Sunday, October 03, 2010

The secret to peace

I think I may have found the secret to peace in the Middle East

okay maybe not there

but definitely in my house.

Lamenting to a friend how the volatile nature of housework and children brings out my inner harpy she suggested I look at a chore system. Turns out she had been using one and was pretty happy with it.

So I checked out a few online and decided that my friend's recommendation would work best for us.

And so I give you...I did my chores!

please ignore the crumbs on my counter. I obviously didn't do my chores.

The idea is the kids decide what is of value to them, you do the setup and they do their chores while you sit back and relax.

So maybe it's a bit much to say you just sit back and relax, but pretty darn close. At least no more harping...well, not as much

We used a bunch of the ready made chores such as brushing teeth, turning your lights out, combing hair and putting away toys. I added my own custom made No Whining, Flush your Toilet for heavens sake, No Thumb sucking and Sorting Laundry chore cards.

The stickers are placed on the color coded by the time of day plastic hangers. For example you have multiple tooth brushing chore cards. One in the morning (yellow) and bedtime (blue). We made a No Whining for each time increment in the day making it more of an attainable goal. So each chore earns a token. Some of our trouble spots (no whining) or big once a week chores (putting away laundry) have more value.

So once your board is all set up the kids commence with chores moving their cards to the "I did it" box as they are complete.

The kicker, if I have to remind them to do a chore, they don't get the card. Even if they do it. This is where the independence (aka me not harping) comes into play. I occasionally remind them to check their charts when they are bored or wanting TV time, but I don't chase them around the house asking, begging, reminding, nagging, harping.

Each of the kids has a tube. The tokens that they earn go in the tube. They each provided me with a list of the things that were of value to them. Renting a movie, staying up 15 minutes late past bedtime, a date with Mom or Dad, extra computer or wii time, or in the case of Miss Thing a manicure or time playing with my makeup.

We add the tokens each day when everything is done and I get to watch them save up for what is the most important to them.

I loved watching them come up with their lists. Most of their choices had to do with extra time with Mom and Dad. There are some items that cost money, but with one or two exceptions it was not about buying toys or earning money.

Voila. Peace

It has required of me consistency and a few small nudges and they are sticking with it.

My favorite part I get to do more of this

and when the kids fight it is because they can't agree who gets to set the table or empty the dishwasher.


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