Parents on this Board: I'm Turning Over A New Leaf!!

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by TeacherShelly, Mar 22, 2009.

  1. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    Mar 22, 2009

    I'm looking for some support from those on AtoZ who are also parents. I have 6 1/2 year old daughters. Since they were born, I've been advised by my friends to lower my standards of keeping the house clean. I did. I mean they are waaaaaay lower now. But, the time has come that the girls can and should help keep the place up. I've been torn, though, because when I'm busy my patience dips and I am likely to just grab their stuff up off the floor and put it away. What I should do is call them down to do it themselves. I should do that so I don't get so mad! Here's what I mean: I ask them to keep their laundry in the hampers OR in the drawer. I see their clothes on the floor and don't know if it is a discard from getting dressed or dirty. So I put it in the hamper AND get angry that I have to wash things that might not be dirty because they aren't putting their clothes away. Two or three of these incidents (with other messes, too, not just clothing) and I snap! "Hey!!!! This place is a pig sty!!!!" kind of tantrum.

    One of my girls asked me, "Why do you care so much about living in a tidy house anyway?" I didn't say anything. I don't want to have to defend such a simple life goal!

    So my new leaf: the girls do their part to keep the place clean without any complaining or questioning me about it. Fair?
     
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  3. McKennaL

    McKennaL Groupie

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    Mar 22, 2009

    Absolutely!

    But i see your issue... and it's mine to. I let it go , let it go, then SNAP! Or I let it go when I have time, but with the stress of wanting to get things done, i SNAP and do it myself then am angry.

    I think that you have to stay on them EVERYDAY... at a specific time... to do chores that are appropriate, and can be DONE in that time. And NOT at times that are a TOTAL rush (ex: a chore right before you all have to leave for school could get missed EASILY if you/they are rushed. But being up early enough- and say, Making your bed BEFORE breakfast...gives you a little time to make sure it's done BEFORE panic/anger time.

    Clean up the clothes on your floor at the END of the night might push into bed time...but getting into pj's after dinner- before tv/homework/whatever...gives you time to have them GET to DO it themselves... and the reward IS tv/a video/extra reading time before bed.

    A sticker chart works WONDERS.. with a reward that is being worked towards...but remember ONLY a sticker for a 100% job WITHOUT having to nag them to do it!

    And though it IS easier and FASTER (MY hang-up) to do it yourself...make your montra be "No good could come from ME doing it FOR them."

    Society will INSIST they be responsible citizens... doing things FOR them... is ACTUALLY a diservice to them. (I have to remind myself of that ALL the time.) As I heard a child psychologist once say, "YOU might accept/excuse their bad behavior/irresponsibility- but society sure won't!!"
     
  4. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

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    Mar 22, 2009

    It's so hard. I would insist they clean up after themselves and then my husband would come behind me and help them do the work.

    Frustrating!

    Anyhow, they will grow up and become responsible. I was shocked when my daughter called after she'd been married for a while and she wanted to know how to clean the baseboards!!! I said, "WHAT, YOU KNOW WHAT A BASEBOARD IS????? My husband always had her back!

    It eventually clicks in if you're persistent enough. Don't let it interfere with your family's happiness.
     
  5. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    Mar 22, 2009

    McKennaL & HootOwl, Thank you. I knew it wasn't just me. When people say it's hard work to be a parent, they must mean that teaching your kids to do the right thing is a lonnng and tiresome process. Boy would it be easier to just do things for them.

    Hoot, that is so interesting about your daughter. She figured it out despite having things done for her. Having your husband not support you must have been so frustrating. But, you are happy and so is your daughter, so! That's why they have two parents, right?

    We're on spring break this coming week. I think I'll have specific things we can do WHEN a room is cleaned up. "When your room has a clean floor, we can go to the park." "When our family room is tidied up, we can go to the beach." etc. And maybe have one day off completely? Yeah!
     
  6. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    Mar 22, 2009

    One more thing, what do people think of the idea of cleaning up after yourself As You Go? I always do the cooking dishes while I'm cooking because I cannot bear a big pile of pots and pans, bowls and dishes after we eat. I also like to FINISH the laundry right then, rather than letting it sit around until no one knows if it's just wrinkled or actually dirty. Husband would wear clothes straight from the dryer all week if I didn't harp on it so much.

    I think this is a key to tidyness! I want my kids to know how to do it, too.
     
