Well, I don’t know about you, but I thoroughly enjoyed our time off between semesters. We did school for a few days each week for the first few weeks. The last two weeks were pure vacay though. I didn’t realize how much I needed or wanted that until I was in the midst of it. And once we took time off, it was hard to start back up again! In fact, our first week back to co-op was cancelled because of snow and windchill. I knew we’d be adjusting for the cancellation by moving the weeks back and adding another to the end of the school year so, I just took the whole week off! :) This week, however, it’s back to business – much to Nugget’s chagrin. :)
Speaking of Nugget…he turned 7! With a new number, he also received… drum roll please… new and improved chores! Yay (for mommy)! Nugget’s currency is video game minutes; he does chores, he earns minutes. However, it had become very clear that earning those minutes was way to easy. He had gotten to the point where he’d wait until about an hour before video game time and do a flurry of chores to earn his hour of game time. I couldn’t help thinking that something about this wasn’t right. That along with a growing habit of back talk and negotiating told me this kid needed more work! So, I sat down with my Hubby one night and we came up with a list of chores that could be done to earn video game minutes as well as how many minutes each chore would be worth. Previously, chores had been worth 10 minutes each. We decreased that payoff to 5 minutes each, unless otherwise noted on the chart. We also required that certain chores, like music practice, take as many minutes to do as are “paid.” One of the rows is labeled “rake/shovel” and awards minutes for helping to rake leaves or shovel snow. The minutes granted equal the minutes worked. I left some blank rows at the end of the chart for things that come up irregularly.
The top portion of the chart is where Nugget earns money. He starts each week at $1.50. He can earn less. :) He is required to do his morning 5 (get dressed, make bed, potty, brush teeth, read Bible), set the table when asked, eat at least one bite of each food served and his bedtime 5 (clean up, pajamas, potty, brush teeth, reverence during story/Bible reading/prayers) with a good attitude. There is no option to NOT do those things, only whether or not he does them pleasantly. If there is complaint or disrespect, he loses a nickle.
Clean up used to be a separate line item. However, I felt that it needed to happen regardless of desire or earnings. So, it is included in the bedtime 5 in the top portion of the chart.
The middle portion of the chart is the jobs for minutes as described earlier. Some of these job names include how many times per week that job may be done. If Nugget could, he’d Lysol the house everyday! So, for example, that job is limited to twice per week. ;)
The bottom portion of the chart displays a system of consequences. Fits are rare in our home. But when they occurred, the consequence was only ever a time-out by the front door or alone in the bedroom. Well, as I said before, the whole reason for this chore chart revamp was a new wave of back talk and otherwise disrespectful communication. So, I instituted a system I used when working in daycare. The first offense receives a warning. After that, each repeat of the offense results in a strike. And as in baseball… three strikes and you’re out. In this case an out equals the loss of 30 minutes of video game time. Three outs means grounded from video games for a week. Yikes! I doubt we will ever be forced to go that far, but it’s there if we need it.
Maybe this all seems too complicated. Maybe parts, or all, of it seem too harsh. I think we each know our children best and we do what works. I browsed several chore charts on Pinterest and lists of age-appropriate chores before landing on the ones we chose. And I want to point out they are by no means set in stone. This chore chart can and will change as Nugget changes. He’s growing up and his responsibilities, rewards and consequences should too. Now, Nugget mops the floor – weekly! My floors were never mopped that often before! He also helps me with laundry to a greater extent than before. He comes with me to gather laundry from the hampers and listens as I explain which clothes we’re getting (colors, whites, etc.). He helps me load the items into the washer, watches as I measure the detergent (someday we’ll get the pods that he can use without having to measure) and helps turn the knob to the proper setting. Then he helps hang clothes or move them to the dryer, add the dryer sheet and start the dryer. Finally, he helps me unload the dryer, fold the laundry and put away the laundry. To his future wife I say, “You’re welcome!” I’m not kidding when I say that I believe I will have an 8 year old doing his own laundry. And why not?!