As I mentioned in the previous post about making our own chore charts, one of my number one goals from all of this is that the boys develop responsibility. In my mind, it doesn't do much good to have chores that they constantly need my help with or overseeing. I want them to be able to go to there chore chart, see what they still need to do and do it! Well - eventually that is my goal. We are still working on the routine of it all. And since I know I tend to stress out/freak out I really thought about how I can make this thing actually work so that the boys are free to do their jobs and I am not hovering over them trying to keep messes from happening. Case in point:
- One of the chores Jeremy and I decided to implement is setting the table. How can you teach a child to set the table without having to constantly be helping them while trying to finish up dinner. Hello, I don't do that type of multitasking very well! I admit it. So after thinking about it, I came up with making homemade place settings that show the kids where each item goes. Now, I know you can do printable ones, because I googled it. But the problem I had with those is that they're not big enough (life size) for regular dinner plates etc. So I went to the store and purchased large construction paper and contact paper. Then printed out life size outlines of a dinner place setting. I taped the items on the construction paper where they will fit nicely then covered with contact paper. Now, all the boys needs to do is pull those place settings out and work it like a puzzle.
- Now as I said above, I stress out easily and can be a little obsessive at times. So after thinking about the whole setting the table bit, it occurred to me that items will be dropped with two preschoolers in charge. Do I want to be hovering over them while they are setting the table, to make sure my plates and glasses stay in tact? So I headed to the store and purchased cheap plastic plates and cups (melamine). The plates and glasses were $1.99 each and the bowls were clearanced for $.98 for a set of 4. So now the boys can set the table and I don't have to worry about my dishes getting broken. Evan was so excited about this, that he pulled out plate and asked one more time if they would break. After responding "no", he raised the plate over his head and dropped it! We all were happy that nothing shattered!
- Now the next thing I had to worry about was access to these items. Our kitchen is a tiny little galley kitchen and not a lot of cabinet space to put it nicely. I actually got this idea from my SIL, but I KNOW many of you already do this. So after putting some engineering skills to use, I was able to clear a space in a bottom cabinet that is strictly dishes that the boys can use, dinner dishes and place setting mats, so the boys can get in and get what they need without having to ask and wait for me. Right above the dishes are the boys snacks. Our rule is that the snacks in the open container are free game (I try to keep stock of raisins, apple sauce, Z Bars, fruit bars etc) but the snacks in the closed containers are ones that they need to ask me before eating (crackers, cookies etc).
- I never measure the pets' food for the day. But adding old measuring cups in each food container has helped the boys know how much food to give each pet. I did look at the recommended amounts on the bags and fortunately had the right sized measuring cups on hand for each pet. So all the boys have to worry about is putting one scoop in each bowl, then dropping the scoop back in the container for next time. Keeping it simple!
- I feel pretty comfortable with the other chores being accessible. I had already found a toy container last year and labeled each bin with photos and words (click here to see that post), so that putting toys away would be a little easier.
- And the book nook, I have a metal bin that I recycled that fit perfectly behind the chairs so that the books can be stacked in there, when not being read. And let me just say how much I love how their book nook turned out. I think it's warm and inviting and shows the purpose of the area. We put a reading lamp and alarm clock on the table. The alarm clock has a sleep setting for music and also plays music on the alarm setting. This helps with letting the boys know when they can get up in the mornings. We tell them that as soon as the music starts playing they can come out of their rooms. It's *helping* but we are still working on it! I don't know why they can't understand that 5:45 is not an acceptable time to get up ;-). We also used the new Modern Eden Alphabet Wall clings (you can purchase on Blik) that happened to match PERFECTLY with the decor and the purpose of the reading corner!
So there you have it. I think we have done a great job finding chores that are age appropriate and ways to make the boys more independent while doing their chores. But I'm curious if I'm the only one that is a little too stressful/obsessive when it's time to give your kids more responsibility around the house. Do you do anything extra to make it easier on you and your preschoolers?