My Theory Regarding Chores for Kids

When my kids were super young we had a chore chart up on the fridge, I created it and it worked awesome. At some point it was magnetic and at other points it was simply a tally mark system. Each child had set chores, for the boys brushing teeth was even one of those chores to encourage good teeth brushing habits. The tally mark would represent a penny or nickle, whatever it was back then. Each child could lose a tally mark though, if they misbehaved or didn’t follow rules at some point. It was a wonderful system that worked well when the kids were not in school. Now that my three children are in school and with the sharing of parenting between two households, it’s not so easy to utilize the same methods. Here is why my kids really only have tasks during the Summer break season.

I believe that the school year is a time to focus all your efforts on school work, each of my children get A and B grades, this past year my oldest actually got straight A’s all year. They are good students. They also have to live between my home and their Dad’s home, each having different visitation schedules. To me, having to keep up with chores while going between households and keeping up good grades isn’t worth adding a daily chore list to. While I still will ask my children to help around the house, as I believe a strong family bond is created when we all work together to ensure our household is up kept, they don’t have a real chore list during the school season. This has worked for us very well.

Chores for Kids Living in Co Parenting World

My kids are never over scheduled nor over worked during the school year because I allow them the time to focus on school versus a huge list of chores. I believe this is a worthy thing, their school is their job. Being part of the family is their job too, when you have a huge list of school work plus chores plus fun time, it creates this hectic environment and can put kids backwards; they will fall behind in some part of that huge list of to-do’s. I wish to encourage my kids to excel and find a balance, reality is a chore list during the school year will not help them balance because it’s near impossible for them to get all of that done while getting school work done. It doesn’t work.

When summer break hits, the kids are asked to do more around the home. My oldest is asked to handle the dog in the morning while I do my morning shift on Moms.com. The younger two are expected to pick up after their own self; such as dishes in sink after eating, trash thrown away and toys picked up if moving onto another toy. I am not consistent with this at all times, because I am still working on this balance of having all three gone all school year in school, but overall if I ask they do whatever it is that is asked upon them. Summer break to me, is a time to spend with family outings, bonding time and also keeping up with household chores and yard work. We all do our part to keep the family running smoothly and efficiently.

With my oldest, she has an iPhone and part of her Summer list this year is to do tasks for me so that my blog stuff doesn’t fall too much behind between my juggling my job at Moms.com and my freelance work. I don’t get any flack, after all my daughter is already a tween blogger with her own two blogs so helping me pays for her $40 a month cell bill while she also learns the “trade of blogging”. It’s a win/win for us both and she feels accomplished knowing she is working for me at some level. I am working on creating her Summer task list now, it will be no more than half hour a day when she is here to complete and I think that’s fair.

I believe that chores, in a blended household, where the children tend to go off to their Dad’s frequently must be balanced well. I want the children to enjoy being here with Mom and enjoy being away with Dad while also maintaining a good family bond and good character. At the age my children are at, the chores during school year are more a means to just upkeep around here, but during the Summer months, they are certainly expected to help more. I think with blended households and co-parenting most families do it all different while other families still try to maintain this normal level of a regular family where the children have a boat load of chores at both households, I don’t see that as fair. I want my children to grow up enjoying their childhood while still teaching them life lessons; they know when Summer time comes they will be expected to help more around the home, but their reward is a lot of fun family time.

Having a balance is important in every area of my life and my kids have become the same way; I believe that is why we are well rounded, well adjusted and adaptable, outgoing people.

Yes, This is my Child … Mister K

This child of mine, the youngest, is always up to something. Shown here, is my son after a ride home from his Grampa’s. Some how between stealing my pocket book to take all of my Trident gum and singing along to our favorite tunes on the radio for our twenty minute trip back home … he captured a pink highlighter. This highlighter is what he added to his already messy, chocolate ice cream face …

Baby of the Family Covers Face with Highlighter

Imagine my surprise when we pulled into the driveway to our house and I look to see him like this? I just couldn’t help but giggle and then, of course, ask to capture this moment with a picture. I love how he posed, so perfect for how he was caught with the highlighter on face.

