i feel like i've run my whole family off the tracks somehow.... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 25 Old 12-28-2010, 10:00 AM - Thread Starter
 
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this is a vent and a plea for advice.  i feel like there are numerous topics involved, so i chose the parenting forum.

i am a sahm.  i have a 6 yo ds, 3.5 yo ds, and 3mo dd.  we "homeschool", but i can't get organized enought to feel like i'm actually successful at this.  plus, my ds doesn't want to do ANYTHING unless it's play.  i know that's important, but i feel like there needs to be more.  but i feel like i can't get it together b/c all the boys do is fight over everything.

no one picks up after themselves except me and dh.  boys generally refuse.  when asked, the oldest will cry for 10 minutes balking about how unfair it all is.

all the middle wants to eat is junk.  one lollipop at a Christmas parade and it's all downhill.  he wants nothing that's remotely good for him.  i don't know how he survives sometimes on the small amount of food he seems to consume.

i get zero help from the boys.  they leave toys strewn about, leave dishes wherever they feel like (the oldest will usually take them to the kitchen fortunately).  doing anything else is out of the question (sorting/folding laundry, dusting, that type of thing - it's just flat out refusal).

they complain that i never want to play but i feel like i have to spend so much time picking up and laundering and such that there isn't a whole lot of time left.  i do play everyday - blocks, legos, board games (all their choosing) etc....but it's never recognized that i actually do that.  i just hear "you never play with me".??????

anytime we try to do something as a family, there is usually an argument involved (we can't bake because they argue over who does what, who stands where, etc...i'd rather just buy a loaf of bread).

i just feel defeated by my own children most of the time.  i don't know where i've gone wrong and i don't know how to fix it. 

there is no rhythm to our day because they balk at EVERYTHING.  don't want to eat NOW or HERE, don't want to brush teeth/get dressed, don't want to run errands, don't want to eat THAT, don't want to pick that up, don't want to help with that, don't want to listen to that.  don't want to share that.  the oldest complains contantly, whines, cries, yells, "backtalks" (for lack of a better word). 

i'm at my wit's end.

any advice?  btdt?

 

PLEASE!!! :)

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#2 of 25 Old 12-28-2010, 10:39 AM
 
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I would choose the biggest, most pressing problem and start there. We tried homeschooling, but I felt that it really wasn't going to work for us. We decided to send DS to school, and while there are still things we're working out there, it's been much, much better for us overall. That has allowed us time to work on the other problems while he's getting what he needs, too. 

 

In your case, if homeschooling is non-negotiable, then I'd probably look at the toy situation. Cull the toys. Come up with a better organizational system. Implement something that makes the toy situation better and see how that improves your mood about everything else.


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#3 of 25 Old 12-28-2010, 10:45 AM
 
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Hi. I have a 2.5 year old so maybe I'm not the best one to offer advice but it sounds like the children need structure and you might be able to all benefit from more organization in the household. It's reasonable to expect the two oldest to pick up after themselves.Do you have a chart system where they can check off chores and then get a treat like play time? Have rules about the toys. Once they are done playing with their Legos, they have to pick them up and put them away. It also sounds like they are given way too many choices if they are balking at everything. It sounds like the children are controlling the household. If you have errands to run, you have errands to run. It can be made fun for them by bringing along items they want to play with but they shouldn't be deciding whether or not you bake bread or whether or not your errands are going to be handled when you need them handled.  I wish I had more advice to offer but sending you hugs mama!

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#4 of 25 Old 12-28-2010, 11:05 AM
 
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We have four children, and it does take a lot of work from everyone to keep things running smoothly.

 

 

Quote:
we "homeschool", but i can't get organized enought to feel like i'm actually successful at this. 

 

Why are you homeschooling? What homeschooling style are you aiming for?

 

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no one picks up after themselves except me and dh.  boys generally refuse.  when asked, the oldest will cry for 10 minutes balking about how unfair it all is.

 

What do you do when they whine about having to help?

 

With our kids, if you whine about work, what you get is more chores to do.

 

Quote:
  leave dishes wherever they feel like (the oldest will usually take them to the kitchen fortunately).  

 

My kids are only allowed to eat at the dining room table because of stuff like this. I would introduce the rule, "you can only eat here," give one reminder and take away anything they try to wander away from the table with.

