As we enter summer I always know that I need to have a strategy.
I have a few simple goals for the summer. 1. Get the kids out of bed 2. Don’t let kids waste their lives on a screen 3. Use Teamwork to get house work done so that we can have FUN!
In the past I have used Chore Charting Systems to motivate the kids to help around the house. These systems tend to be elaborate and require lots of tracking and follow through. Basically they are destined for burnout. We usually start with a lot of gusto then the chart gets lost, or Mom doesn’t have cash/exact change and I end up owing the kids money.
I needed a ridiculously simple system if it was going to succeed.
I had to work backwards from where I had failed in the past.
Step 1. Fill a jar with money.
Step 2. Make a list of things that I want help with.
Step 3.Let the kids pay themselves immediately upon completion of a job.
Alternative Version: The point system.
(“Henrik Mom Points 12”)
My younger kids are more motivated by something tangible like a toy.
I had several things stashed in my closet that I use for the emergency last minute birthday gifts. I also had some smaller toys that I got on clearance when they were practically giving them away around Christmas. So instead of money I let the kids choose if they would rather earn “points” for my “Mom Store.” I’ve done this before and it was successful except that I had a complicated system with tickets. I made it as un-fancy, simplistic as I could…tally marks on an index card. I asked Alexa (age9) and Henrik (age 7) to describe in their own words how this system worked for them. Their words say it best:
“One morning I woke up and my Mom had prizes on the table. I asked her what they were for. She said that if you cleaned stuff you would get points and she had prizes that were different points. The things that I wanted were 12 points. So I asked her for jobs and she said some jobs were worth one point, some two points, some three points. So I asked her what 3 point job I could do. She said I could clean the kids bathroom. Soon I got 12 points!!! So I traded in my points so that I could get the toy that I wanted. It was a new character for our video game, my Mom also gave us 15 minutes of extra screen time for all of our hard work. Me and my brother played with our new toys. I thought it was fun, so I asked her for more jobs so that I could get another toy. Soon I had 12 more points. It was fun! It is a good way to pursuade your kids to work.” -Alexa
“When I saw the toys on the table I wanted them! So I worked hard for 12 points to get a Disney Infinity Character. Once I got 12 points I got Obi-Wan Kenobi. So I played with Obi-Wan Kenobi on the Disney Inifinity and it was fun. It was a bit of time until I got him, but it was worth it.” –Henrik
I sometimes have to remind myself that motivation is key. My home is the practice ground for real life.
Along the way the kids were tempted to do a job half way and would ask if they could earn “half points.” This was a great teaching opportunity. I told them that my boss at work doesn’t pay me a “half of a pay check.” I have to do exactly what I’m asked until I am finished in order to be paid. Each of their jobs had to be “inspected” before they were paid. There were a few tears early on as some tasks had to be repeated, but now they know what is expected for the next time. One of my favorite quotes is one that my husbands Grandma would say to me as I was learning to quilt,
” If you don’t have the time to do it right the first time, when will you have the time to go back and fix it?”
I hope to instill a good work ethic into my kids. I also want to nurture an attitude of Teamwork.
The purpose of pursing a “Skinny House” for me was so that I could pursue my passions. My number one passion being quality experiences with my kids. So today our work was done and we spent the morning at the park and the afternoon at the pool.