Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Chore Charts and Clothespin Game

Like most moms, I feel like I say the same things over and over again every day.  I've seen a lot of different chore charts and accountability systems, but we haven't had very good luck sticking with anything. I don't want to spend a ton of money on it only to find out later that it doesn't work. I don't want to make it so complicated that the kids and I get frustrated with it a give up. I decided on a simple list of eight responsibilities for the morning and eight for the evening. 
Morning responsibilities
Evening Responsibilities
 I had printed them out front to back and laminated them at work, but I was waiting for the perfect time to explain them and put them up. I was also looking for a place to put them that would be accessible to the kids but not in the way. I was also working the exact mechanics of how we would keep track of the jobs. But I was determined to get it figured out and put up.

I was in Roses early last week looking for some Christmas project supplies when I ran across some colorful, plastic clothespins. They were the same colors as the popsicle sticks we have been using for behavior management, so it seemed like a sign that I should buy them.  There was a fuchsia color for Frances, orange for Henry and blue for Benjamin.  I brought them home and clipped them on the sides of the chart next to each job. Then I clipped each chart to the refrigerator. One for Frances and one for Henry.  Benjamin has one too, but he hasn't asked to use it yet so I haven't put it up.

Now, each evening, instead of endlessly repeating "brush your teeth," "put on your pajamas," "go potty," I just say "check your chart."  They know to go see what is left to be done.  As they complete each job, they remove the clothespin and place it in a container on the table in the kitcehn.

Frances is the one who solved one of my earlier concerns about this being a complicated system.  Originally I was thinking it would be my job to turn the chart and replace the clothespins twice a day. However, the morning after our first evening use, Frances went to her chart (without being prompted) and said, "So, do we just turn it over and put the clips back on?" And I said, "Yes, my genius daughter; that's exactly what you do!"

We have been using this system for a little over a week now, and while it's not perfect, it does seem to cut out a lot of the repetition I go through in the mornings and evenings.   Actually, I just repeat "check your chart" over and over again, but it's an improvement!

As I said above, Benjamin doesn't seem to feel left out in not having a chart, but he does like to play with the clips.  So in a moment of desperation while refereeing the boys and trying to make dinner, I came up with this game. It is great for fine motor skills and cooperation.  It actually gave me about 15 minutes of peace, and that AWESOME in my book.

You need a sturdy wooden or plastic ruler, clothespins, and two kids.  I started the game by putting all the clothespins on one end of the ruler.  Then I handed it to Henry. Henry's job was to hold the ruler steady, while Benjamin took off the clothespins.


Then, Benjamin held the ruler steady while Henry put the clothespins back on the ruler.

They took turns like this back and forth for about 15 minutes before they mostly lost interest and went off to do something else.  But they weren't fighting when they left, so I was happy.

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