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#5 of 25 Old 12-28-2010, 11:17 AM
 
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The word that comes to mind is "entitled".  They know you'll pick up, they feel that because they do generally get what they want and do as they please, they are entitled to continue.

 

My oldest is 7, then a 5 yo and a 3 yo.  I have no problem putting away toys and other items if the children show an unwillingness to participate in helping with keeping that tidied up.  For food, I do not force them to eat but I also will not become a personal chef to everyone's whims.  They have options (eat supper, eat carrots/apple, eat nothing...eat now, or wait until the next time food is available) to pick from.  A few times picking the option with the unpleasant consequence, and they suddenly have a new attitude.  It seems wrong, as a mother, to allow my child to choose not to eat, but barring developmental issues, most children will not, in fact, starve themselves. ;)

 

If they argue, whatever fun thing they're arguing about stops.  Immediately.   "We might try again another day when you choose to treat each other kindly and with respect".  Same for whining and crying.  "Fine, you go ahead and whine, but there will be no coddling or persuading or attention from me while you're doing it.  Have fun with that, kiddo."  lol.gif  

 

If this were happening in my family, I would "start fresh".  Maybe leave out one toy they can play with (blocks, perhaps), and put all the rest of it away.  All of it.  "When we learn to pick up our blocks and otherwise contribute in appropriate ways to keeping our house comfortable for everyone, then we will gradually begin adding toys and other fun stuff back in.  If it becomes a problem, some of those toys will go away again.  We will keep doing this until all of us are clear about the responsibilities we have as members of this family."

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#6 of 25 Old 12-28-2010, 11:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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thank you all for replying!  we just started homeschooling - he's registered as a kindergartener.  unfortunately, the school year started with the birth of a baby sister.  hsing just feels overwhelming right now.  i am not aiming for huge goals at the kindergarten stage, but i want to do SOMETHING.  i feel like i don't have enough time in the day to get my act together.  that's the main problem.  at this point, homeschooing is nonnegotiable.

the biggest problem i have with the advice given:  ENFORCEMENT.  how do you "expect" behavior is going to happen?  if you say that balking at chores gets you more chores, how do you actually get your kids to do chores?  what kinds of consequences are you using to make this happen.  i've been so trying to do gentle discipline that it almost feels like it's fallen into no discipline.  but i know that's not completely true.

i agree that there is some sense of entitlement here.

i love the toy idea (take away until you can be responsible for them).

thanks again...would love to hear more.

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#7 of 25 Old 12-28-2010, 11:52 AM
 
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I agree with the other posters. My kids also go through stages like this and then things will get better for awhile. Are they getting enough exercise? Can you completely cut out "junk" from your house so they won't only eat that? It's hard, but it helps. If there's no sugar, you have to eat something else. That might help with behavior, too. I would start more consistently requiring chores-no "ok, I'll do it". If you say they need to do something, follow through. It shows that you are reliable and consistent. Set up a good routine to your day, as well. The homeschool or SAH forum always has great threads on routines. Also, arrange family meetings and talk about the behavior from your standpoint. Not blaming, just tell them how you feel. Then set up "family rules" and have it up in writing somewhere they can see it every day.

6 is a little young to worry about intense homeschooling. I would try to work on the basics-read to them all the time. Sneak in some phonics and math around the house with cooking, cleaning, playing with blocks, etc. Board games also help with this-Pizza Fraction Fun, Monopoly, Scrambled States, etc. Once your son gets over the fear of schooling and sees that it can be fun, he'll be more likely to join in more. I would not use punishments around not doing work, try to keep it fun that young. If you're noticing problems with attention or vision, I would consider seeing your pediatrician about a consult from an Occupational Therapist about sensory issues. Or it could be self-esteem. Work on consistency and security in the family, and then progress slowly.

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#8 of 25 Old 12-28-2010, 11:57 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jackson'smama View Post

thank you all for replying!  we just started homeschooling - he's registered as a kindergartener.  unfortunately, the school year started with the birth of a baby sister.  hsing just feels overwhelming right now.  i am not aiming for huge goals at the kindergarten stage, but i want to do SOMETHING.  i feel like i don't have enough time in the day to get my act together.  that's the main problem.  at this point, homeschooing is nonnegotiable.

the biggest problem i have with the advice given:  ENFORCEMENT.  how do you "expect" behavior is going to happen?  if you say that balking at chores gets you more chores, how do you actually get your kids to do chores?  what kinds of consequences are you using to make this happen.  i've been so trying to do gentle discipline that it almost feels like it's fallen into no discipline.  but i know that's not completely true.

i agree that there is some sense of entitlement here.

i love the toy idea (take away until you can be responsible for them).

thanks again...would love to hear more.


