Saturday, April 28, 2012

Behavior and chores

For quite awhile we've been wrestling with the ideas of the kids doing chores, the concept of how/why to give them money and how to deal with repeat-behavior issues.  One thing I have discouragingly discovered about parenthood is that it has a tendency to expose all of your own personal inconsistencies.  Consistency is the key to getting kids to establish or change behaviors/habits but if Mom/Dad can't remember to remind the little munchkin to do A, B and C each day, it just doesn't happen.
So, I have decided to establish a couple of aids.  I have created a chore chart that is completely visual and child-specific.  At the end of each week, we will discuss how the week went.  We will then hand out a couple of quarters or something like that.  The money is less of a reward and more just to teach them about money.  To learn about it, they have to have some.
The other thing I'm going to create, just as soon as I make it to the store, are a couple of "good choices" jars.  Our older son needs to work on a couple of minor behavior issues (taking toys from his little brother and having accidents because he waits too long to go to the bathroom) and our younger son needs to stop screeching.  I can't tell you how much it drives me insane.  The jars are more to teach about consequences.  They will get to put marbles/bouncy balls/beans/fuzz-balls (I haven't decided which yet) into the jar and if they slip up, an object has to come back out of the jar.  When the jar is full, they will get to choose an ice cream cone, a trip to the dollar store, something like that. 
I have struggled with how to handle chores and money in particular, and also just the general concept of rewards.  I don't want my kids to feel like chores are only worth it if there's money involved.  I would prefer that they are taught that they are part of a family and we all have to contribute to get the jobs done.  If we all work together, then we all benefit.  I'd rather pay for the difficult jobs like landscaping stuff or detailing a car when they get older (as I was using the coin-op vacuum at the car wash today I was wishing I had someone to detail my car).  As for behavior, I just prefer not to bribe for obedience - it creates a blackmail-like situation with the child in power.  I have decided, though, that I am willing to do a little bit of this for the object lessons associated with it.  The chore chart, in particular, also seems like a good way to encourage my older son to increase his independence a bit and to maybe perk my younger son's interest in using the potty.
We shall see how this all goes...
Here are the chore charts I made.  I just searched the web for appropriate images.  I thought about photographing the kids doing these various activities, but I got lazy in the end.  Click on the charts to see them larger.

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