I think I’m pretty safe in making the following statement:
The worst part about being a parent/slob is the guilt about not teaching your children the skills they need to not turn into a slob.
I’ve been doing better. Our home is much more comfortable. I think the kids are getting used to the absence of piles everywhere. They are now capable of cleaning up the living room almost independently since they actually know what it’s supposed to look like when it’s clean.
I’ve done huge purges in both kids’ rooms. I’ve taken the time to organize them. Since my daughter is home all day and has more playdates, we clean hers up more. It is amazing how much easier it has been since I decided on a place for everything.
A few months ago, I worked very hard on the boys’ room. I also attempted to create a place for everything in there. They absolutely loved it! It stayed clean a little longer than usual, but recently had crept back into disaster status. Yesterday, I had them work on it, and was very encouraged to see that they did a pretty decent job.
But if there’s anything I’ve learned from my own “coming clean” process, it’s that waiting until a room is shovel-worthy is not the best way.
I want to teach them the skills they need, but I’m scared to death.
See, I’ve tried before. I would typically be successful for about a week having them clean up before bed, and then suddenly, I’d realize that I had been forgetting . . . for the last month.
Last summer, I was at the end of my own rope. I was so frustrated with the house and knew that the lack of routine in the summer could easily send it over the edge. I came up with a system. It involved individual charts, stickers, and my attempt at foolproof simplicity.
Not so much.
See, I’ve looked at tons of kids’ chore charts. I’ve looked at lists of age-appropriate chores. I’ve read books and called upon people for advice who I know do a good job in this area with their own children. But unfortunately, all of that has one thing in common that we just don’t have in this house.
A mother who stays on top of things.
I have really been thinking about putting off any further attempts to do chore charts for the kids until next summer. Yes, about 5 months away.
But the boys have been asking for an allowance. And they say things like, “But of course we’ll have to do some chores.”
Who am I to argue with that?
So here goes. I made a chart. It has five chores on it.
Dishes to the sink after every meal. (As my 6yo said, “Yeah, we did that all the time when Grammy was here.”) Dirty clothes in hamper. Feed the dog. Pick up room before bed. Coat hung and shoes put away.
I’m trying to keep it small. And here’s the deal I made with them. I’ll initial a box on their chart for every chore completed. No reminders from me (at least at this point). For every 10 boxes initialed, they earn 1$. Potentially, they could earn 3$ a week. But they have to reach 10 boxes to hit the 1$ payout. I’m not keeping a stack of dimes on hand.
Both of the boys are motivated by money right now. One wants to buy a DS, and the other wants to buy wood. Seriously. The one who wants wood also gave everything he had to a drive for Haiti at his school. (So proud!) I’m hoping that their own desire to earn an allowance will help them to develop some good habits.
And just a reminder, this is in no way advice, as I have been a complete and total failure in this type of stuff every time before. I’m just sharing my newest, hopefully slob-proof idea.