Thursday, January 15, 2009

January: Week 2, Creating schedules and Routines

Technically, I've started Week 3 but I haven't read the chapter yet!

I had a couple of tasks left to do before I moved on...identifying time traps in our home and creating a way to engage the children in helping me.

Time Traps

I think I've successfully narrowed down my list of time traps, and it's one item: SURFING THE INTERNET! A key one is a little site called Facebook. Yes, it's fun to find old friends and acquaintances, but on the other hand, do I really need to know what everyone is doing every single second of the day? (Actually, that's not possible because my company very wisely blocks Facebook on our networks...) I do enjoy seeing photos people post...but it is definitely a time waster. It's pretty likely that if I feel that I've wasted an evening, I've been on the computer.

Our television is downstairs in our family room, so I'm not typically drawn to that (out of sight, out of mind)...if it were nearer to hand, I might be on Rock Band 2 all evening! I don't consider that to be a big time waster for me, because when I am playing Rock Band, I'm usually hanging out with Chris and we're doing it together.

Engaging the Kiddos

To illustrate the ineffectiveness of getting my children regularly involved in the cleaning of our house, I will tell you an anecdote from this week. My mother-in-law left last night after visiting for a month. Chris was bereft at the thought of her leaving. Kieran's response? "Does this mean we can trash the family room now???" Yes, I kid you not.

I've created some chore and behavior charts for Chris and Kieran--I found some templates on the web that attach points to each task. I think this will be a more successful approach with my kids, because they will be able to earn points to cash in for special treats or money.

I know that some people feel you shouldn't compensate kids for chores (or behaviors for that matter), but I say HOGWASH to that! It's all a part of learning about earning a living. We really don't expect our children to do a lot of chores (probably because we're both oldest children and think we can do things best), but we need to expect more.

I have "keep room clean" on there...however, I wouldn't describe their rooms as clean to start with, so they won't be able to earn points until we have a good base from which to start!

I am also planning to develop a reward chart to go with the point system. We've implemented these types of programs in the past, but with tickets.

About 6 months ago, my dear husband began putting the timer on for 10 minutes after dinner, and everyone in the family is supposed to clean until the timer goes off. What usually happens is that Kieran and Nick wander around, not sure what to do unless specifically instructed, and Chris, Mike, and I do most of the picking up...but Chris also often watches the timer and announces how much time is left (which is very annoying!). The idea is that everyone gets ice cream or dessert on Saturday night if they help. We haven't been entirely consistent in implementing this technique, and in the past month, since my mother-in-law has been visiting, the whole idea has completely lost its teeth...since she offers them sweet things every day!!!


  1. Hi Marie,

    You are really on fire with your organing and it's wonderful to see.

    I just wanted to toss in an opinion about chores. I think everyone in the home needs to contribute energy and time for maintenance. This time and energy is an expression of thanks to everyone else with whom you share the space. It's a way really of thanking the Universe for our home. 'Above and beyond' maintenance are actions/chores that can earn rewards.

    Sit with that and see how it feels for you.

    Many, many blessings on this great journey...may 2009 be remembered as the year your family got organized.

    I'm honored to have my book serve this great adventure.

    Regina Leeds

  2. That makes sense, Regina, and is essentially the way we have been operating. Our kids already get a weekly allowance and are responsible for doing chores around the house. However, I have found that to really motivate them, rewards help. Otherwise, we find we have to nag them to do the work. I remember this from my childhood, seems like my parents were forever coming up with different chore activities to get us to do our part. I wish I could get my kids to "thank the universe for our home" without motivating them somehow, but they just do not buy into that idea! Maybe someday they will...for now we have to take baby steps to get them more motivated.

  3. I'm glad I'm not the only one wasting half a day on the Internet and Facebook. I can't stop checking status updates! Where did you find the chores template? We also had the 10 minute timer thing for the living room but always forgot to do it. I'm thinking we need a huge Supernanny schedule hanging up somewhere.

  4. Here is the web site where I found the chore charts:

    May we all be successful in engaging our children!