Every year my family spends most of January cleaning, decluttering, purging and packing away holiday decorations. The holidays ending, a new year beginning and the typical cold temperatures and snow that January represents set a fire under my you know what and I get motivated. Motivated to clean, motivated to organize, and motivated to motivate my family to adopt better habits for the new year. By the end of January I am typically quite pleased with the state of my home, for a short while at least……..that is until we fall back into a regular pattern of school, work and extracurricular activities and then I lose focus on who is doing what, who is supposed to be doing what, and what is actually getting accomplished. After long enough I typically get discouraged and begin to carry the load again myself by the end of February…….
Now, this is a problem for more than one reason…
- My family has likely picked up on this pattern and thus they time their descent into bad habits again accordingly…
- By the middle of February, my discouraged nature can make me less than pleasant to be around, inconveniently for my husband, rather close to Valentine’s day.
- My 3rd daughter AND my husband have March Birthdays followed by a busy April filled typically with Easter festivities and an “Annual Guys Trip” my husband coordinates followed by an even busier May (2 more daughter’s birthdays, my Mother’s birthday and Mother’s Day). This makes for an altogether crazy spring in my little Dazzling World.
Because of this routine, we have managed to get into I decided to be PROACTIVE this year! When my motivation struck this January I decided to set out on a plan to change this pattern. Now as normal, I cleaned, purged, organized my house & packed away every last sign of the holidays, but I also began working on a “Show Our House Love” Chore Countdown for the first half of February, to begin implementation today, February 1st.
On this Chore Countdown, I introduced a “Daily Chore”, two “Weekly Chores” and two “Monthly Chores” for each member of the family to be personally responsible for. Each day between now & Valentine’s Day each person has been assigned their tasks for the day. I chose areas of my home that each of my girls need to be more disciplined in maintaining to be where their weekly and monthly chores are centered around in hopes that they will learn the error of their ways. Their daily chore is something more attainable but also quickly capable of “snowballing” into more work if not daily maintained. This will allow it to be abundantly clear not just to me, but also to them when they are failing to accomplish the daily chores. My youngest daughter is only 21 months so her responsibilities will require a bit of assistance but it’s never too early to start developing good habits so even she is in on this fun!
I am implementing this as an introduction to our newest chore routine and though I do plan to take Valentine’s Day off (for the most part) this year to relax, my family will still be expected to maintain their “Daily Chore” for the day and they will be enlightened with the knowledge that this schedule will become the normal expectations going forward. After our two weeks warm-up period though I intend to begin some sort of payment method as a reward system. We don’t give our children allowance, rather we do a little extra every now and then just because. As they all start to get older & more demanding I have begun considering some form of allowance as payment for timely completion of chores (not a fortune or anything, maybe $1 per daily, $5 for weekly & $10 for the monthly’s). This method gets to be intimidating when you have as many kids as I do though, so maybe this idea is more of a tip for those of you with just 1 or 2 children.
I have also considered rewarding with “Electronics Marbles” which would be valued at 10 minutes of electronics time each. This idea is motivated by the fact that balancing & monitoring “screen time” has become increasingly challenging in our home since December. My oldest has her own laptop & smartphone, my middle two were gifted tablets this year from a family friend and also will soon be getting a desktop hand me down computer for schoolwork & their computer games and even my youngest has her own Leap Pad Tablet. My idea here is to reward them with marbles based on their chores, 3 marbles for timely completing their daily chore, up to 4 marbles for each of their weekly chores, and up to 6 marbles for each of their monthly chores. In theory, each marble represents 10 minutes of “screen time” totaling 140 minutes (2 hours & 20 minutes) of “screen time” up for grabs for each of them each week and an additional 120 minutes (2 hours) to be added if they complete their monthly chore satisfactorily & timely.
Either way, there will be no reward system in place for the 1st two weeks because I want this practice to develop the habit of completing these chores without reward, rather simply because they are members of our family. Once the habit is developing and we successfully complete this trial run of sorts, THEN I will introduce the reward system as an incentive only for prompt completion. This means if I have to nag them or remind them they will not get paid. Feel free to try this idea in your own home and also feel free to comment your chore routines for your kids, tricks that have worked well for you or even your opinion of my reward system ideas. Either way, check back for updates & progress reports from me about how well my family adapts to this new idea I have implemented. Today was day one, and so far we are on track! Let’s see if we can say the same thing still after day two!!!