This is a continuation of yesterdays' post. If you want more of an explanation of this summer's chore plan for our family you can read about it here.
- Mini rewards: "mini-people" like things in small doses. Sometimes I do too! One of the biggest surprises I've found this summer is how big a payoff we get for the 15 minute chore. And by 15 minutes I mean, the reward of 15 minutes of electronic time. Often that amount of time is sufficient to feed the dinosaurs in a game or check an online shop for a desired item or google a recent question. It's a quick mental payoff for the kid, which is just enough incentive to do the small job.
- Mini chores: I need to add that the time it takes to earn electronics time in our house isn't 1:1. Sometimes the chore takes more or much less time. For me it corresponds with the difficulty of the task or how big of a help it will be to me in running the household. This morning I needed toilet brushes upstairs in the right bathroom. It would really help my own cleaning efficiency and so I offered it up to a kid who couldn't think of a chore they wanted. In exchange for simply checking the bathrooms to see what cleaning supplies were where and then bring them to the places I needed them, my son earned 15 minutes of his video game time. He was quite pleased with the ease of the "chore" and honestly it wasn't hard but it was timely, so for me it worked.
- Mutual Benefit: It's working because it is based on what helps me the most, what they need to learn the most, and what is most efficient for our household. This is the biggest change for us versus other years because I was trying to adapt other people's ideas or cute crafts. If a cute chart is motivating for you, more power to you, but for our family we've just found a different groove. The key to this was just being honest with myself about how our family works and not worrying about how it looked to others. Cause frankly there's nothing really cute about moving toilet brushes or a 7 year old who MUST feed his dinosaurs in the next hour...but that's us.
- Happy Mom: It sounds selfish but the bottom line truth is that chores are still working for us because they are *helping* me. Being a mom is great, but being a mom is tough, especially when combined with trying to keep a clean home, a healthy learning atmosphere, etc. The fact that this is making our household run smoother for me and keeping the kids happier is what keeps my motivation level high in keeping to the time amounts of the rewards (they test the limits!), or making sure a chore is done fully. It's tempting to just let them take more time or not check on a chore, but the rewards of their learning and satisfaction at doing well as well as actual, literal HELP around the house for myself are keeping it going.
Are you doing chores with the kids this summer? Share what tips work for you, too!