together. Eventually, Hubby helped me with the assembly, but really, it wasn't very difficult to do at all. So we now have two exercise machines in our possession. Yay for that!

Another thing that I tackled this past week was a chore chart and routine for the kids that is actually working! It has worked for a solid 8 days and is still going strong. You see, we were struggling with a few things with the kids. The first one being their self-centered attitudes, the second being their unwillingness to help out around the house, the third being their sense of entitlement to whatever they wanted or want to do, and the fourth, trying to figure out the perfect solution for allowance that wouldn't break the bank for us and yet still give them some monetary control. And I think we have found it.

The first step was breaking down their chores into three sections of the day: Before School (or by noon on weekends/non-school days), After School (or between noon and 6pm on weekends/non-school days), After Dinner (between 6pm and 8pm).

Then I listed out tasks, chores or responsibilities that they needed to complete. I'll use JoNo's tasks for this week as my example, which you can see right here:

As you can see, most of his before school chores are really just things that he needs to be responsible for anyhow. You will notice, however, that on his list is something that says, "Quick Clean", which is used as our way of saying that the room looks neat and tidy. It does not involve cleaners (unless there is a major mess to be cleaned up) or tools. It is simply to go into a room, look for anything that is out of place and take it to the place where it belongs and put it away. Very simple.

Then, for after school chores, he requested that for this current week, he be allowed to have two chores because he only had one last week (quick clean bathrooms - we have 3) and he was getting done with those long before NattyNu was getting done with his one (the den). So, this week, Natty asked if he could do the living room instead of the den and then JoNo asked if he could have the den, since Natty didn't want it anymore. But he also made sure to mention that he still wanted the bathrooms as well, so he got them.

After supper, he is to help with dishes. Dishes are Hubby's job (I cook, he does the dishes, it seems fair to me!) Natty clears the table. Actually, Natty clears the table of anything that is on it before supper and then clears the table afterwards. I often help him out with the clearing process, mainly so that I can make sure that the leftovers get put away properly. Then it's up to JoNo and Hubby to do the dishes. Keeps them both on track. And quite honestly, JoNo has loved doing the dishes since he was four. He's now seven. He can pretty much handle them on his own. But Hubby is there to supervise and to make sure that JoNo gets everything really clean and, of course, to wash any sharp knives (though JoNo can and will wash sharp knives with direct supervision).

The boys' thirty minutes of reading time is done right at bedtime. They go up to bed at 8:30 but they are allowed to read until 9:00. They can also go up earlier if they choose to, but 8:30 is the time that they have to be in bed by. If they are not reading like they are supposed to, then lights go out and they miss out on completing that responsibility.

By now, you have probably already noticed the weekend chores as well - the "Perfect Clean"s. It is essentially a deep clean of a room - the same room that they are responsible for all week long, except this is when the cleaners and vacuum or broom and dustpan get busted out. The easiest way to explain this to them and to avoid any confusion about what an acceptable level of cleanliness is for these rooms is to say that the rooms need to be perfectly cleaned (to the best of their abilities and skills). We also use the phrase "perfect behavior" for public situations where they need to behave really well. Most people that I know use the phrase "best behavior" but a short while back, Natty had complained that they "can't be perfect all the time" to which I replied, "I know you can't. But you all can behave well most of the time and you can actually behave perfectly for a short time," and thus began the use of limited "perfect" in our household.

Okay, so that takes care of the chore part of that, now for the other parts. The boys each have a Nintendo dsi, which I am sure that I have written about before. And they both like to play an online game together as well. But they got to be too much. The minute they got home from school, they'd drop their backpacks and coats by the front door and start their gaming session right away. Then it was extremely difficult to get them focused on what needed to be done. So, we told them that they were limited to one hour of screen time (which they choose to use for gaming) during the week and three hours on the weekend days. The one stipulation is that they have to have everything completed before they can play. This means that all before and after school chores have to be done and checked off. And there are no video games after supper, so they have a real motivation to get it done in a timely manner so that they have earned their right to play games.

When they come home from school, they are now eager to get their chores done, they will ask where their list is and just start working on it. When they are done, they will bring me their list and I will ask them if they did each item (going through each one) and they will respond. Then I will randomly choose to check the items. I don't check to make sure that every item is done every day. But I will check to make sure things got done. If the child outright lied about doing a chore, he is not allowed to play games that day and he has to do the chore he lied about, plus do an extra chore. I think it has happened once in 8 days and that was early on - as a test, I am sure. Not a bad track record though. Their only reward for chores is a job well done and praise and the screen time.

