Chores/responsibilities for 7 and 11 year olds - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 23 Old 07-01-2010, 01:48 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have found myself feeling like I am on a constant merry go round of cleaning and cleaning the same things over and over again. Over the years my girls have done jobs around the house but we have not been very organized about what they do and when. I have decided that it is time to come up with a daily/weekly chore/responsibility list for everyone in the family. I am wondering what other people have their 7 and 11 year olds do on a regular basis to help around the house and what are your positive and/or negative consequences attached to completing the tasks? Thanks for your input!
Chris
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#2 of 23 Old 07-01-2010, 07:21 AM
 
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No advice but also have 7 and 11 yo dds and need help as well! The chores I do give them to do are always done halfway.
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#3 of 23 Old 07-01-2010, 08:26 AM
 
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I expect my 7 year old to help me clean up - but I don't have a set chore list that he must complete. I just ask/tell him what I need him to help with, and he's expected to do it. It's not much, but in our house everyone pitches in, so he does not question it.

Everyday he is expected to clean up his room - now even at 7, I have to remind him of each task involved with that. I will remind him to pick up his legos, put his clothes in the laundry, etc until it is done. We do this each evening before bed.

In the morning I ask him to make his bed when he gets out of it.

He helps bring dishes from the table to the kitchen sink.

He'll take the kitchen trash out when I ask.

He LOVES to clean toliets. So when we are deep cleaning I usually let him scrub the toliets with the toliet brush - but this is mainly because he thinks it's fun.

That's about all I can think of for now ... we don't attach any rewards or punishments to chores - it's something we all have to do as members of this family and it's just a part of life. Nothing to be rewarded for IMO.

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#4 of 23 Old 07-02-2010, 12:05 AM
 
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My 7 year old ds's responsibilities include dishes, trash, and keeping his playroom and bathroom clean.
He does a great job with the dishes, he clears the table, loads, unloads, puts most dishes away except for the ones he can't reach. He does this throghout the day. The trash he takes out every night and brings the can to the street the night before trash pickup day.
As far as keeping his playroom, and bedroom, clean, that is a constant struggle. We do have to remind him and stay on him about it. The bathroom he doesn't deep clean, he just has to pick up after himself, bath, etc.
He also helps when I need help, like getting dry clothes out of the dryer, switching clothes from washer to dryer, getting the mail, etc.
Oh, and he loves to vaccuum.
We don't punish or reward, either. Chores are just something everybody does to help run the household smoothly.
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#5 of 23 Old 07-02-2010, 12:06 AM
 
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My 6(almost 7) year old lists
- unloads the silverware from dishwasher
- clears her plate etc after dinner
- takes the recyclables outside to the barrel
- cleans her room
- shower/bath YES I have that on there

She loves to dust and wipe counters, tables etc. and will straight the bathroom counter when asked. I tend to end up more like a previous response she is expected to help out and just does so as asked.

We have a magnet chore list on the fridge and she was getting a small magnet worth either 25, 50 cents or $1 depending on the chore.

Melissa mama to Zoë 7/26/03
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#6 of 23 Old 07-02-2010, 11:49 AM
 
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I'm a total hard ass when it comes to chores. None of ds's friends have real chores. Like, maybe they make their beds. That's it.

My 9 year old:
-empties the dishwasher, refills it
-puts away all the handwash dishes, will also wash them if needed
-cleans his own bathroom
-sorts the family laundry, helps switch out and helps fold/put away
-keeps his room very clean
-helps vacuum if I can't do it
-walks the dog, makes sure she has food and water
-helps with dinner if I ask

A lot of my reasoning for him having chores is that this is OUR house. I shouldn't be the only one cleaning (dh works out of town and dd is only 4), we all live here, we all make the mess. Most of the stuff we do together, like he puts away the dinner dishes while I put away leftovers and clean up the counters. So it's not like he's Cinderella. But he does do a lot.