This is something you have to work on for consistency. You just "expect it". You can do allowances or removal of privileges, or just a chart so they can visualize what needs done (picture charts work great). Kids like being involved and helping out, usually. My ds is the worst offender in my house with "helping out". Some things he loves to do-holding the baby so I can do dishes, fixing broken things, etc. Some things I expect him to do every day are things we negotiated on as to what he felt capable of doing and willing to do. For him (he's 8 yo) it's feeding and watering the pets. If he does not do this at certain times, then he can not play nintendo or whatever it is he wants to do. Usually it's not an issue, but I always double check before he plays to see if he has fed them because we all forget sometimes. I do not approach it in a punishment sort of way. Just "the cats are really hungry" or "you can play nintendo when you've finished brushing your teeth & feeding the pets". Simple, non-judgemental statements like "the cats are hungry" or "I see dirty socks on the floor" usually does the job. The book "How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk" is very helpful. I definitely recommend you read it.

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#9 of 25 Old 12-28-2010, 03:10 PM
 
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I think the structure suggestion is accurate. I'd write a list of things that you want to change and what the new rule is going to be and the consequences. Schedule a short family meeting and discuss the new rules and consequences. I think entitlement happens when people aren't expected to be responsible for their own behavior. If you don't have clear boundaries, kids will push and push until you make them!

Here are some examples of what you could address at the family meeting. If you write it ahead of time, you'll be able to narrow it down to things that will make a big difference and you feel confident in enforcing. Having the rules and consequences layed out makes it easy to follow through, because it takes the pressure off of you. When I do it, sometimes I'll even say "I'm just following the rules we all agreed to, it makes me sad too that you didn't pick up your toys and now you can't play with them today." (Or whatever the issue was.) the toys and whining ones are what work for us well:



Dishes left around? New rule: No more eating anywhere except the table, and you must clear your own dishes.

Toys left around? New rule: pick up after yourself. If you don't (in an age appropriate way with help or instruction) then all toys left on the floor are bagged up and taken away (stored in the garage or whatever). You get them back when you have shown that you pick up after yourself. (This one also means the kids need to fully understand where and how each item is put away.)

Complaining about food? New rule: mom cooks one dinner and serves it at one time. If you're hungry, you eat. If you aren't, you wait until the next mealtime.

Constant whining? New rule: if you want to say something or ask a question, you have to say it in a "nice voice." If you whine, mom will calmly say "I'm sorry, I can't listen to you when you're whining. Can you say it in a nicer voice please?" (or however you want to word it)


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#10 of 25 Old 12-28-2010, 03:46 PM
 
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Here is what we do....

 

I minimized the amount of toys to a manageable level (manageable being the amount that I wouldn't feel completely annoyed at having to pick up myself if I had to) and the kids play with what they want until its time for a book or snack/meal or leaving the house.  At first we picked up toys together and slowly I moved it to the kids picking up the toys themselves.  The next activity wouldn't start until the toys were cleaned up.  I tried not to say that "you can't do X until the toys are picked up," instead phrasing it as "oh, lets clean up so we can have a clean house when we read/eat/come home."  I'd love to have the kids put away each toy before they play with the next, but we aren't there yet and I can live with the current system.

 

Food is eaten only in the kitchen and only at the table/counter/kids table.  They can carry around water bottles and drink them wherever and whenever they feel like in the kitchen (which is also one of the main play areas.)  I cook one meal, usually designed with their preferences in mind.  If they don't like it, there is probably a back-up like plain rice or carrots & hummus, but there won't be any more cooking.  If they fuss about the food, I tell them that they must not be hungry and they don't have to eat, because hungry children tend to eat what is put in front of them. 

 

And remember, you have a three month old!  This makes everything harder.  Maybe your two boys can be more involved in taking care of her?  Picking out clothes, getting baby wipes, just being sweet and silly with her - these are all ways that your DSs can actually be closer to you.  Its likely that all that "play with me" is really a plea for you to focus on them.  Maybe homeschooling can just be developing a better rhythm for the whole family.  That will give the base for later homeschooling too.

