Welcome To Our Little Big House On The Prairie

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Your children got the "Gimmes?" I've Got Your Back.

Yesterday, I shared with you a little problem we've been having with our children having a sense of entitlement.  Scratched that... Make that a HUGE, GINORMOUS, MONSTROUS, OUT-OF-CONTROL sense of entitlement.

At the risk of offending some, I am a very big social and fiscal conservative.  And that's as political as I'll ever get on my blog.  Every one is entitled to their own opinion, that's what's so great about living in America.  We are so blessed to be able to have our own opinions and voice them.  Unfortunately, my children are of the generation that thinks that everything is owed to them and they've begun to exhibit symptoms of the same.  They definitely did not learn this from their parents  and its not gonna happen on my watch.

We, like any parents, go out of our way to give our children everything they need and try to give them pretty much what they want, and even stuff they didn't even ask for...  46" flat screen for their room (that was totally the hubs, not me), XBox with Kinnect, Nintendo DSi's, name brand clothing and shoes, etc.  Granted we do not buy all throughout the year - Christmas, birthdays, and back to school shopping is pretty much the only time when they are bought things, unless they need something for sports.  But when we do buy, we buy BIG.  They have more than some and less than others.  We have often done without things we want or things we need to do at the expense of giving our children the world - and created some little monsters in the process.

Well, when I saw an awesome chore board through Pinterest from Today's Fabulous Finds, I knew I had to make one.  What a fantastic idea!

I, like most parents, have tried chore charts, spreadsheets, bulletin boards, sticker charts, etc., but I don't ever stick with it.  I get busy, forget...  Yeah, you know that big word?  Consistency?  I lack it.  And it has done my children no favors.

Well, no more.  When I found that more often than not, my requests for them to do things around the house were being ignored and the bulk of the work was falling to me, I knew something had to give.  I've also noticed really foul dispositions when I have the audacity to tell them no.  And even more hurtful, a disdain from my oldest son for how my husband makes his living (we own a tree service that's seasonal work makes it a little tight around here in the winter) and comments that if his dad had a different job we could have more.  You know, his father that busts his tail 14 hours a day to put a roof over our heads, food in our bellies, clothes on our backs...  And then he asked why couldn't I get a job.  WHAT?  REALLY?  Who ARE you?  Did I really carry you for 9 months in my womb?  It was those little comments from the son that plays two different sports, lost a $60 basketball I bought him last year, wears $125 court shoes, and who we have spent nearly $1,000 in 2 years having him be part of an elite basketball traveling team where it cost $225 just to join!  Not to mention road trips, gas, concession stand costs, gear, and admission fees.  HELLO?!  This momma was FINISHED.  Especially since the others take their cue from him and I was hearing some grumbling from those spoiled little rugrats too.  Do they even comprehend how much further we'd be along on refinishing this house if we weren't spending every extra dime we have on SPORTS?!  GRRRRRRR!!!!
Okay, done ranting now.  But really, the AUDACITY

So, I took Janet's idea and expanded on it a little.  My board is a little more shabby and chippy as is my taste, and I added some rules and a point/reward system to go along with it.

Maybe, if you're as frustrated with your children's lack of motivation at home or have noticed a nasty case of the "Gimmes" rearing their ugly head as I have, this could be a help to you.


is our chore wall.

It is located in the living room (until the mudroom is completed), on an out of the way wall, but not anywhere where it can be ignored.  The board is placed on the wall at a lower level, where even my 3 year old can reach it.  Each child has a hook below and above their name.  The top hook holds laminated cards printed with their chores to be done for the day.  The bottom hook is where they hang the chore cards that they've completed.  Since my 3 year old can't read (and this was an ingenious idea by Janet), he gets pictures of the chores he can do, such as making his bed, picking up his toys, feeding the cats, brushing his teeth, etc.  Its amazing how he knew exactly what each one meant when I sat down to go over it with him!  Such a smart cookie.  He must take after his mother.  ;)

