October 2, 2011

Somehow, behind my back, C and R have gone and become… helpful.  C is, as per age, slightly more so than R.

  • Earlier today, C washed apples while I cooked dinner.  Not sure how perfect a job she did, but it’s better than nothing (and better than doing it myself).
  • They’ve gotten VERY good about cleaning up the mess they made when asked.
  • About four times today, I just opened the dryer and let C take out all the clean laundry and put it on top.  WAY better than trying to bend and lift and do it myself, plus good exercise!
  • C took a damp rag and quite thoroughly wiped down the very dusty vacuum cleaner.

And about those same four times, I then stood at the dryer, folded, matched socks, and let them do most of the putting away.  It sounds like this:

“OK, C, this is A’s shirt.  You know where her shirt drawer is?”

*C dashes off to put away shirt*

“R, take these to Mommy’s sock drawer.”

*R dashes off with socks just as C returns empty-handed*

“C!  Put away this pair of your undies!”

*C dashes off with undies just as R returns*

“R, take this to A’s pajama drawer.”

*R goes running just as C returns*

As you can imagine, the timing is perfect for me usually just to pick up and ID one item before the next kid gets back, and a pile goes pretty quick.  When I get a split second between handing something off and the next hand-off, I fold something or match a pair of socks.  When this is over, what I’m left with is a (small) stack of stuff they won’t be able to reach to put away on their own- usually Sean’s socks and hanging clothes. This has gone VERY well lately and this weekend in particular. I just stand there and watch them go.  (Sadly, this doesn’t seem to burn energy, as you’d think… it sort of makes them more hyper.  Oh well.  Small price to pay.)

Then I pay them.  It’s mostly just been a coin for the piggybanks, but I think I need to come up with a fee schedule sometime soon.  I think I’m going to be a mom who pays for jobs done as opposed to giving an allowance.  I’m not sure I like the word “allowance”… it seems to imply entitlement.  As my kids, they’re entitled to food, shelter, and love… they can EARN recreational money.

(I am, by the way, not sure how I taught them this.  If I had to guess, it’s probably a combination of being a moderately diligent housekeeper myself, the natural inclination of the age to want to be a “big girl helper”, and a lot of praise on my part when they do it right.)


2 Responses to “Helpful”

  1. Toy Warden said

    My dad, the psychologist, recommends a fee schedule and something called a point system for all kids to help with behavior. Kids earn money or points for chores, then can use the points to buy privileges like going to Chuck E Cheese or (at our house) watching tv (but I don’t recommend making tv a reward. I think that backfired big time) or they just get money. If a kid misbehaves, they lose points. Allegedly this helped with my behavior a ton, but I just remember the part where it sucked that I lost all my points over one tantrum.

    • I don’t really want to do loss of points. We do time out or logical consequences for bad behavior (tantrum goes in the bedroom with the door shut until it’s done… making a mess means you clean it up… hitting your sister means you apologize and do something nice for her.) I’m very economic-minded and would rather use just plain money for rewards- eventually to be their “allowance” money, earned by what they do. Plus, tracking points would be too much for my brain to follow. And I don’t use TV as a reward either… though I do turn it off as a logical consequence type punishment (if it’s distracting).

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