 

In terms of "enforcement," I'd say to look to what your sons love to do - whatever that is, make cleaning up happen right before that activity.  That way, its a positive thing to clean up, since right after they get to do something fun.  My 4yo will do ANYTHING to have me sit down and read with him - take out the trash, scrub the floor, etc!

 

Good luck.


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#11 of 25 Old 12-28-2010, 04:00 PM
 
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"I'm just following the rules we all agreed to...

 

Yes, I had success with a variation on that:  "It's House Rules".  TV after school was a real problem with us. It never worked for long when I'd simply tell them each afternoon to turn the TV off. For one thing it made it too easy for me to just let things slide.  When I told the kids that we had a new House Rule, no TV on school nights... wow, it finally stuck.  Ds, 11 y.o., tends to beg for exceptions ('it's a minimum day!')  but the change in focus (from me to the house rule) really helped.

 

I wonder if it would help if teaching your kids some new routines was the only home school lesson for a while.  It's worth it to really stick with this.  Make the investment in your time, effort and persistence now. It will make a big difference when they're older. 

 

I did not provide a lot of routine for my kids, didn't have a lot of expectations and it shows now.  They're 15 y.o. and 11 y.o. and they're really nice kids, smart and sweet, and don't have a great work ethic.  bag.gif  But they do know NO tv on school nights! =D

 

Edited to ad, Heather said it better than I did:  Maybe homeschooling can just be developing a better rhythm for the whole family.


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#12 of 25 Old 12-28-2010, 04:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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love love LOVE the suggestions of our focus to be on creating a rhythm to the day.  i feel like i've tried to do this so many times.  completely in vain.  it gets draining to say, "ok time to get dressed, brush teeth and comb hair" only to hear them groan, complain, and stall (in a minute.  in a minute.  in a minute).  i feel like my day would be more productive talking to a brick wall sometimes.

i feel like in trying to be AP, gentle, non-coercive, UP, and all the other parenting "styles" on here that I've actually slipped into "i have no clue what i'm doing here" parenting.  and i think the kids must know it!

 

so, what's your "rhythm" look like?  i need some ideas to get started.

 

WRT enforcement, I like the family meeting idea.  i'll admit we've tried this before but we've lacked consistency.  unfortunately, i don't have huge help in dh b/c he's the type that's very go with the flow until you push him too far.  then he gets mad and yells.  problem is that it doesn't take much to push him too far, but then he moves on so quickly that he doesn't really think there's a problem (if that makes sense).  other problem is that no matter how well we flow most days, when dh is off, everything gets off-kilter.  i don't know how important it is for that flow to stay in place every.single.day.  is it?  how about the one day of the week that i work and it's just dh here with them.  i think rules should be the same, but he thinks nothing of riding them around town watching dvds eating happy meals.  then when i refuse i hear the grand ol' "daddy lets us do it".

 

aaaaghhhhh!!!!  keep the advice flowing.  i'm extremely appreciative.  and happy to hear that maybe i haven't ruined them for life.

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#13 of 25 Old 12-29-2010, 04:54 PM
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I trained as a primary (elementary) teacher, and worked with 5-7 yos (then I went back to being a nanny). A 6 yo is very young, and may not be really ready for academics yet, some are, some aren't.

Remember that a lot of play happens in a Kindergarten class room! We used little cars and plastic dinosaurs and rabbits for counting. Making patterns with various colours and shapes is Maths too. We taught geometry by drawing shapes with chalk outside, and letting the kids jump from shape to shape, measuring by letting the kids use their hands, arms, feet and whole bodies as measuring tools.

A teacher needs to plan for 30 kids. With two kids that isn't necessary, yo can still get much more done, if you'd want to.

