Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Summer 2014: The Summer of The Chore

Three days into summer vacation and this is what I have learned:  My kids have no idea how to complete basic household chores well. This should come as no surprise to me since I know I have not invested a lot of time or patience into teaching them how to do these things.  I guess I just assumed at some point it would click and their understanding of "clean" would be brought up to my standards. Realistic of me, wasn't it?

So, last year we dabbled with a couple of different daily checklists for summer vacation.  My main goal back then was just to make sure they didn't sit in front of a screen all day and that the dog had fresh water to drink.  This year is different.  I want some contribution to the household out of those mangy little freeloaders!  Just kidding.  What I meant to say is that I'm ready to teach my children to be responsible people who not only clean up after themselves but can contribute to the general operation of the household and understand why it is important that they do so (and if they had a decent attitude while doing it, that would be great too).

Enter the Summer 2014 Chore Chart:

They still have their "must dos" and those include teeth brushing (yes, they would neglect to do it if it weren't for this chart), reading, feeding/water the dog, watering the flowers, getting the mail and helping Jade with lunch clean-up.  It also has a "Misc" row where I can write any other random task that I need them to do but consider part of their because-I-live-in-this-house duties and not a get-paid-for-it chore.
Then we have the "Do It for a $" side of the chart.  This side holds a very visual temptation to attempt whatever chores I've jotted on their post-it note for that day - a crisp one dollar bill!  The rules are that they don't get the dollar until Mom or Dad have approved their work.  They also cannot have any ipad or computer time unless they do these chores.

These charts were really fun to make and I had grand visions of my kids cheerfully completing each new chore while reveling in the fact that they are learning life skills and helping their Dad and me out.  Here's where that dream comes to a screeching halt.  The first few days of this have been a nightmare.  I mean, I knew I would be working with them to get the job done as well as I want it done.  I had every intention of drawing upon all my God-given patience (which regrettably isn't all that much) in order to help them master all of this.  What I did not anticipate was the fact that they didn't try very hard at all to do the task right in the first place, then they copped major attitude with me when I said we were going to re-do everything and get it right.  Bekah especially seemed to think that since she had tried her best (arguable point there) she shouldn't have to even attempt it again.  I can't stand that "participation ribbon" attitude!  I won't go into the full details of just how bad a job they did and how ugly things got around here when it was time to re-do with Mom, I'll just chalk it all up to my slap in the face about how much of a challenge this is going to be for me.  But I resolve to stick with it.  Had I been more diligent/patient about chores starting a few years ago, I wouldn't have this issue today.  If I cop out and just start doing everything myself again, it will only be harder later.  So I'm stuck.  Wish me luck (and buckets of patience)!

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