  7. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    Mar 23, 2009

    Somebody, snap me out of it. First day of spring break and I'm going full blast cleaning. I've got the bedroom curtains, bedspread, and sheets in the washer; the blinds are drying in the tub; and I'm decluttering/trashing big time. But guess where the girls are? In the family room watching TV! I'm so lazy!!!! I need a new outlook. No longer "nagging" them to help out, but ... what?

    I hope some words of wisdom are comin' my way ...
     
  8. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Mar 23, 2009

    Not only fair - giving kids chores is the #1 way to give them a true sense of "I belong to this family. I am part of this family and we all help each other out."

    My daughter was doing simple chores by the time she was 3. They love to help! At 6 years old they should be able to :

    set/clear table
    load dishwasher
    make bed
    wash bedding
    clean own bathroom
    fold towels, socks and put away
    help make a salad for dinner!


    Of course you have to take the time to train them and praise them and not insist on perfection. I used to hide coins in the big basket of towels. That made it fun for my daughter.
     
  9. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    Mar 23, 2009

    bonneb, I totally agree. Interestingly, they LOVED to help at 3 also, but got more resistant lately. Some things they just love to do, and some TIMES they love to help with anything. It's when it becomes boring that they complain. When I was a stay-home mom, we had fun (they would scoot around on the kitchen floor on cloth - clean cloth - diapers with squirt bottles of water. The floor got clean(er) and they loved it. My sense of fun is taking a vacation, though, now that I'm working.

    I think maybe the answer is in there - the fun part. I like the coin idea. For some reason, coins are always laying around the floor in my house and they get to keep whatever they pick up.

    Thanks for the list of chores, too, it is helpful to see things listed out.
     
  10. becky

    becky Enthusiast

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    Mar 23, 2009

    Both my kids know that if they leave something lay after I've told them to put it away, I'll throw it away! My husband is one of those that will go around and straighten just so it's done. He'll straighten up things I have out, like a coffee cup!
     
  11. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    Mar 23, 2009

    :lol: Becky! Strangely I never knew you had two kids. Just Jeannie...

    I had a problem with my daughters' bath toys. I asked and explained they need to put the toys to dry in the wire rack corner-thingy because if they leave them laying on the tubside, the water collects there and they turn ORANGE with mildew. Gross. After several failures, I told them they had to do it or I would throw them away. Their whole bathroom trash is now full of toys. They don't try to take them back out, either.

    You gals (guys) should see my house right now. My bedroom looks beautiful! I washed the drapes and everything. HOWEVER, the entry hall is littered with playing school stuff, and the kids' room is messier than ever. WHY? Because I tuned them out all day.

    Do you think it could be because I put so much energy and creativity into my teaching job? Now I'm burnt out on kid stuff? I teach 2nd/3rd and my girls are in 1st.
     
  12. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Mar 23, 2009

    Here is another idea:

    Make a list of jobs and have them choose what they will do. Maybe give them one job a day, besides keeping their room cleaned up.

    I found the most effective thing was to have the kids help me when I was working. Then about Wednesday, I would say, "Remember you are welcome to enjoy your weekend once your room and bathroom are cleaned." But then you have to stick to it.

    Just don't be a perfectionist. So they don't load the dishwasher they way you do - do it together and train them by example. But a 6 year old is most definitely past ready to be handling chores.

    There was a time when I worked all week, did the daily cleaning and dinner, etc, paid the bills, and then took extra cleaning jobs on the weekend for grocery money. My kiddos would watch TV or do some other fun stuff while I was gone. I finally woke up and thought "Hey! I am working my day off. So are you!" And so I did what my mother used to do - left a list of what needed to be done by the time I got home.

    But the more you can involve them in the choices the better. I have to say that by the time she was 10 I think my oldest daughter could have run the household herself if she had to. She knew how to cook simple things, how to shop, how to do her own laundry and towels, how to vacuum, do dishes, etc.
     
  13. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Mar 23, 2009

    OH - not to monopolize, but from the youngest age I never allowed the word "bored" in our home! I would say, "You are bored??? I am not bored at all. In fact I have so many great ideas of things to do I will share them with you. Go in the kitchen and unload the dishwasher. Set the timer for 5 minutes and see if you can beat it! Then go downstairs and wash the bathroom sink and toilet. When you are done with that we will have a cup of tea and a cookie. Then you can fold the towels while I vacuum. If you are bored after that I have many more great ideas!" They quickly learned NOT to be bored.