But you can do lots of things just in your ordinary day. As a nanny I did stuff I'd done with kids at school, just while doing everything else:

- When walking up the steps to the house, or stairs anywhere, we'd count steps
- When cooking I'd entertain the older kids by holding up fingers "How many fingers here? How many here? How many are there together?"
- We'd count spoons when emptying the dishwasher
- When I was feeding the baby (spoon-feeding), I'd encourage the older kids to run around: "Run to the chair. Now to the door. And around the table. Yeah! Touch the rocking horse. Find something blue..." They loved it! The oder kids get, the more inventive you need to be, make the game more exciting, run to another room, look for different things, maybe time them with a stop-watch.
- Another fun thing to do, is collages. Draw a big A or P or whatever in the middle of a paper, get out old magazines, kids' scissors and glue, and ask them to find things that starts with their letter. sound things out with them, make it fun. You can also draw the kids' names on the paper, and ask them to find a picture for each letter. Or to find as many A's as they can.
- Put up a baby bath (or a big bowl) in the bath/shower, with baking equipment: cups, tblsp, tsp, deciliter, liter etc, and dome funnels and sieves, maybe a whisk
- Read. All sorts of things, as long as the kids are interested.
- When you feel up to it, bake or cook with the kids, and let them do the measuring

Making a simple rhythm may help you. Our basic rhythm (which is on the fridge for me, not for DD), looks like this (times are very approximate)

7 am - out of bed (this varies, as DD might wake before 6 or after 8.30. I'm usually up by 7.30), breakfast, I do exercises
8 am - shower (if we've got a bus to catch this is usually the latest possible, but on other days, I'm not so bothered)
8.30-9am - ready to go, morning activity - if at home, usually outside first, then inside, morning snack, then DD plays while I bake or do washing, and we may do some dancing, as DD loves
12 noon - lunch
1 pm - calm time, I'm at computer, DD rests with me or sleeps (she seems to be giving up her sleep at the moment) or plays with her toys, might read some stories
2.30 pm - snack time
3 pm outside again, or some dancing inside, if weather not good (unless we are very tired, and just have stories) - in winter we usually had smoothies on the balcony in the sun smile.gif
4.30 reading stories, until Daddy comes home
6 pm dinner
8 pm bedtime

I'd like to have some art-time for example, put in there, but if I were you, I'd leave out stuff like that for the time being, until baby is a bit older. For now I'd just use the rhythm to help you and the kids feel a bit more settled. And go with flow for learning, keep a list of ideas, and just try to make them fun for the kids. Some weekly rhythm, like going to a music group or a play ground or other group, every Wednesday, might be appreciated by the kids.
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#14 of 25 Old 12-29-2010, 06:09 PM
 
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What a great, helpful post.  I try so hard to do all of these things, too!

 

I just wanted to add that I have found that, with us, the most meltdowns happen when I feel stressed, anxious, irritated or otherwise funky.  I think the kids feed directly off of whatever energy you put out there and by working very, very hard on being calm and mindful, things have seemed to fall into place.  It is work - real work - to remain relaxed and even-tempered, but well worth it!
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by YasaiMuraLife View Post

Here is what we do....

 

I minimized the amount of toys to a manageable level (manageable being the amount that I wouldn't feel completely annoyed at having to pick up myself if I had to) and the kids play with what they want until its time for a book or snack/meal or leaving the house.  At first we picked up toys together and slowly I moved it to the kids picking up the toys themselves.  The next activity wouldn't start until the toys were cleaned up.  I tried not to say that "you can't do X until the toys are picked up," instead phrasing it as "oh, lets clean up so we can have a clean house when we read/eat/come home."  I'd love to have the kids put away each toy before they play with the next, but we aren't there yet and I can live with the current system.

 

Food is eaten only in the kitchen and only at the table/counter/kids table.  They can carry around water bottles and drink them wherever and whenever they feel like in the kitchen (which is also one of the main play areas.)  I cook one meal, usually designed with their preferences in mind.  If they don't like it, there is probably a back-up like plain rice or carrots & hummus, but there won't be any more cooking.  If they fuss about the food, I tell them that they must not be hungry and they don't have to eat, because hungry children tend to eat what is put in front of them. 

 

And remember, you have a three month old!  This makes everything harder.  Maybe your two boys can be more involved in taking care of her?  Picking out clothes, getting baby wipes, just being sweet and silly with her - these are all ways that your DSs can actually be closer to you.  Its likely that all that "play with me" is really a plea for you to focus on them.  Maybe homeschooling can just be developing a better rhythm for the whole family.  That will give the base for later homeschooling too.

