Tuesday, May 18, 2010


I just wanted to give a little update about our contributions.

Since starting contributions it's been on and off. I expected too much from the kids. I expected perfection from the get go. It was pointed out to me that kids are afraid to do things right or 100% in the beginning. That is because if they do it "right" or 100% from the get go then there is expectation from me as a parent that they will always do so. And they will get in trouble if they don't. Well, that makes a lot of sense.

I've tried out a bunch of different ways. I've reminded, badgered, nagged and fussed. Well, those ways didn't work. I've set up my expectations of what should be done and then gotten crabby when it was done to my expectations. Duh, I keep setting myself up.

This time around it's been a bit different. I went to the dollar store and picked up some craft sticks. I wrote 6 different contributions on those and now we each pick a stick there are only 4 of us so there are a couple to spare. We can trade but only with what is out on the table. I have made it a point to cheer when I get something I like and grumble a little when I get something I don't like. I think this helps the kids know that even I have my preferences. But I still have to do things I don't like doing.

The first week Webby pulled laundry we talked later. He said he didn't see how he was going to do it because he is gone all day. I told him I wanted to the kids to see how he made it work for him. He put loads of laundry in in the morning before work (when the kids could see him do it.) He asked me to help switch laundry over. He took baskets up after he got home. He ironed! The next week Sweetie Heart picked laundry. She said she couldn't do it. I sat down with her and told her she didn't have to do it my way (2 loads of laundry twice a week) she could do it whatever way worked for her. We problem solved it together. She decided that she could put a load in before school 4 days a week. She asked me if I could switch it over and fold it and then she would deliver it when she got home. My laundry schedule has now changed. It doesn't really work for me to do 2 loads twice a week. But really I'm flexible. Now laundry works for everyone in the family!

I am doing my best to keep my expectations relatively low. I can't expect Sweetie Heart to clean the entire kitchen yet. She hasn't been doing it long enough to feel able to do that. This morning I asked her if it seem reasonable that she could set and clear the table for every meal she was home for. Yes! She did ask if I would help her. I told her that I would be in the kitchen cleaning up with her.

After breakfast came to an end she walked away. We were about leave for school when I noticed she hadn't done it. I reminded her about her contribution. She said she didn't have time. I told her she had plenty of time. One of the problems we have is with the kids clearing their places. Last week Webby and I decided that we would take care of it for them and the next time they pulled kitchen we could allow natural consequences to occur. Today Sweet Girl left her breakfast dishes on the table. Sweetie Heart said she "didn't have to" clear her place. I reminded her that she agreed to clear the table and that included her sister's place. I also pointed out that I had been clearing her place the week before. Probably shouldn't have done that. I had, "That sounds like a problem for you. Go put it on the problem solving board" all ready. But she didn't complain. She didn't even grump about it. She just did it! I was shocked!

Sweet Girl has been a trooper through all of her contributions. She doesn't usually remember, but I either remind her or use, "Yes, as soon as..." and that seems to be working pretty well. I am working right next to her, taking the time to train. I have noticed that once I start sometimes she slows down and just watches me. That makes me crazy. Kind of like the Tom Sawyer thing. So I stop and let her know that when she is ready to work too I will come back. She was on floors last week. She did one upstairs and one downstairs everyday!!

Kids are so smart! They catch on so quickly. It's hard to train but worth all of the energy and patience (or lack there of) to do it. It makes me really excited for when Squeak starts to walk. Because you know what Vicki says, "If they can walk they can work!"

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