I posted a picture of our new "command central" on facebook this morning and had no idea how much attention it would get. I'm glad I'm not the only one who needs this! As suggested in the fb comments, I'm posting the details here :)
This past year has not been pretty. Behaviorally, my kids have fallen apart. Bad attitudes and disobedience abound. As the mature, responsible parent that I am, I've responded by nagging, yelling, threatening - all of it in completely unpredictable patterns. :)
One of the benefits of having lots of kids (if you consider 4 a lot) is many hands to do the work! But, when I have to nag and whine and yell just to get them to dress themselves, it doesn't feel much like help. Our old system wasn't cutting it anymore - mainly because I didn't "inspect what I expect" (love that phrase!), so I had to find a way to build in accountability for me as well.
I've told y'all before I'm not creative. I have very few original ideas - and this is no different :) I have been "collecting" ideas from several places (here, here, here, here and here) for the past few weeks and combined them into something that will work for our family. I've purchased pre-made chore charts and such before. I didn't want to spend any money this time and I wanted something that would combine chores, behavior, family rules, scheduling, the whole shebang into one system, while being easy for me. 'Cause, at the end of the day, if its not easy it won't last!
baseball card protector pages with the side & one end cut off to a poster board so they act as pockets. The craft sticks have the kids' chores written on them. Once a week, I place the sticks in the appropriate pocket. The kids pull the stick(s) for that day, complete the work and leave the stick in the kitchen, so I know the work is ready for inspection (accountability for me!). Once it passes inspection, they put the stick in their bucket (our kids have been color-coded for some time, so they know which one is theirs - though it would be cute to label it. Target generally sells the buckets in their $1 section). These are all unpaid chores - work they do to contribute to the family (I really like Dave Ramsey's philosophy on this). If they complete this work (without reminders, complaining, etc), they are allowed to choose a paid chore from a bucket I keep in the kitchen. Sundays are pay day. They receive their weekly "commission" as well as any money they earned from paid chores. The white bucket contains extra chores (or "trouble chores" as Jadyn calls them) and they are used for behavior issues related to our family rules (below).
here. If they break a rule, they go to the chart and accept their discipline and read the Bible verse(s) associated with it. If they break the same rule again that day, they move on to the Motivator (including extra chores). This has made discipline consistent. No need for me to yell, nag, threaten, etc ... and no need for them to get angry with me over unfair punishments I'm doling out just because I'm grumpier than the last time the same behavior occurred. This week has been much calmer and happier for all of us!
This is the same for all of them and for each day, so I wrote it on the poster board. On Sunday, I will decide if they earned their stick for the week (meaning they did their morning routine without reminders all week). If they do not earn it, they do not get paid for any paid chores they may have done.
They love to spend time with Ed and me in the evenings - sitting & talking, playing games, reading books, etc. The sooner they complete their evening routine, the more time they get with us. We used to do room cleaning in the mornings, but it drives Ed batty to put the kids to bed in a messy room and I like the idea of teaching them to go to bed with their things tidy. They also have mom and dad time to look forward to which seems to be a much bigger incentive to work quickly than school time. Lol. Jake has had his room cleaned before dinner every night this week! *Hmmm .... I wonder which kid's love language is quality time??* :)
If I was going to do it again, I would write the days of the week at the top of each pocket (as they get covered up by the sticks where I wrote them). I was planning to use library pockets, but didn't have enough (and didn't want to spend money, remember?). I think they might look a bit more tidy (and I do like tidy!). Also, command hooks would hold the buckets better than the giant thumbtacks I used that leave equally giant holes in the wall (but, again, using what I already had). I would have also used a colored poster board instead of white. But, all of this is purely cosmetic. I plan to hang a file holder under the calendar to hold other papers we may need as well. Oh, the extra bucket up high holds dry erase markers, eraser, etc. I didn't want to be hunting for those when I need them!
It is working beautifully for us so far! I hope it helps some other mamas! If you have some ideas, PLEASE share in the comments! :)