I also have RA, which leaves me tired and weak, without the ability to really use my hands sometimes. So some of it is out of necessity.
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#7 of 23 Old 07-02-2010, 08:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for the ideas. I am hoping to have a plan to put in place on Monday which will allow dad and I to be on the same page regarding our daughters helping around the house.
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#8 of 23 Old 07-02-2010, 09:03 PM
 
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I give DS a list each morning (summer) of 4-5 things. Anything not done that day carries over to the next day. If they aren't done by Friday night, no sleepovers, videogames, tv until they are done. Shorter lists on the weekend so he can play lots with his friends. He is almost 12 and has things like this:
dishes (3x per day)
trash/recycling every day
compost to the bin every day
clean bathroom (once per week)
sweep the floors
fold laundry
vacuum
make breakfast for siblings
make coffee each morning

Hmm. That is a long list! But DH and I both work full time and we need the help.

My 3 yo washes doors and cabinets, folds towels, make pb&j for herself and her brothers, and clears the table.

Joanna - wife to Mike, mamachicken to Cub(8/98), Kitten (4/07), Dew-man, and Woe-boy(twins, 10/08)
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#9 of 23 Old 07-03-2010, 09:35 AM
 
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My 9 yr old's list
everday chores:
clean room
make bed
sweep kitchen floor after dinner
clean dog poop out of the yard
clear dishes after dinner


items he does when I ask:
wash dishes
vacum
clean up toddler toys
dust
mop


I did just read an article in family fun that sais this:

get a jar for each kid with thier name on it and then buy marbles or other fun counting items. Then put up a chore chart that states what each chore is worth like:

sweep floor 1 marble
clean kitty litter 3 marbles
weed yard 5 marbles
clear dishes 1 marble

Also take away marbles for bad attitude, not following directions being mean to siblings etc.
When the jar is full reward with a fun new surprise

This could work really well with more than one child so they could get competitive on it

like maybe 10 dollars
trip to water park
movie night complete with snacks
etc.

let it be a surprise to them so they don't lose interest This was a way suggested to get kids to do chores with out nagging. We plan on implementing this as soon as I get some matching jars We are waiting to us recycled food jars like spaggetti jars or the tall planters nut jars

BTW we do not give an allowance he does his chores because we are a family and we are a team!

WE also do cleaning party days were I set the timer for a set time usually 30-60 min and we speed clean the house we turn the music up high and dance giggle and clean. It's never perfect but it's better than stioll be a mess!'

Good Luck

Betsy, Mommy to DS (10) DD (4) DS (2) and DS (1)
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#10 of 23 Old 07-03-2010, 12:39 PM
 
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At 7 yo: clean room, put own belongings away in rest of house, set/clear the table for meals, get own lunch, take out trash and recyclables, be responsible for own school work/homework, fold and put away own clean laundry, feed the dog, and, in general, help when asked.

At 11 yo: everything above plus do own laundry, pick up after the dog, put trash containers out at the curb and bring them in, wash dishes, clean main bathroom, run simple errands to the store (within biking distance), help watch his nephews and nieces.

Now at 12yo, he is learning to vacuum, cook, and run the lawnmower.

He is in charge of what order and when he does them. Within reason. He can't decide to do laundry at bedtime. The dog must be fed on time. We can't eat until the table is set. Some chores are done in the morning, others in the evening. But he must have the morning chores done before he can go play. He has to save enough time during the day to do those chores that aren't time specific. The dinner dishes must be washed before he can watch TV. I am the arbitrator of the final results of the chores. If he doesn't do a good job of cleaning the bathroom, he is called back to finish it. Very seldom is a chore allowed to be half done. I won't say never because there have been times for the exception. Such as when his sister went into labor or his grandmother needed help.

