Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Chore Games: Parents vs. Children

We have five humans and one dog living in this house. There are enough bedrooms for us to all have our own (I have to share with Husband) plus a playroom. The playroom is off of the kitchen in view of the parents and other adults at all times. This is a blessing and a curse. The blessing is that I don't have to make too much of an effort to keep an eye on them. I also hear all the conversations between them and the conversations of any other children who play at our house. The curse is the mess. The mess. The mess. It is a playroom, and I like the idea that it doesn't always have to be clean, but it can become a mess easily. But the mess spreads everywhere like a plague. Little things - socks, shoes, coats, post its, passies, legos, barbies, barbie's combs, barbie's shoes, Ken's shorts, tea cups, tea pots, fake sugar cubes for the pretend tea, fake fries, real fries... you get it.
Some of the mess I picked up this morning.
The mess is in every room including the stair case. I can't keep up anymore. I fight the cleaning and the laundry (good Lord, the laundry) because it is like trying to plug up holes in a sinking ship - it might hold it over for a little bit, but the water is coming in no matter what. My kids are 5, 3, and 1. With the exception of the 1 year old - there is some built in help right there. After all, I am not the one that plays with the barbies or the tea or the fake fries. Also, doing it all at once is just too overwhelming. I need it broken down into manageable tasks evenly distributed. And I need to have time to read.

The Game:

So we've started a new Parent vs Child job/chore competition. Don't misunderstand me here. Everyone has always been expected to pitch in, but we need some new excitement and a better way. So, here it is. The kids have a job list and the parents have a chore chart. The girls each have an old jar for their marbles (A1 chose a spaghetti sauce jar - A2 a jelly jar). A1 is red and A2 is blue. A3 likes to pack and unpack things, but she is 14 months and not ready for the chore chart...yet. Husband and I share a mason jar. Mom is blue, and Dad is red. Every morning we get "Paid". At various times, I will shout, "Who wants to earn an extra marble?". Then if someone answers, I have a special job that is not listed on the list/chart. In the morning, after breakfast and morning jobs are done (or not done) we all get paid. We pay the kids, the kids pay us. On Saturdays we get to turn in our money for stuff like candy, chocolate milk, or various other treats. Mom and Dad work out our treats separately (whoever gets the most marbles during the week wins). ;)

I have to give credit to Jenny Komenda for the parent chore chart. Find her list and blog here -  http://littlegreennotebook.blogspot.com/2012/03/my-cleaning-process-and-500-give-away.html

The Pieces:
Click the "pieces" to make them bigger.


The Kid Job List
Morning and Evening jobs on top
Weekly jobs on bottom

My favorite part!

The Parent Chore List

The Princess Magnets really just make it special, right?

Morning and Night time Chores

Weekly Chores

The Kid Jars

The Parent Jar
The set up (Parent Chore Chart is on Fridge)

The results
It seems like a lot of hassle. What are The results?

Here is what I have observed so far:

Kids who do stuff around the house and for the most part are happy about it. Kids that work together to get stuff done. Kids who problem solve - "You take this trash can, and I'll take this one. We both can carry this one cause it is heavy!" Kids who reinforce each other - "Great Job, A1". Kids who are polite - "A1, Will you help me, I can't reach". All this without much interference from us. I am certainly more motivated knowing I'll have to explain to them why I did not do my jobs around the house. Also, this morning when the girls noted that Daddy had more marbles than me, A1 said, "Don't you worry, Mommy. You can earn more. You don't have to be perfect, just keep working." That is true, baby. I'll keep telling myself that - just keep working.

Plus, there is waaaaay less fussing going on. That is the best. Ever.