During another visit to the farm, this child of mine, the one who lays in mud muddles and covers his face with mud. Every.Single.Time there is a mud puddle at his Grampa’s house, decided to make his mark on my Town and Country:

Mud Hand Print on Town & Country

Needless to say between the three kids, Mister K is the one who really likes to keep Mama on her toes. Good thing I have a sense of humor, you really need one to raise this child.

Always an adventure around here, what is something your child has done that just made you shake your head and giggle?

Keep the Kids Calm During A Move

Moving is a pretty hectic time for most people, regardless of how old they are. Between the stress of getting packed up and the uncertainty involved in transitioning to a new home, there are a lot of things going on and it’s tough to manage them all. Moves can be especially hectic for kids, whose stress often converts into temper tantrums and other outbursts that only make the process more difficult for you. Try some of these tips to keep your kids calm during a move and help the process go as smoothly as possible.

Give them advance notice

Kids are smart. They can tell something’s different when you’re getting ready for a move and may demonstrate this knowledge non-verbally, such as becoming extra clingy. Rather than going on with life as normal and pretending nothing is happening, it’s best to tell your kids what’s going on well in advance. That way, they can start getting used to the idea and even help get ready by taping boxes or helping pack. Start talking about the possibility of a move when you’re starting to scout out houses or apartments and get them excited about the process. Everything you do to prepare in advance will prevent a huge shock when moving day arrives.

Explain the process

Watching all of their belongings get put on a big truck and driven away by a strange person can be really scary for kids. Take some time to explain what to expect on moving day. Let them know you hired a moving company whose job it is to get all your stuff safely to your new home. Also explain what kids will need to help you with before moving day, such as sorting through their toys and books, and staying out of the way as the movers load up the truck.

Assign kid-friendly jobs

Boredom is one of the major causes of misbehavior. When you’re so busy preparing for and executing a move, you may not be paying as much attention as usual to keeping your kids busy. Before you start the move, brainstorm some jobs each of your kids will enjoy helping with during each stage of the process. For example, you can have a child be in charge of labeling boxes as you pack them or being in charge of the Goodwill donation pile. When you’re cleaning your house, little ones love helping hold the dustpan or push the vacuum. These tasks will keep them occupied and help prevent outbursts due to feeling left out.

Keep kids fed

Children are especially susceptible to tantrums and emotional outbursts when they’re hungry. With such small bodies, going an hour or two past a meal time can be a pretty big deal. While you’re packing up your kitchen, make sure to keep a stash of kid-friendly food close at hand so your kids don’t get too hungry on moving day. Take a break to go out to lunch at a restaurant of their choice. If your kids start getting a little grumpy, offer a favorite snack. Even if you’re usually pretty strict about what they eat, one day of exceptions isn’t going to ruin everything.

Although you can never guarantee your kids will be perfect angels during a move, keeping them involved throughout the process will help your big day go more smoothly. Know as well the process doesn’t end when you get to the new place. Let them help set up their play areas right away so they can start having fun in the new house while you work on unpacking and settling in.

Trying For A Routine and Schedule

A routine and schedule is one thing I miss about working outside of the home. I was thinking the other night about my two sons lives, they are now 3 and 5 yet haven’t ever really had a routine other than bedtime. Our daytime schedule consists of winging it in all honesty.

I have breakfast whenever we all roll out of bed, which is anytime between 7am and 10am most days. I have lunch between 12 and 1pm depending upon what time we had breakfast and dinner is between 5 and 6pm. That is probably the only “routine” we have, a similar time that we eat daily. The rest of our days together are never the same, and not consistent at all. Basically the boys rule the day, if they want to watch cartoons – we watch them, if they want to play a board game – we play a game, if they want to run outside – we run outside. I haven’t ever put together a routine and now this year my five year old is heading to school where he will have a routine.

I find myself worrying, did I set him up for a difficult time at school because he has had no routine? My daughter is almost 9 and up until five years ago she always had a normal routine and she went to school just fine. Although I can’t compare any of my children because they are all so different.

I am going to attempt to work on a routine this Fall when the two older kids get to school for full days. I am hoping that Baby K will start napping so maybe he is better about sleeping at night and easier to get along with come dinner time. I am also hoping him napping will give me time to nap or work mid day instead of being up all night trying to make money for bills.

Did you have a routine for your kids?

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