Thursday, February 14, 2013

Time Management -Part One, the Chore Chart

I've been playing around lately with different ideas for time management. It took me until I was very nearly 30 years old to be any good at managing my own time, much less the time of five children ages 9 months to 9 years. I'll be honest. In the past I have been pretty hit-or-miss with charts. I'm not always good at remembering to update them, but I decided to give it a try, now that I have some children old enough to keep me honest. So, as I always do when I need ideas, I combed Pinterest and Google until I found a few systems I could meld together to make something workable for us. This is our Communication Station, with the chore/reward chart below and note boards above.

I found these chore cards on the Confessions of a Homeschooler blog. Her chore system, by the way, is pretty awesome, but I wanted to work in some stuff that we had been doing for a long time (dividing the house into zones and a few other things) and I didn't think I was going to find a pocket chart that would meet my needs. Instead I decided to use these book rings, dividing tasks (chores, school work, self care and prayer time) into Morning Activities and Afternoon/Evening Activities. Each kid is assigned a colour. These are James' chore cards. I like to start toddlers and early preschoolers out with self-care chores, moving, as they get older, into care-of-my-own-stuff chores, then care-of-family-stuff chores and finally, care-of-others chores. James has to get dressed, brush his teeth, make his bed and read a book with mom in the morning. In the afternoon he does a school activity and helps to set and clear the table. The girls' schedule is more variable, but it always begins with self-care, bed making, Zone chores (they trade kitchen/dining room and living room/family room weekly), followed by school work of some sort. They wear the book ring on a string around their neck to prevent them from getting lost.

Daily, drama-free completion of tasks on the list earn them a ticket. Tickets can be cashed in at our once a week Movie Night. Admittance is 3 tickets, snacks are 1 ticket and drinks other than water are another. Movie Night is a much anticipated event.

Best Bee-havior awards (it is killing me to write that without a u, I just want you to know that), are awarded by a parent (or grandparent) when we feel they have gone above and beyond the call of duty. These are redeemable for bigger rewards, like money or a treat.

These are the bad-boys of the chore chart. My go-to disciplinary action is usually chores, but I am awful at coming up with chores for them to do on the spot that will actually be of use to me. Enter the IOU. This baby goes on the ring of older children who are in need of a disciplinary action. They entitle me to one chore of my choosing, performed when I actually need it done. This, I will tell you, is how I keep up with my laundry.

Overall, the system works pretty well. The kids like using it, so it actually gets used, and I am comfortable with this reward system as not being overly bribe-y, if that is a word, which it probably isn't.

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