    Sheesh. It is the same in my classroom. No being bored allowed when I am so busy! :)
     
  14. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    Mar 23, 2009

    Bonneb, thanks! I made a chore chart for my girls. It even has jobs for them to do (with one of us adults) every night after dinner. I just need to follow through. Send me some good Just-Do-It vibes?
     
  15. nayelismom

    nayelismom Rookie

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    Mar 23, 2009

    Hey, when I was a kid, my mom was a clean freak. And being the smart child I was, I just knew that if I left it long enough...that clean freak mother of mine...would do it herself and I WAS OFF THE HOOK!! WOO HOO! Uhh, they are more than capable of doing those things themselves. Connect cleaning with something else such as T.V. privelage...computer privelage...outside time. For example, make sure you set a schedule for them. Homework at a certain time, T.V. time (enough for their favorite show), computer time , outside time...BUT those are contingent on whether or not their chores are done. You can have list of daily chores (clean room, clothes in hamper, setting/clearing table) and weekly chores ( help with laundry, clean their bathroom etc.) Now, their daily chores need to be done in between homework and other activities. If they take a long time doing their chores because they let their room get too messy or they didn't make their bed in the morning which would make it easier AND as a consequence miss their favorite show...you say, "Jane, I'm so sorry you missed Hannah Montana today. I'm sure that tomorrow you'll get your room cleaned much faster by keeping it neat and you'll be able to watch the show." Be consistent and I'm sure they'll catch on.

    Also, make it fun. For example, have a "chore day" (like Saturday) where you can have other chores that they can help you with such as "rake leaves", "organize garage", etc... You put all of these chores in a "Chore Jar" and everyone in the family (including Mom & Dad) picks a chore and does that. But mix it up and add fun chores such as "Eat Ice Cream" or "Watch your favorite movie". If they pick that one, then they lucked out!!!:thumb: This makes it a family affair and it helps you too!!

    You do have to put a lot of time and effort into this as well as collaboration from your spouse. But it'll work.

    I tell my daughter (she's 4) that there's this really really nice toy monster that comes around at night and picks up her toys that are on the floor. And he is just soooooooo nice that he puts him in the box in the garage and takes those toys to less fortunate children that will take REALLY good care of them. I usually box up those toys! But it rarely happens anymore. Hmmm... wonder why:whistle:
     
  16. lemonhead

    lemonhead Aficionado

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    Mar 23, 2009

    I am a firm believer that this happens in my house too because I did it to my own mom. I bet she said something like "I hope when you have your own family your kids throw clean things in the laundry too!" Actually I bet she said it a few times based on how many clean clothes I wash.;)
     
  17. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Mar 23, 2009

    "say it once, turn your back, walk away". This is the mantra I live by and it works (for the most part....there's a small fighting issue with the major weekend cleaning, but I'm working on that).

    Here's how it works. Lets say I walk by the kitty litter box in the morning and it's still dirty (oldest son's job). I simply say "Nameof child, Cats". I go about doing what I need to do, and about two minutes before I leave, I check it. If it's done, great, if it's not done, then I do it. Fast foward to later that afternoon. Dear sweet oldest son wants me to take him to the park. My answer is no. If he asks, I say, I'm sorry, I didn't get done what I needed to because I was too busy doing YOUR chores, so I don't have the time to take you to the park.

    Now, this could work a little differently. Lets say middle son wants to go to the park that day as well. When I say "Nameofoldestson, Cats", and middle son realizes that oldest son isn't going to do it, middle son does it instead. I notice this, then make oldest son pay middle son a pre-determined amount of money for doing his chores. After all, if I don't want to do my "chores", I must pay a housekeeper to do them for me. (by the way, can you tell what wasn't done this morning?)

    For the most part, they all do what they're supposed to, when they're supposed to do it. When I first began this "system", it was rough going for a few days. After that, they got the hang of it. The nicest thing about it is that the work gets done with no yelling or fussing from me.

    Oh, another trick that's worked wonders for me.....Lets say that you sent the girls into clean their rooms. Now, they did an okay job, but there's toys hanging out of the toy bin and the top of the dresser is still cluttered. Find SOMETHING they did right. Say, "Susie, I really like how you have all your dolls together in one place. It looks so nice when everything's organized". COMPLETELY ignore the fact that the dolls' hair is still hanging out of the dawer. The next time they clean their rooms, I bet that not only are the toys all organized, but they've paid attention to the smaller details as well.
     