Chris--extended breastfeeding, cloth diapering, babywearing, co-sleeping, APing, CLW, homeschooling before any of this was a trend mom to Joy (1/78), Erica (8/80), Angela (9/84), Dylan (2/98)
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#11 of 23 Old 07-04-2010, 12:26 AM
 
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How can you have the "we don't punish or reward" AND "chores are just something everybody does" when the child refuses?

It's an honest question. Mine just resists, refuses, delays, introduces huge melodramas "I'm tired," "I have a headache" "I'm thirsty" (you name it) whenever asked. How is this "it's just what everybody does" achieved? It's a vexing problem.
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#12 of 23 Old 07-04-2010, 11:42 AM
 
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Originally Posted by NellieKatz View Post
How can you have the "we don't punish or reward" AND "chores are just something everybody does" when the child refuses?

It's an honest question. Mine just resists, refuses, delays, introduces huge melodramas "I'm tired," "I have a headache" "I'm thirsty" (you name it) whenever asked. How is this "it's just what everybody does" achieved? It's a vexing problem.
It's a hard discussion to have with younger children because they view life from only one perspective--theirs. So we started from where they were. They get what they want after we get what we want--i.e., after the toys are picked up, we will go to the park. And everyone picks up the toys, not just the kids. After years of modeling "everyone in the family does chores", it does become part of the definition of being in this family. Doesn't mean that they don't try to get out of them. Heck, I don't always like doing chores either. And I model that as well. For example, I'll say that I'm cooking dinner even though I don't feel well (cold, allergy, headache, mild flu, tired from being up all night, pregnant, etc. I will explain why I don't want to. I model that as well) or just don't want to. And we start explaining why certain chores need to be done at a certain time. "I can do this until you do that." Other chores, they get to chose when they do them. For some kids, tying the chore to growing up helps. "Wow, when you were x age, you were too young to do that. Now, you are growing up and look how much you can do." I can tell you what worked for my family and each of our children. But only you can know what will work for your children and your family.

Chris--extended breastfeeding, cloth diapering, babywearing, co-sleeping, APing, CLW, homeschooling before any of this was a trend mom to Joy (1/78), Erica (8/80), Angela (9/84), Dylan (2/98)
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#13 of 23 Old 07-04-2010, 08:20 PM
 
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Originally Posted by nola79 View Post
We don't punish or reward, either. Chores are just something everybody does to help run the household smoothly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NellieKatz View Post
How can you have the "we don't punish or reward" AND "chores are just something everybody does" when the child refuses?

It's an honest question. Mine just resists, refuses, delays, introduces huge melodramas "I'm tired," "I have a headache" "I'm thirsty" (you name it) whenever asked. How is this "it's just what everybody does" achieved? It's a vexing problem.
My question exactly. And even if it is done it is done so poorly that it creates more work for me. Ie. "water the chickens", a simple 4 minute task, turns into chickens on the loose and eating the seedling in the garden, or pooping on the pile of clean laundry waiting to be hung. Or "Put the milk away" and the milk gets put in without a cap so the next person who opens the fridge gets a face full of milk on the them and the floor, etc. And the attitude, yikes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sewchris2642 View Post
But only you can know what will work for your children and your family.
I wish I knew what would work for my family. I do know what doesn't work! I'm now trying a chore list with consequences. If a chore is done without reminding they get extra electronics time (video game, tv, leap pad, etc), if one or two reminders then an increasingly smaller amount of electronics time, and at 3 reminders then no electronics the next day. But it is so much work to manage.

I'd rather just be able to ask for help when needed and have someone respond with willingness. And in the long run I think they'd do fewer chores, but it would be more meaningful, kwim?

Me.  With 1 spouse, 4 kids, 16 chickens, 74 matchbox cars, 968,562+ legos, a dishwasher waiting to be emptied, a washing machine waiting to be filled and a lost cup of tea in the house.