We decided that we will give them a dollar per year of age once a month to spend as they see fit. If they want to save it up, they can. Or they can choose to spend it. It is their money and they can do what they want with it, within reason.

I am also somewhat forgiving on things that don't get done every day. The boys don't quite realize this yet, but for instance, tonight, Hubby was working on something else and so JoNo got a pass on the dishes. It wasn't his fault that they didn't get done. I could have stayed in to help him with it, but I have my own chores that I work on after dinner, so tonight, JoNo got a freebie there. And with the weather being poor here lately, I didn't have either of the boys take our dog (Freddy) out for a walk today. Instead, we simply let him out the back door and waited for him to do his business and then let him back in.

Hmmm, I am trying to decide if I want to go on to another item that we tackled this week or to "save" it for next week. I think I am going to save the rest of them. This is really long already and it was mostly about the chore chart. So, I think that is what we will go with here. Expect more things next week! And stop back in, I love visitors!


  1. Great tackles! :o)

    Oh.My.Goodness. You've totally drummed up memories of my childhood Saturday mornings. Dadday would flip on my light, bang on the wall, and command loudly, "Morning! Time to clean your room!" We'd have to do all our weekly room chores, clean out our closets, vacuum and dust, and bring our bedsheets to be washed...all before breakfast. This was usually begun around 6am. To this day, I refuse to wash sheets on a Saturday...any day but Saturday. LOL

    Visiting from 5MfM. Happy Tuesday! :o)

  2. Wow, I really like the chore chart and the "quick clean" idea. I think I'd like to try this here and see if it works better!!

  3. Oh wow. My stepdad used to do that too. Except he woke me up that way every morning. I was not a morning person growing up - at all. And I do prefer that their room is clean before I get around to making breakfast, but really the only "requirement" is that it is done by noon. I also have their weekend chores split up so that they don't get slammed all at once with a bunch of chores that seem insurmountable to them. Plus, I think they are really seeing the benefit of doing a little bit all of the time at this point.

  4. @ Mel - I am really glad that sharing this gave you a new idea. I let the boys choose their one (or in JoNo's case two) rooms that they are responsible for. I will gradually add on a little bit more responsibility, such as their laundry, but for now I wanted to give them a basic start on this. Also - often times, their room isn't done before school, which means that they need to come home and get it done right away. But this school year, they have to be out the door at least 45 minutes earlier than their normal time, so I'm a little bit more flexible this year than I will be next year when they are back at their actual school. (They are bussed to another school site while their actual school is under construction this year.

  5. This is wonderful! I just did a Reward Chart too, here:

    It is working so well for us! We're three weeks in and I already see a DRASTIC improvement in behavior and getting things done.

    Thank you for stopping by my blog. Did you see my giveaway's? I have a few going on right now, one ends tonight, with low entries. ; )

  6. Marni, I did see that! Actually, I think that is what prompted me to get my act together about our chores actually. :) So thank you for that!

    I did see your giveaways. Which one is ending today? The one that I am really interested in is the diaper giveaway. That would be awesome! I am planning on getting in on that one for sure!

  7. Hmm...I like the idea of a chore chart but hate that you're using the word perfect. Perfect is unattainable and to me, by using it, you're setting them up for a fall. I'd much rather see you use a word like Deep instead of perfection. Society is too full of the pressures of perfection for us to try to convince our kids that's what they have to be. No one and no thing is ever going to be perfect.

    PS Did you bail on me, woman? I haven't seen you link up in a few weeks now.

  8. I know. I don't like using the word perfect either. But it makes sense to them, which is the only reason we are using it. They know that the room is not perfect when they are done, they know that perfect is not attainable, but it is just what works with them. We have tried other wording in the past, but this is the wording that works for them. At some point, I plan to change the word over to something else but we are going to stick with it since it works.

    And nope, I haven't bailed on you. It's just been a crazy few weeks - one of which I dropped off the blogging circuit, and focused on stuff around the house. I am planning to do my fridge door yet this evening. I actually cleaned out my entire fridge (just the fridge - not the freezer) this weekend. Now I just need to wipe it all down and make it look a bit more orderly than it currently does.

  9. WOw. you gave me an idea on how to assigned tasks with my boys without continuous nagging at them. Visiting for 5 mins for mom. MommyLESsons Too!

  10. Oh, glad that I was able to help out. I just posted about it because it works so well for our family so far and trust me, whenever something works, I like to share it! :) Thanks for stopping by!