I have some OCD tendencies. I’ll admit it. I like things a certain way and it drives me mad when they aren’t that way. In fact I tend to hit a bit of a depression when I am overwhelmed by a messy and disorganized house, which was often the case when I would come home from work. My husband is the complete opposite of me. He’s not a slob but he definitely can sit on the couch without issue while the house is in disarray. Two of my children are like him in this way, the girl and the older twin (who is pretty much a clone of his father anyways), but my other twin is like me and likes to keep things organized. Maybe a little too much like me actually. When I had kids I had to work hard mentally to put aside my hang up because, well kids are messy and organization in chaos is hard to accomplish. Now that my kids are older and more capable I find my anxieties over messiness creeping back in. So instead of being the martyr I decided that I would try again to implement some responsibility among the kids.
Chore charts are no stranger to me and the kids but have had little success in the past. We get off course easily, much like my exercise regime. One trip away from home and the schedule goes out the window. And the checking off tasks thing hasn’t always worked either. But I am determine! So this time I sat down and divided the chores amongst the kids based on what they could realistically do. Some tasks, like making their beds and tidying their rooms, were universal, while others, like helping to cook a meal, are more age based. Then I divided tasks into daily and weekly chores. Lastly I designated chores that could earn them extra money if they performed them. I set a weekly rate for each based on chores and every day on our wipe board I give a check mark for those that complete their tasks, then a running total of the allowance on the side. At $20 I pay them out with cash. If they ask for something to be bought for them it comes out of their allowance. With some exceptions of course. It’s been two weeks now and I have to say that even with a camping trip thrown into the mix, the kids have done a good job of sticking with it. I still have to remind them of course but at least I have compliance. Once a week I do a thorough cleaning and give each kid one of the weekly tasks to complete during this process as well as dusting and sweeping their rooms. It really does go faster this way.
It really is my hope that I am teaching my kids about a few things by doing this. Firstly that it is their home too and they need to take responsibility and pride for it. Second that you have to earn things in life, not always have them handed to you and that labour equals pay. And lastly I hope I am giving them the skills they will someday need when they are off on their own. Now if I can just keep this ball rolling at times when I’m not around to push it!