Sunday, April 15, 2012

Mr. Chore Chart Shines Again

The Chore Chart has made its reappearance in our house. It's not like I haven't tried this before. I've given tokens for jobs done, or marked things off on a chart, but the problem always is on my end - remembering to remind them. So in the end, the chore chart just ends up being a chore - for ME!

Enter the new therapist. She's had some great ideas. The kids have dubbed her the "repair doctor". And it's not uttered in a nice way when they find out where I'm going for an appointment. They say things like, "I don't like her! She tells you things like we have to start doing YOUR work!" (that's why I love this lady). Or, "she is always getting us in trouble!". So her idea of a chore chart works like this: I give each kid chores every day and they must be done by a certain time. I typed them out and posted them on the fridge. When they're done, they put a little check mark by the job. The beauty of this is.....I say NOTHING to remind them. That's right. And it's not as easy as it sounds. I'm used to nagging, reminding, scolding and harrassing them into their chores. We started this on Spring Break, so it was easier because they had all day to do something that probably should only take about 30-40 minutes total. Holland thought it would cease once he went back to school. It took them about a week to get into the rhythm of it. The chores had to be done by dinner time. ("I'll be happy to get you dinner, just as soon as your chores are done!") That did NOT go over well when I did that. But the next night, Holland had his chores done before dinner. We were all sitting around eating while he was cleaning the floor under our feet. NOT a happy camper.

The other thing about the chore chart is they can earn $5 a week for the chores if they're done on time. And an extra $2 for having their rooms clean. At the end of each day, I come in and swoop up everything they've left lying around (shoes, socks, toys, whatever that belongs to them) and stuff it in a bag. On Saturday, they must buy back everything that belongs to them for 10 cents per item. (It's called "The Saturday Bag". Kinda catchy.) They also have the opportunity to lose money by lying, being disrespectful, not completing the chore on time. They also get more chores by not finishing the chores. I had a meeting after doing the chore chart for a couple weeks and mentioned to the therapist that Holland had decided that it wasn't really worth it to him to do his chores for $7 a week. She just laughed and said, "Well, you tell him 'that's fine. You can do them for money during the week, but I'm just as happy to have them done for free on Saturday!' " She's so clever I just can't keep up.

So we are plugging away at the chore chart. I can tell it's having the desired affect on Holland (even if it's painfully slow). He came home from school, after having a horrible morning getting ready for school and getting on the bus. He walked right in the door and wanted to know his repair work. He had committed some pretty serious offenses, and wasn't able to finish all of the repair work that day (it was Grandma's birthday and we were going out to dinner), so the next morning at
8, he showed me a small bucket of weeds he had pulled to finish off his repair work. I was quite impressed and said he had completed his work and I felt blessed. Gave him a hug and let him get back on the computer.

Geez this parenting stuff is hard.

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