Sunday, January 20, 2013

It's not you, it's me

I would like to start off by stating, for the record, that I am fully aware that I am the type of person who learns best from her mistakes, from doing something and then seeing if it works and if not, reflecting and tweaking from there. I see this whole process play out in my day job, other pursuits, and my parenting.

I am a big advocate for kids having chores, i.e., responsibility. I think we've always had Dylan help with chores but I wanted to make a more organized system for him. Being a list-maker, I sought out to create a carefully-thought-out and planned but what ended up being a not-quite-effective system for him to do so. I even have the laminated chore chart to prove it:

The system seemed okay, with my original intent to teach self-monitoring (re: checking off what he had done) and delayed gratification (re: receiving reinforcement a.k.a. allowance at the end of the week). However, we everyone else realized quickly that this was not going to work. It took me awhile to come to this conclusion, being the stubborn "LET'S JUST KEEP TRYING" person I am, and a little bit of ego over the whole "LOOK HOW CAREFULLY PLANNED OUT THIS SYSTEM WAS!" Wow there's a lot of self-disclosure and introspection going on in this discussion. Anyway,  the process of checking off each day's worth of chores and waiting the entire week for money was not teaching my intended lessons, and leaving everyone frustrated when I was nagging reminding Dylan to do chores, and checking them off, and then he would forget and end the week with an empty chore chart and of course be frustrated that he didn't earn his allowance DESPITE DOING HIS CHORES. Which is SO not the intended lesson here.

I wanted to do something much simpler, that would actually motivate Dylan to do chores and help out without me nagging reminding him, and would not require a complicated system of checking-off and completing 3 chores from the above column while also completing everyday chores (as I'm typing this out, I'm hearing myself and how complicated I made it.. geeze).

 We talked to Dylan and decided on having him complete his expected chores everyday, without any type of allowance or reward, because they were expected as part of our family and helping out with household chores. These 'everyday chores' are pretty straightforward- making his bed and feeding the cats. He must do them before going out to play with friends, and if not, he will lose 30 minutes of his weekend video-game time (he has a timer and allotted time for videogames on weekends... a system which has actually worked very well for us).

Additionally, I post tasks and chores around the house that he can complete, along with the money he will earn for completing, on post-its on the fridge. These have included, cleaning his room, vacuuming the rug in the living room, dusting shelves, cleaning the bathroom mirrors or windows in the living room, and so on. Dylan can take a post-it with the chore, complete it, hand it to me and instantly receive his money. These come and go- for instance, the other day I had 'vacuum the rug' posted, which he chose not to do, and I decided to vacuum the whole apartment myself so I took that one down. There's no arguing, fighting, or nagging anymore, which I like. Dylan has chosen to do a few of the chores, and skipped others, but I suspect he will be more motivated once his holiday cash runs out.

Lesson learned: If it ain't broke, don't fix it. BUT IF IT IS FACT BROKE, by all means fix it. 

No comments:

Post a Comment