As I mentioned earlier, Jeremy and I have been going back and forth about how to teach (and when to start teaching) responsibility (chores) with the boys. We obviously didn't want it to be heavily reward driven but we wanted to make it somewhat fun so that the boys will want to get there chores done each day. I also mentioned, we haven't really seen a chore chart that either one of us liked. What I don't like about the chore charts on the market is that the chores are vague. Even though some work for our family most don't and they don't have many extra spaces to fill in your own. So after waiting on my designer husband to get around to it thoroughly discussing and thinking through what we wanted, I designed a "prototype". Yes, I have to call it that since Jeremy is still insisting that he wants to be in charge of the design, so I made one up the way I thought would work well (he can now make it pretty), and maybe he will get around to it sometime. ;-) Yes I am deliberately picking on him right now - love you babe! So here is what we came up with for our "prototype". I used Numbers (which is pretty much Excel but on the Mac) for a basic chart to use. If you would like to see mine - click here.
First we discussed what chores we thought the boys could do on their own. Because if they are going to do chores, I don't want to be constantly hovering over them helping. Doesn't that sorta defeat the purpose? Here's the list we came up with so far (and of course we will tweak this list when needed):
- feed the cat
- feed the dog - we separated them so each kid could have a pet and a chore for Carter's sake.
- set the table
- clear off table and load dishwasher
- clean up toys
- pick up book nook
- brush teeth
Now the teacher in me took over. Neither one can read yet so it kinda defeats the purpose of writing them only, and having to read them over and over each time the kids needed to do there chores. So I decided to take pictures of each chore that the boys needed to do along with writing the chore. I then imported each picture into the document and sized them to fit in a cell. Then I cut them out and attached them to magnet strips which I purchased from a educational store:
We purchased a magnetic board from Ikea to display our new chore charts. I also found window clings on clearance at the educational store - Lightening McQueen for Carter (score!) and baseballs for Evan.
You may notice some other items on our chore chart. We have also started working on Evan's behavior. Not that he is a bad child. He is actually an amazing rule follower but it is the gray areas he has a hard time with. So I tried to figure out a way to work on his behaviors through a consistent way. And a way that I can discuss each individual offense. I also was having a hard time explaining to Jeremy at the end of the day what had happened. He would ask me and I would say something like, "we had a hard day." But at the end of the day, I can't remember what specifically had happened. All I can remember was that I was frustrated at him "x" amount of times. I also wanted to devise a plan to show Jeremy where we were at when he gets home from work so he would know how to handle the boys. Again, Evan is a great kid but he is a typical preschooler, exploring his boundaries as most preschoolers do. And I caught myself getting very stressed and frustrated with him. So I am hoping that this will teach Evan what is behaviorally acceptable but also help my frustration level through out the day!
So like many classrooms have, I have decided to do a card system. I made cards with green, yellow and red on them, like traffic lights. And each time he does an offense he pulls a card. Just like a traffic light - green he is still safe, yellow should tell him he's pushing his limits for the day and red is to tell him he will be disciplined when dad gets home. Also to make things more clearly for him, I have placed the three behaviors on the chore chart that we are focusing on right now, along with a brief definition (to help me out in the heat of the moment). Instead of raising my voice at him or reminding him one too many times, we go to his room, pull a card and talk about which of the three behaviors he needs to work on and talk about a better way of handling the situation. Right now we have 2 green cards, 2 green yellow cards and a red card. My plan is to drop it to one card each eventually. So far it seems to be working, in his very analytical mind.
So there you have it! Well not all of it! Tomorrow I will show some more pics on how I am implementing this new system and items I've come up with to make the boys a little bit more independent. So come on back. But also, I would LOVE to see your DIY chore charts. I was talking with a friend who also has been working on one and of course hers was a little different based on the needs of her kids. Which got me thinking, I'm not the only one who has done one and each family and kid is different. So I would love to see how you have implemented chores in your house! If you don't have a blog to link up to, send me a message (click on the "contact me" button to the right) with a brief description and pics. I'll compile them and post them!