  18. lemonhead

    lemonhead Aficionado

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    Mar 23, 2009

    Sounds good MM. Does the younger one ever yell at the older one before he ends up doing the "cat" chore for him? That would happen in my house.
     
  19. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Oh, no...ds2 is money hungry. Ds1 knows that if he doesn't get right on whatever it is he's supposed to be doing that ds2 will jump in and do it for him and have to pay up. Because of this, ds1 is consistently broke and ds2 has more money in his savings account than I do.
     
  20. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Mar 23, 2009

    So many good ideaas. I think we have to make a plan, then work the plan. And not expect perfection. And praise them. And every once in a while, declare a "no chores" day! A day to just go for a picnic or a swim, shopping, or to the movies. Leave the mess for that one day.Surprise!

    Kids are sooooo capable. And Dr. Dobson says that giving children chores is the #1 way to grow self esteem in them and give them a sense of belonging. Telling them they are beautiful and smart and wonderful, which they are, does not build self esteem. Self esteem comes from inside when they accomplish a task and gain the sense of belonging! Yeah!

    So you are doing something WONDERFUL for them, one of the best things you could do, by giving them chores.

    By the way, you can bet every one of their friends has chores they are expected to do at home. I asked my 1st graders one day what their chores are at home. Every single one of them had family responsibilities! And in the classroom, they are responsible for keeping things clean - to a degree. Each child has a daily job for a week, just to keep things running smoothly. We stress cleaning up their own areas. About once a week we spend 20 minutes really cleaning, with Clorox wipes and a broom and everything - they almost fight to get chosen for the chores!
     
  21. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    Mar 23, 2009

    :hugs: Ahh, I'm feeling the love on this thread!

    Mmswm, I read "Siblings without Rivalry" and "How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk," and they also recommended saying, "Jane. Coat." when Jane leaves her coat on the floor. THen walk away. However, the doing and then charging for their chore is new to me. I'll have to give that some thought. Very interesting. I don't want to end up being a paid maid, given that DD1 is pretty unimpressed with money. DD2 on the other hand...

    Lemon, I laughed SO hard about your mom hoping your kids someday left clean clothes on the floor. Seriously. You made me laugh and I needed that!

    I really like the idea of No Chores Day and "eat a bowl of ice cream" as one of the chores. Cute. I like it.

    Bonneb, I agree about the sense of belonging and esteem by participating and having chores. I'm re-implementing the chore chart tomorrow.
     
  22. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Shelly, most of what I do is what my mom did while I was growing up. My mom is way up there on the list of the best parenting examples. I think "how to talk...." is old enough that she may have gotten some things from there. I stole the charging for chores idea from a high school friend's father. He used to do that. Heck, more than once I earned movie money by doing my friend's brother's chores when he refused to do them.

    My kids are all interested in money because any extras they want they have to pay for themselves. They don't get an allowance, but they do get ample opportunity to make money by doing extra jobs. I have a list of extra chores and the amount they can earn by doing them. For example, scrubbing out the kitchen trash can is worth $5, pulling weeds along the fence line is worth $10, vacuuming out the pool is worth $20, washing windows is $3/window, cleaning blinds is $7/set. If they want new toys or "that" shirt (the one I won't buy since they already have a ton of clothes), they have to buy it out of their own money. I tell them that it's my job to provide them with food and clothing and an education. There's no law that says the clothing has to be designer, that the food has to be gourmet, or that they have to have a housefull of the latest toys and video games. If they want it, they can earn it. It's amazing how fast kids get interested in money that way. It also does a number of other wonderful things. It reduces the "gimmies", since when they say "I want ______", I reply, "did you bring your money?", and if they have it great, and if not, then, well, they'll just have to remember the next time. It also teaching them the value of money, since they have to work pretty hard to earn enough to buy the toys and games they want. They take care of their things better when they had to pay for them. They also learn a lot about saving and budgeting. They can't buy soda and gum all the time if they're trying to save for those cool night vision goggles or the newest video game. I take this one step further, and we keep up checking accounts (joint, I'm primary, their names on the cards). They deposit their money, keep up with their accounts on-line, and keep track of what they're spending. So, in one shot, we learn financial literacy, the value of a dollar, provide an incentive for taking care of their things, and give me leverage when they step out of line. All and all, not a bad deal if you ask me.
     
  23. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Mar 24, 2009

    Great! And when you are getting the "you are a mean mean mom and I don't like you" vibes, just smile and tell yourself "I am so loving I give my kids chores!"
     

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