Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Summer Fun: Work Before Play Edition

I believe in working children. I mean that 'working' as both an adjective and a verb. Over the years I've tried many chore systems, and for us, Choreganizers has been the best. It is easy and self-regulating.

Choreganizers comes with 6 glossy chore charts, which you tear out of the book and hang on the wall or fridge. You can write the child's name on the top, and on the bottom is a pocket. (some assembly required, but you can handle it.) There are 60 picture cards included, and several blank ones as well for you to customize to the chores around your house, say, "Wash the doors and doorhandles," or "Clip the rabbit's toenails", for example. The other thing that I really like is that on the back of the cards are very clear instructions for how to properly do the job -- cause, you know how kids tend to not do jobs all the way, and then claim ignorance.

Each morning I go downstairs and fill the chore charts. There are five spaces on each chart. I try to give one more serious (AKA time-consuming) chore, and then several smaller jobs to each child. You can see here that Lyndsay has to make her bed, make dinner, do the downstairs dusting, and sweep and mop the kitchen floor. Dylan has to strip his bed and wash his sheets and blankets, empty the dishwasher, empty wastebaskets in the house, water the garden, and clean out the car. Aiden has to do 30 minutes of weeding, vacuum the downstairs, feed/water kitty and clean litter, fold laundry, and make his bed. Conor has to make his bed, brush his hair and teeth, bring his laundry down, pick up his toys, and do his schoolwork.

Here's Lyndsay, my duster extraordinaire. Well, she's really my everything extraordinaire. That's because I've trained her well. What you're looking at here is years of sweat and toil and investment on my part. The boys are equally as competent. And this is so I can sit and blog or read while they clean our house. I jest.

Sort of.

As they finish each job, the card is moved down to the pocket, and they are rewarded with a little praise and encouragement, like "Good for you!" and "Nice job!"

Here's the magical part: Each day that chores are completed thoroughly and without complaint, one Mom Money (or Dad Dollar) is paid into the pocket. Now the chores are not optional, but the Mom Money is. Chores will be done regardless, so I don't really care if there is complaining. The complaining child simply will not be paid. They usually learn that lesson the first day, though. At least, Aiden did.

On Saturday, the children can use their Mom Money to shop at the Chore Store! (Isn't this exciting?) The cute store front comes with Choreganizers, and I just taped it to a box. Inside the box are all sorts of treats and privileges for sale. They can choose to spend some or all of their Mom Money dollars on inexpensive treats (like a candybar is 1 Mom Money, a pack of gum is 2), or they can save their Mom Money dollars for bigger ticket items, like a Cinnabon date with Mom for 5 Mom Moneys, a dinner date with Mom for 10, or 2 movie tickets for 20.

This is the part where Lyndsay started laughing when I explained our new system to the kids.

"What is so funny?" I asked.

"This is perfect for you, Mom!" she said. "You get your house clean, we have to be cheerful, and then you get to go out with us for movies and ice cream and Cinnabon!"

She's right. It's genius!

I heard one of the teenagers on the phone the other day with a friend, who had apparently asked what she was doing. "I'm doing my chores so I can earn Mom Money," she said. (laughter) Then on Saturday I get to shopping at the Chore Store. (more laughter, but I think their friends are secretly jealous.)

And yet, they willingly oblige. Babyish? Maybe a bit. Dylan scoffed it at first with, "What are we, like 6, Mom?" I told them to let me have my fun while I still get to have them at home. They are handsomely rewarded, and they get a delighted mother. That you can't really put a price on.

I think they like the throw-back to their younger years, because once they're finished with chores and are free to spend the day as they wish, look what I find them doing in the bedrooms?

That's right. Blanket forts.

With armed guards.

Makes a mom's heart happy. They're still my little kids. On some days.

I bought Choreganizers here. And I'm not being compensated for my review.


Shelly Rawlins said...

I need this for my boys, especially Peter, my lazy one. I am going to order it tonight!



Andrea said...

Sounds great. Nice to know that if I keep trying, one day I can sit and relax while the kids work.

Kimberly Vanderhorst said...

Genius indeed!

Hannah said...

That sounds awesome!!

Abby said...

Oooo!! I like this! What a great idea, Jenna!

And tell your kids to hurry up and knock it off with the growing up thing they have going on. I refuse to believe little Lynds will be 16 in less than a week! That's unheard of!

Oh, you should add a mental hug from weirdo Aunt Abby to the chore store for 50 cents. hehehe <3

Sarah said...

I started a similar type of chore chart at the beginning of the summer. I got the idea for it from my cousin. Here's a link so you can check it out if you so desire, since I have yet to post mine.

Oh, I guess it will actually require copy/paste. Also, I think mine is more exciting because I used black poster board and neon 3x5 cards.

My kids get up everyday though to check what chores they have for the day and generally get right to them. I love it because my house is mostly clean, most of the time. I don't give them chores on the weekends. I like the mommy money idea. I told them that I'd pay them at the end of the summer if they kept up with their chores every day. So far they've done a pretty good job and summer is 1/2 over now. Yay for good chore charts!!