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#14 of 23 Old 07-04-2010, 09:49 PM
 
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DS was 7 before I implemented a system for chores. Before that it was a lot of refusing, crying, delaying. Now we have two lists on the wall; Responsibilities and Privileges. We sat down and came up with about 10 of each. All responsibilities must be completed to receive privileges. DS needed some sort of reason why he needed to clean his room up other than just because mommy wants it that way. But I wasn't comfortable with a rigid reward/punishment or giving money. He can basically do any chore. Folding his clothes, feeding the animals, washes and puts away dishes. We need to come up with a new list since we just moved from a camper to a house! Privileges include going to see a movie, video games, computer time, TV, sleep overs, eating out as his request.

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#15 of 23 Old 07-05-2010, 08:17 AM
 
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How can you have the "we don't punish or reward" AND "chores are just something everybody does" when the child refuses?

It's an honest question. Mine just resists, refuses, delays, introduces huge melodramas "I'm tired," "I have a headache" "I'm thirsty" (you name it) whenever asked. How is this "it's just what everybody does" achieved? It's a vexing problem.
Well I don't think this is something that you can just change overnight, and I don't have some magic answer for how we make it work .. ds is 7 and helping me out is something I've expected him to do since he was a toddler, even if it was putting one toy away.

If it makes you feel any better, I sometimes get the melodramas too! In fact, we had a day where I asked him to help more than normal and he was doing the whole "Oh, my aching legs" from all the work.

Regardless, he's expected to do what I ask and he knows there is no getting out of it. If I ask him to pick up his legos - no matter how much he makes a drama about it, we are picking up the legos before we do anything else. And yes, when he was younger, that probably involved me doing most of it and him complaining along side me and only doing a few. I'm sure that happened more than once. But he also knows I'm not playing around, and if say we are doing x ... we are doing that chore. I mean come on - if he's thirsty, lets quickly throw them in the lego bucket and then we can get a drink that much faster!

Anyway, I only know what works for us and how we do things. It's certainly NOT the consensual living parenting you see often around MDC - but I also don't believe in rewards or punishment in general. But I don't fault anyone for using them - we all have to do what works for our family and child.

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#16 of 23 Old 07-05-2010, 12:15 PM
 
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[QUOTE=mumm;15588417


I wish I knew what would work for my family. I do know what doesn't work! I'm now trying a chore list with consequences. If a chore is done without reminding they get extra electronics time (video game, tv, leap pad, etc), if one or two reminders then an increasingly smaller amount of electronics time, and at 3 reminders then no electronics the next day. But it is so much work to manage.

I'd rather just be able to ask for help when needed and have someone respond with willingness. And in the long run I think they'd do fewer chores, but it would be more meaningful, kwim?[/QUOTE]

It is work. And it takes longer than a few reminders. It takes years. And in the long run, it does work. But not if you give up and decide that it' not worth all the nagging and reminders and end up just doing the chores yourself which gives every one a disservice. I did that with dh and laundry. Now, 37 years later, I'm still the only one that does our laundry. With the girls and Dylan, I started when they were young with having them put their dirty laundry in the hamper. As they got older, they progressed to taking the hamper to the living room (to be put in the car when I had to go to the laundromat) or to the where the washer/dry were (in the garage or now to the laundry room just off the garage). Then when the clothes were dry, I folded and they put away. They progressed to putting away their own clean laundry and putting the ones that needed ironed on the ironing board. Next step was to teach them how to do laundry. And by age 12, they were all doing their own laundry. If Dylan forgets, his natural consequence is that he has to wear dirty clothes until he washes the rest of them. My point is that this whole process (which isn't done yet as I still iron Dylan's button shirts for him) has taken about 10 years starting when they were 2.