 

In terms of "enforcement," I'd say to look to what your sons love to do - whatever that is, make cleaning up happen right before that activity.  That way, its a positive thing to clean up, since right after they get to do something fun.  My 4yo will do ANYTHING to have me sit down and read with him - take out the trash, scrub the floor, etc!

 

Good luck.




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#15 of 25 Old 12-29-2010, 10:10 PM
 
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I'd suggest a couple of things:

 

First, a rough schedule for YOU to follow to get things started. If you can get into a good daily rhythm, then you can help your kids do that. It's hard because your littlest is still very young. Neither of my kids had established a decent natural schedule before about 4-5 months, so it may not be very realistic to expect a consistent daily schedule instantly. Maybe work on the most difficult parts of the day -- start with bedtime, for example, and work backward.

 

When  you're ready to introduce a 'schedule' to the kids (it could be the same time, or it could be after you've had some time to try a few things out), do a visual/picture schedule. That's what my kids' kindergarten did. It has two advantages: It doesn't require kids to read and it doesn't require you to stick to specific times. Instead, it's more of a rhythm. Build in 'play with the boys' as well. Sometimes "you never play with me" = I'm bored, at other times it means "I don't know when you'll do it, so I'll whine really hard and see if you'll play with me." If you have a schedule, you can much more easily say "I'll gladly do that after I've got the lunch dishes done" and then stick to it because you'll have a rhythm.

 

For picking up and other tasks which meet resistance, we did several things. We have a family 'chore time' that we instituted when our kids were about this age. We all work together for 15 minutes right after dinner to clean up. We set the timer and we all work until the timer beeps.  I made a whole bunch of 'chore sticks' out of some craft sticks (aka popsicle sticks) and put them in a bag. I look around and determine what needs to be done that day. Does the bathroom need to be cleaned? Then I put in "clean the toilets" and "wash the sink". Living room vacuumed? "Vacuum living room" goes in. Before they can vacuum (which they like to do), they need to pick up all the stuff on the floor. If it is 'pick up toys', it's very specific, such as "pick up 5 toys in the living room." (Also good for math skills!) Some days it's "start a load of laundry". I also added a few silly ones "stand on one leg and count to 10" or "do a forward roll" or "give mom and dad a hug". The kids really appreciated doing real work, and if they were putting away laundry or scrubbing the toilets, I could easily pick up a few toys. Picking up toys is the least favorite chore.

 

When they were little, it took pretty much constant supervision to keep them on task and to teach them to do things. Our 9 year old is moderately competent now and doesn't need that much supervision. I still rotate out things so they'll do it one week/day and I'll do it then next. Ds swept the dining room floor today. I'll do it next time to get the finer points. Our 6 year old still needs reminders that she's picking up the toys, not playing with them! I'm about to add a few things outside the 15 minutes for our ds -- helping with dishes and learning to cook.

 

The other thing is that family chore time works best if it happens right after dinner. Everyone is fed and the kids want to go play before bedtime. They have incentive to get it done. Until the chores are done, nothing fun happens. It's a logical consequence that I can enforce easily. If we wait until bedtime, they've got little incentive to get things done, and they're tired and cranky. In your situation, since you're at home during the day, I'd have one clean up period in the morning for say 10 minutes and one in the afternoon evening.

 

I'll admit that this has not been without tears and tantrums. The kids aren't thrilled about it. Dd has been sent to her room on numerous occasions for obnoxious whining during chores or outright refusal to do them. I've discovered she works best working with me, dusting or scrubbing. She hates to vacuum. During the times when she really hasn't wanted to do chores, we've had to hold firm and keep our cool. I think it helps that we're all doing them.

 

I don't think you have to have the same schedule every day. It's OK to let dad establish his own schedule. It's OK to take a couple of days off. Kids adjust fairly easily to changes in routine, especially when they're accompanied by changes in people. Just smile sweetly at the "but Dad lets us..." and say "but I don't."


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#16 of 25 Old 12-29-2010, 10:40 PM
 
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Tons of great advice!

 

Definitely box up/put up/hide most of their things and start fresh!


We call anything that has to be done around the house 'family work'. It's work that MUST be done to keep our family functioning. It's non-negotiable. We all do it. I've never had set 'chores' or paid 'allowance' for family work. To me, this gives kids an idea that x thing is 'not MY job' and when asked to do something 'not MY job' the next thing you hear is 'how much do I get for it!?'.