Posted above the board, in the vintage frames I found last week, are the rules and the point tracker.  Each chore is worth a certain number of points.  Daily chores that they should complete anyway are only worth .5 points (putting their book bags/shoes in their locker, doing homework, putting their dirty clothes in the hamper, putting their folded clothes away, etc.).  Chores that gross them out are worth more, such as cleaning the toilet and changing the cat litter.  Everything in between is worth anywhere between 1-2 points according to ease.   A pencil hung on a hemp string hangs from the point chart, so points can be easily totaled and notated.  I taped the point chart directly to the wall, and hung the frame sans glass.  You could use a dry erase marker if your frame has glass.  Since these are vintage frames, they are oddly shaped.  Too small for 8x10 glass and too little for 11x13.  And being I don't care, I wasn't going to have special glass made for them for this purpose.  Both are always visible so that they can always see how close they are to reaching which ever reward goal they have chosen.

I'm sure you noticed that the points needed for the rewards are high.  Yes.  Yes, they are.  It requires hard work to earn things in life.  Nothing comes easy, so neither should this.  Technically, they can earn 36 points per week by just doing their daily chores.  They can really rack up a lot of points if they do all their special chores or ask for extra credit chores.  Noah, in one day, has amassed 22 points.  But then again, he's my go-getter and worker.  Much more like his Daddy than me.  :)

The younger two's point values per chore are higher so they can get points quicker by doing less due to their ages.  And you probably gasped that the first few rewards are ice cream, candy, gum, and donuts.  Well, that's their snack of choice when I'm running everyone to and from practice and it can get pretty pricey doing it every few days.  Yes, I do make them choose an apple or orange to go with their snack, I'm not that bad of a parent!  LOL!  I probably need to add stickers too, for the little one.  Just thought of that!  ;)

When they complete their chores for the day, they see this:

For a few of the chores, such as straightening up the living room and the dining room, I have paired children together - an older child with a younger child.  One of the rules I added later is if your partner does the work without you, then not only do they get your points for the chore, your points for not doing the job will be deducted from your total.  They really didn't like that too much at all.

It has been interesting to see how the children with their different personalities have responded to actually having to do chores.    With the exception of Ian, its been a great success, but we're only on Day 1.  I'll have to let you know how it turns out.

If you'd like to see Janet's awesome tutorial on her Job Board With Stenciled Quote, you can go HERE.  I'm so glad I found it!

Its best that children learn that in life, nothing is given to you and that you must work to have things you want or to get where you want to be.  And its better that you start early, rather than later...  Trust me.


Shari said...

Love that! Good for you. I wonder if I can make my adult children buy in to that...

Simply Sammie said...

Wow! This is brilliant!

Laura Ann said...

LOVE THIS Laura, I am really going to have to put the boys to work. The only chore I have David Jr doing is feeding the cat, I mean he does basic stuff like getting himself ready for school and taking care of his clothes, but not making his bed and other stuff you listed. I am going to have to re-read this and come up with a major plan like this, Love It!!

kathryn cain said...

I am going to make one of these for my son and daughter in law...they buy into this idea and they will be moving to a new house..and it would be perfect timing

2blessed2stress said...

Hi Lara
Thanks for this post! Did you ever share the printables that you created for this project? :) i'm so excited to be making this!

Thanks and God bless!

Chad&Megan Kunzler said...

Do you have a template for the sheet you made for tracking points? I've been looking for one to use with my own kids. Thanks!!

Danu said...

This is fantastic! thank you!!

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Crystal and Kyle said...

What font did you use for your kids names. It is so cute!

Mrstalha said...

This is so on point. Your kids sound like my 4 right now and I'm on my wits end to stop being their maid. I have been looking up chore systems for a while and really like yours. Thanks for posting.

Dania Prieto Murillo said...

So, what do you do on the days you can't get home with them late (like almost time for bed) Do all those daily chores get then done the next day(free pass kind of)?

Dania Prieto Murillo said...

I think this is one of the best ways I've seen a chart done!! Thank you!

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Amy Hinds said...

I have had the same experience recently with my Noah who is my oldest of three (going on four!). He definitely acts entitled and I have had it. Glad to have stumbled across and read your post. I’m going to give it a shot! Consistency has never been my strong suit either.