Chris--extended breastfeeding, cloth diapering, babywearing, co-sleeping, APing, CLW, homeschooling before any of this was a trend mom to Joy (1/78), Erica (8/80), Angela (9/84), Dylan (2/98)
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#17 of 23 Old 07-05-2010, 09:31 PM
 
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These posts have been helpful; thanks.
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#18 of 23 Old 07-05-2010, 09:39 PM
 
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Now we have two lists on the wall; Responsibilities and Privileges. We sat down and came up with about 10 of each. All responsibilities must be completed to receive privileges. .....
He can basically do any chore. Folding his clothes, feeding the animals, washes and puts away dishes. ......Privileges include going to see a movie, video games, computer time, TV, sleep overs, eating out as his request.
I edited down your quote a little to highlight the part I want to ask about. I like this idea but I didn't understand what you meant by "all responsibilities must be completed" [which sounds like all of them] because you also said "he can basically do any chore." [which sounds like just one]

...are you saying that if he wants a privilege like going to the movies, he gets to pick a chore to do first, but that he can't just focus on the same chore every time?

Thanks for clarifying. I do like the sound of this.
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#19 of 23 Old 07-06-2010, 11:00 AM
 
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How can you have the "we don't punish or reward" AND "chores are just something everybody does" when the child refuses?

It's an honest question. Mine just resists, refuses, delays, introduces huge melodramas "I'm tired," "I have a headache" "I'm thirsty" (you name it) whenever asked. How is this "it's just what everybody does" achieved? It's a vexing problem.
By setting a deadline with something the child likes doing at the end - not a reward, just something you'd be doing anyway, that can't be done until the job is done. For us, we go to the park after dinner everynight. The kids look forward to park time. After dinner I can say, "We can go to the park as soon as the dishes are done." For picking up their room before bed, I say "Let me know when your room is clean, and I'll come in for storytime." My child is 6, so what motivates him is probably different than what motivates an older child, but for an older child who, for example, wants to go to the pool with friends you could say "Sure! I'd be happy to drive you to the pool as soon as your room is clean." If you need to, you can adjust your schedule a little bit so there is something that motivates the child at the end. If they don't want to do a job on their own (like cleaning their room), I'll offer to help them if they'll help me with one of my jobs. This works out great for us!

Oh - and I don't give reminders or nag. I ask once. And then I physically leave the room to prevent myself from nagging. This is SOOO hard, and sometimes I fail on this one. But if the job doesn't get done, the consequence is that the fun thing at the end doesn't happen. Period. And if the job isn't done up to my standards, I take a deep breath and let it slide (unless it was purposefully done poorly). It isn't going to be done as well as I can do it - they are still learning. Sometimes I find a dirty dish in the cabinet. Sometimes there are still crumbs on the table after they wipe it down. The laundry is never folded neatly. I don't redo it. But when it's my turn to do the job, I do it well so they can see how to do it well.

As for chores my kids don't have a lot - I feel like they should have more, but like a lot of families, we are just so busy. They have to:

- Set the table for dinner (or load the dishwasher, or handwash the dishes, or fold laundry - each child gets to choose a chore for the day, but has to do at least one)
- Clear their own dishes after a meal
- Keep their room clean
- Help with housecleaning when asked
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#20 of 23 Old 07-06-2010, 05:08 PM
 
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Something that may also help as kids get older that my parents did with me and my siblings is getting feedback/ideas from your kids on which chores they should do. I think it is good to have kids do a variety so they can learn how to do things, but once they learn, then I would rather they do things they like (or at least dislike the least) as they will get done better. For example, I hated and still hate mowing the lawn, but I knew that my brother loved it, but he didn't really like doing the dishes. At that point, we were each doing a variety, but I proposed to my parents that I take over dishwashing and my brother take over my lawn mowing duties. It was a win/win for everyone.

And yeah, my parents were big on the whole everyone helps out and instilled it in us from the start. Did we always do things without complaint, of course not, but we all knew that complaining would do us no good, that family meant pitching in and helping and since my parents were not unreasonable about it, we were usually pretty good about helping out. But yeah, my parents did there best to be reasonable and explain why they wanted things. For example, we only had to make our beds when company was over because it wasn't worth it to them just for us, only if others would see the room. Also, they wanted our rooms picked up enough so that they could always vacuum and again more strict when company was coming. It allowed us to have our rooms how we wanted for the most part, but with some limits my parents could live with. And it really, really helps if you can get the kids involved with figuring out the responsibilities. If they helped come up with the solution, they will be more invested!