 

My kids at 10 and 14 are very, very helpful and they could probably run this house 100% themselves if I left a reminder list of what needed done each day. They can cook, laundry, dishes, clean, whatever! Not that they have to do any of those things every day, but they could.

 

For big tasks (really anything over about 2-5 mins or needing multiple steps for littles!), you will need to actively supervise. My boys have been cleaning their rooms on their own since 3 or 4, BUT with lots of pointers/assistance from me. I would walk in and say, "Wow, looks like lots of dirty clothes on the floor. Let's start there. Bring them to me, and I'll take to the laundry. Great. Now you can work on getting all the action figures picked up."  Leave them for a few minutes while taking laundry. Come back. "Good. What else needs picked up? Looks like there are quite a few books on the floor." Yadda yadda until everything is done. I would pitch in a little if they seem overwhelmed or to get them started.  The key is also to keep up on it daily as it won't get overwhelming this way.

 

Yours are definitely too small to do dishes independently, but they can help you--put away silverware, put away cups, unload all the plates/bowl/cups into piles on the counter (if you have a dishwasher).

 

If you're working, try to have your kids there also so they can see what you are doing and be helpful. Even very young (15 mos/18mos) children can be given a wet rag and shown to 'wash' the lower cabinets while you do dishes or work in the kitchen.

 

LOTS and LOTS and LOTS of praise and encouragement that they are being helpful, productive members of the family.


~Mama to my boys~ to a teen, a tween & a toddler and surro-mama to twins and their sister

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#17 of 25 Old 12-29-2010, 10:48 PM
 
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Wow, these are great suggestions. DD (5) is getting to an age where we really need to have her be an active participant in the chores, and we have some work to do getting her there. Her only reall chore thus far is feeding her pets... though lately she is voluntarily cleaning the toilets (yay!) and asking to start laundry loads. I want her to grow up with better housekeeping skills than I had when I moved out of my parents' house!


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#18 of 25 Old 12-29-2010, 10:56 PM
 
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Lynn...thanks for your thoughts. I'm having a lot of trouble with non-cooperation (even things they like to do - ds2 refusing to get dressed, even though we're going somewhere he wants to go, for instance) and with picking up toys. I've tried the "let's all do 10-15 minutes" thing, but I've always given up after spending the 10-15 doing it myself, while my kids either whine at me or get banished upstairs. I like some of the fun ideas, and I think a pictorial "rhythm" would work for us. I don't like really rigid structure, but I like the idea of showing them the rhythm I have in mind. Thanks!


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#19 of 25 Old 12-29-2010, 11:02 PM
 
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what form of homeschooling are you doing/thinking about doing? this plays alot in to if your days should be structured or not. for us if i did structured days my life would be living hell my 2 would never stand for it. also 99% of the time they hate to be "taught" how to do thing.

 

dont worry you are not alone i got 2 that are the same as ur oldest 2 close in age also (4&8). we are very relaxed HS/unschooling. i think you are mostly stressed with the lack of help around and left being a maid. i feel like one sometimes also. what i tell the kids is "not very many people actually like to clean. it is a part of life we all got to do like it or not."

 

as for rules and chores. its all how you think about it. they kept throwing clean and dirty clothes everywhere. i said you know i dont HAVE to do your clothes when i do laundry they kept on talking and throwing more things around. so laundry day comes and guess what a shock they got to see their clothing was not washedwinky.gif. they started whining and carring on i reminded them that in this house we all make the mess and dirty the laundry so we all must help out.

 

you have to deside how badly you want it done, and if it will be done good or badly and with whining. it must be done so just do it. my dd will carry on hoping i will say oh forget it i will do it.  

toys do come up missing and sometimes they never come back. "if you cant keep it clean and i spend more time picking it up then you do playing with it, then you dont need or want it" when i do take them away they do know i did it. i dont hide this fact.

when i feel that they are leaving me to do everything i say no playing and if they are caught playing that toy is taken away. i have taken away tv, dvd's, toys, pc time, when they are not helping out.

i dont know how you feel about "rewards" i do have a reward system where they get coins for doing things from learning to chores. they get one coin each with no limit on how many they earn a day. when the day is done they are able to buy things with their coins. they love crafts and playmobil so i have 5 containers-1 coin, 2, 3,5,10+coins. they may use their coins to buy anything they can afford or save them. examples:

in 1 coin-stickers, small foam stickers, world coins

in 10+ there is larger craft stuff, dvd's

this system works well with my 2 because they can earn coins threw out the day and get rewarded without a long wait. i have tried everything i can think of this is they only way i can get my dd to do anything asked.

