February 26, 2014

Chores: Lessons Not Found in Books (Part II)

My boys have a tendency to leave their toys and other belongings laying about the house in random locations.  If you have boys, I'm sure you can relate.  Legos are everywhere.  In the lint trap of the dryer.  Behind the couch.  Under the refrigerator.  In the dog's mouth.  You'd also be hard pressed to look in any corner of the living room without finding a Matchbox car or Transformers piece or dirty sock.

These sorts of things don't fall under any of our chore categories.  Well, technically, they do, but if you know boys, you know how attentive they are to detail when it comes to cleaning.

One fine day, whilst perusing Pinterest, I fell upon this gem of an idea, lovingly called "Mom's Ransom Box".  Of course, I immediately located an empty Rubbermaid bin and printed out the cute little poem to tape on top of it, provided by Just Another Day in Paradise.

About once a week, I walk through the living space, pick up any out of place items belonging to the boys, and put them all into the bin.

My boys have specific chores they complete each day, and the chores they must complete in order to earn back their belongings from Mom's Ransom Box are above and beyond their regularly scheduled chores.  (If you want to know the reasons we implemented a chores system with our boys, you can check out my previous post.)

Retrieving the mail is generally the one they choose.  They get back one item from the box each time they bring the mail in.  Other chores they could do include washing the laundry, shoveling snow, cleaning the bath tub, or giving the dog a bath, just to name a few.  Although, that last has yet to happen.  I'm usually the one drenched in soapy water and covered in dirty dog hair.

Hopefully, this system, along with their regular chore schedule, is helping to teach my boys responsibility and a respect and appreciation for their belongings.  They are much more careful about leaving their things laying about the house since we implemented the Mom's Ransom Box. 

Give it a try!  I think you'll be pleased with the results.  Let me know how it goes!  Or, if you have another method for getting your kids to take care of their belongings, tell me about it, too!

February 20, 2014

Chores: Lessons Not Found in Books

 Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.  ~Proverbs 13:23
Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.  ~Proverbs 22:6

I remember coming home from school to find the dreaded scrap of paper on the dining room table.  My brother and I knew what was written on it, and we wanted to burn it.  We may have actually done so at least once, but not before reading it and doing as it said, for fear of being grounded indefinitely.  Of course, playing with fire would get us grounded, too, but we didn't think that far ahead.

On that scrap of paper, we'd find a list of chores for each of us.  Clean the bathroom.  Wash the dishes.  Dry the dishes.  Vacuum the carpets.  Clean your room.  Ugh!  We hated those lists.  But, if I'm being honest, without those chores during my childhood, I probably would live in a pigsty today!  Having chores helped teach me responsibility, hard work, and just general life skills. 

My husband and I desire to teach our boys those same ideals.  We want them each to have a good work ethic, to understand that you have to work for the things you want in life and that you can't just have things handed to you because you feel you deserve them.  We want them to learn to take pride in a job well done and feel the growth of self-worth and self-respect that comes with accomplishment.

We feel that these types of lessons will also teach them to respect other people and property.  When you work hard for something you want and finally reach your goal, you will appreciate it more than if someone simply handed it to you.  You will treat it better.  You will take care of it.  And you will realize that the things other people have are also important to them, because they, likewise, worked hard to earn them.  Therefore, you will respect their property in the same way you respect your own.

And, of course, we want them to learn to take care of themselves in the future.  They won't always have us around to cook their meals, wash their clothes, or take out the trash for them, so they need to learn now how to do those things on their own.  And, let's face it, some day we're going to be old and decrepit, and the boys will have to take care of US!

When we felt they each were old enough, we implemented chores for our boys to complete each day.  We don't have them do all the house work while we sit around and eat bon bons all day.  They're not our slaves.  But we do expect them to pitch in and take part in this thing called family.  There's no reason that all the tough stuff should be left up to just one person (namely, me!)

This mom stated quite succinctly in her blog the major benefits of having children do chores.

So we chose a few chores we knew they could handle.  Some simple.  Some a bit more challenging.  Twelve of each.  Then, at the beginning of each week, the chores are split evenly between the boys.  Six chores each that get completed each morning before we begin school.

We tried, at first, having the chores written on slips of paper that they drew from a basket, but inevitably, one boy would end up with the majority of the hard chores and the other would get the easy ones.  Then, tears and tantrums would follow. 

The pictures below show the solution I came up with for that problem.  Each boy gets 3 easy and 3 hard chores, so it's even, and there are no more tears.  Plus, they don't have to do the same chores every week.  With the flick of the spinner, they can get a brand new set for the new week, which helps keep them from getting bored and feeling overwhelmed.  Take a look:

Do you have your children do chores?  If not, I'd love to hear your reasons why.  Let me know in the comments.