Sunday, May 23, 2010

Tabby Cat, Baby Oliver, and Chore Charts

I've been trying to decide on internet privacy related matters, for now my children will have fictitious online names.  They have chosen the names themselves!  For the past 3 years, my daughter (5 years old) has referred to herself as "Tabby Cat" when she pretends to be a cat.  And for the past 1 1/2 years, my son (almost 3) has called himself "Baby Oliver," his kitten persona.  They commonly introduce themselves to new acquaintances this way.  The adults look at me like I'm crazy and don't know how to name my children.  At the mention of Tabby Cat and Baby Oliver, just remind yourself, 5 year old girl and 3 year old boy.

It was way past time to get more organized around here!  A year or two ago I read a book by the Duggars; you know the family with 19 kids?  Michelle, the mom, wrote about how hectic their household was when she ONLY had 3 or 4 kids.  Then she realized the importance of planning, scheduling, and organizing.  Yes, I thought, it would probably be a good idea, but it takes time to make a schedule.  Plus I might feel compelled to follow it, and I really like being flexible and stressed.  Wait, I like the idea of being flexible, I really hate being stressed and always behind on my chores with no energy to complete them.

I have two cats, um kids.  I want to adopt at least two more (yes, real children, not felines).  So now is the time to get organized and start training Tabby and Oliver how to follow a schedule and be responsible for the things they are old enough to do themselves.  Training myself, of course, is much harder than teaching them!

Last week was the start of a new chapter around here.  Here's hoping it lasts!  The kids got a new chore chart that allows them to put a magnet by each chore they complete, for each day of the week.  Here are the chores we started with: 

Make Bed
Brush Teeth (by themselves in the morning, Joel or I brush their teeth before bed)
Take Dishes to Kitchen Counter
Water Plants
Pick Up Toys (one magnet at the end of the day, not one each time it needs to be done)

This adds up to 5 chores per child each day.  Oliver needs help making his bed, and Tabby is usually glad to help as long as she gets to put his magnet on the chart for him.  Our first week with this went pretty well, the hardest thing for them is picking up their toys.  Oliver especially will sometimes choose to have many of his toys put in time out for a week or given away.  I think the sheer volume of his toys stresses him out because he never misses any toys when they are gone.

Due to the fact that they are young and just starting out, they are getting pretty big rewards to begin with.  They got to do a special craft after getting their first 10 magnets.  A trip to the zoo for 20 magnets.  And a gift for 30 magnets.  They were able to earn all of these this week which means they both did 30 of the 35 possible chores for the past 7 days!  I decided the gift will always be something consumable or something they need or could really benefit from.  This week I made them each a new hooded towel.

Of course, if the kids get a chore chart, so does mom!  I'm trying to decide if I should get rewards too.  It might be a good idea...  This post is plenty long, so more about my own chore schedule will come later.

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