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#20 of 25 Old 12-30-2010, 09:22 AM
 
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Great thread.  thumb.gif


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#21 of 25 Old 12-30-2010, 09:49 AM
 
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You have gotten a lot of great advice!  The only thing that I have to add is to remember it takes time for the changes you instill to make a difference, and often things will appear to get worse before they start getting better.  You kids will test whatever boundaries/consequences you put into effect to see if you are serious and once they realize you are, they will test you even more.  I have seen it in my classroom and even with my DD, young though she is.  Pick the battles that are important to you and stick with them.  As long as you are consistent the results will come. 


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#22 of 25 Old 12-30-2010, 04:33 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YasaiMuraLife View Post

In terms of "enforcement," I'd say to look to what your sons love to do - whatever that is, make cleaning up happen right before that activity.  That way, its a positive thing to clean up, since right after they get to do something fun.   

Good luck.


This works for us - I think of it as "dangling the carrot". We can go do X (play outside, watch a show, read a book, bake, etc. - something fun) after the toys are picked up. Ideally, I try for several "mini-cleans" a day - one before each activity. We'll go to the park after the toys are put away. We'll take a walk after the clothes are folded. You can ride your bike after your room is cleaned, etc.


 

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#23 of 25 Old 12-31-2010, 04:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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wow!  i go away for a day and come back to awesome advice!  thanks again ladies!

i like the pictorial rhythm chart.  i made one a few years ago and my oldest loved it (he was about 3 at the time), but it got ratty (posterboard) and we tossed it.  i still have most of the pictures though so we could make a new one!  the problem is finding the time to do it. 

 

re: how we homeschool and why i'm freaking:  obviously, i'm new to this as my oldest just turned 6.  he is registered as a k student so i'm feeling pressure to do something b/c at some point, we'll face testing.  he doesn't want to do anything called "school".  says he can't concentrate?!?!  but the other day, he was shocked when i pointed out he was able to build a motorized lego robot while i read a book aloud to him and he asked questions while i was reading (for deeper understanding/clarification) and was able to discuss the chapters after we were finished.  so there's something to labeling it school or him realizing that we're doing "school work" that for whatever reason is bothering him. 

i'm having to adjust to dealing with a situation where one is not an eager beaver to do school.  i was the child that Could.Not.Wait for the first day of school.  loved school.  and by school, i mean the academic part.   dh OTOH despised school and couldn't wait to get out.  our grades were reflective of our situations.  i don't want my son to "hate school" so i'm having to both relax and be creative here.  i'm very committed to hsing but i just haven't quite gotten the hang of it yet and i kind of beat myself up for that.  overall, i'd say right now, we're eclectic.  i'm leaning toward CM/Classical in some respects but don't want to be that 100%.  and that's another thing.  i feel like i need some "teacher workdays" to get my act together, but that feels next to impossible with a baby that won't be put down and won't nap worth a nickel on top of everything else. 

 

some days, it feels that all i've accomplished is survival!  today i will take all the advice here and try to get rolling for a fresh start in 2011.  grandma is taking the boys out to breakfast so while they're gone, i plan to strip the playroom of most toys and take them to the attic.  if time remains, i'm going to work on the picture schedule and maybe some type of chore list/chart/grab jar.  i want the whole family to be involved.  my ideal situation for now and for as long as children are in my house is for the family as a whole to do all the pickup and maintaining an organized clear home (everything in it's own home at bedtime).  i like to clean and don't mind the dusting and vacuuming and such.  i just want people to pick up after themselves and generally be helpful.  if i just had to clean, it wouldn't be *that* bad.  it's the toy pickup that drives me batty.

 

thank you all!  i'm open to any more ideas you have!

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#24 of 25 Old 01-02-2011, 05:58 PM
 
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no advice OP but I think we're living the same life!!  except we don't homeschool, and my littlest is now 7 mos.  but i'm subbing in the hopes that this stays alive...i need help too, so you're so not alone.

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#25 of 25 Old 01-03-2011, 08:00 PM
 
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