But yeah, with a few rare exceptions, who wants to do chores? No one! If the chore fairy would magically do them for me, I certainly wouldn't do them so complaining/stalling/etc. is understandable, though annoying for sure.

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#21 of 23 Old 07-07-2010, 11:23 AM
 
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Interesting update. Yesterday the whining was non-stop. It could have partially been the 100-degree heat and humidity. But remember, the whining's a pretty big thing anyway here. So my son is whining and I am saying listen, just put together your 4 VCR tapes so we can return them to the library, and we'll go out, someplace cool.

Long story short, he couldn't find one of them. Tempers were short on both sides. We're stir-crazy and need time apart from each other but can't seem to get it. And then he said the fateful phrase. "I can't find it....this house is too junky."

This from someone who, like his dad, NEVER LIFTS A FINGER to pick up anything that he strews across the small living room (we live in a ranch style house; it's all "common space").

So this is my last straw. Last. And I lose it. I said you don't like junky? Let me fix it. And I spread out two small blankets on the floor and literally DUMPED every single toy or book or thing or trash or ANYTHING that was his onto these blankets, bundled them up and took it to his room.

"Now the house isn't junky any more, and your stuff is your problem," I said, not being at all mature or sane. But the common area suddenly DID look beautiful. Even he had to admit it. But not without first lots of screaming and crying.

But the wierdest thing came out of this. I mean, I seriously thought we were going to murder each other, because I have SO much work to do, some really serious deadlines and pressures, and he won't let me think a single uninterrupted thought yet we can't afford to send him anywhere (like day camp) for a variety of reasons. But here's what's wierd....

We both suddenly got very sane. We had the car, so I said "lets go out to air-conditioned "The Container Store." We're going to buy you some new toy bins so you can organize your room when you get home." (no lie, it was a mess. mountains of stuff because of (a) the mess that had already been in there and (b) the giant blanket-bundles I just had thrown in.

We went to the Container Store and had a wonderful time. We got new bins, he loved the store & chatted with the employees and anyone else who would listen. We ran a few more errands....the day was great.

And over dinner, he said something amazing. Something to the effect that "too much freedom [i.e. for kids] is not good. And total strictness with mean punishments is no good. But something in the middle, like half-free, half-strict....that's good". So I said (remembering this thread).... "So you mean, like a kid who spends a half hour cleaning his room up with good spirit (our word for good attitude) would get to go out for an ice cream bar?" He said YES!!! So I coached him through his half-hour of cleaning up the mess. He made a game out of it and I helped him keep it light so he didn't get overwhelmed. One toy at a time. Well by the end of the half hour, the room looked awesome, and we went out for ice cream.

When I think of how the day started, I never would have envisioned such an ending. And not only that, bedtime, despite the intense sweaty heat.....was oddly peaceful too. (they have been torture for the past week)

My interpretation was that even though my "putting my foot down" was rather insane and dramatic, I think he needed me to do it. And by giving him the chance & method to work his way out of it, he could feel valuable and feel the success of it.

Just wanted to share.
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#22 of 23 Old 07-07-2010, 11:39 AM
 
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What a terrific update! I know you aren't proud of the blow-up, but I think you handled it beautifully! I'm glad the day turned out so well, and hope the new organizers help him to keep up with his things.
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#23 of 23 Old 07-07-2010, 11:45 AM
 
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I just ask that dishes go in the sink,toys put away,and recycles in the bin.Sometimes I may go on strike and not do MY chores so they see what happens when everyone does not do what is needed around the home.

My ds sees that some kids get money for chores,but I refuse to do that.Don't know why except I just don't want to pay for things that should be done anyway.
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