In October the big change was that the girls' room was finally clean and in shape for it to be reasonable for them to maintain it on their own. I have wanted to get that room in this kind of condition for years. Yes, years. I remember thoroughly cleaning it before I was pregnant with Marian so it really went about two years between total organizings. Too much. So much junk. I'll let you in on a secret. The big rubbermaid that I used to sort out stuff that needed to be put away while I cleaned has still not been sorted. I'll do it sometime, I'm sure, but in the meantime, the children are under strict orders not to touch that box.
|Box full of junk
So how did they do?
Really well. I am surprised at how well they have kept the room. I thought for sure that items would crawl under the bed and clothes would be dumped in the closet, but it hasn't really happened. I am very pleased. The room is still clean. There are some areas that aren't quite as neat as I would like, but I need to keep my expectations within reason. Earlier this week they began an extended game of doll playing with doll strewn all over the room, each with her own "bed." I told them I would tolerate the dolls as long as they were actively playing the game. As soon as they tire of it, I expect the dolls to all go back to their bin. We shall see what happens.
We do have a couple of general problems with our current version of the system. First I still haven't gotten pictures printed out to help Olivia with visual cues to remember her jobs. This is totally my fault. I've even taken the pictures, but haven't submitted them to a printer. This lack of list means that she asks almost every night, "What are my jobs again?" and I have to answer her. She will probably learn to read before I get this thing printed and then it will be a moot point. Or I could get my act in gear. Maybe.
The second issue is that we still have to remind them to do their jobs every night. This isn't such a big deal, but it would be nice if they would automatically do these things instead of us declaring it time to do their jobs. But for now we remind them to get started and then walk down the list with them every night.
The third issue is related to the second. Since they are waiting for us (read me) to tell them to do their jobs, it usually doesn't happen until after supper and approaching bedtime. How this plays out is that they run around frantically doing jobs until right before bedtime instead winding down which means I am supervising chores instead of doing more leisurely activities like reading to them or something like that. The other problem with this schedule is that my ability to inspect all the jobs and pull sticks if necessary bumps up against bedtime. Several times I have put them to bed and then found socks in the living room. My choice is either to let it go or go back in their room and pull the stick. Neither is very satisfying.
One thing that has surprised me is how much they value those sticks. Losing a stick is horrible to them. Crying, screaming, and begging are the standard response. I wish it wasn't such a tragedy for them, but I am glad they are responding to the incentive.
This month I added two small jobs. The first job is cat related. Each girl has to either feed the cat or scoop the cat box. They alternate weeks so they both have one cat job a week, but not the same cat job every week. They were doing this before, but I thought it would be a good idea to formally include it in the stick jobs. The other new job is making sure their bathroom is in good shape. Basically all this job requires is to hang their towels and washcloths on the appropriate hook after use and make sure there are no globs of toothpaste left in the sink. Nothing that should take more that 30 seconds a day, but I was tired of finding wadded, wet washcloths left in the shower and gross toothpaste in the sink. My thought is that it is better slowly and incrementally increase their responsibilities so over time, they will really be pulling weight but perhaps won't notice as much as if it happened all at once.
For November the jobs are:
Lunch boxes put away
Shoes and socks where they belong
Cat food/water or Scoop cat box
Get ready for bed when told without nagging
Overall I am very pleased with how they have done and how certain household issues have basically been eliminated. I do wonder how much I can squeeze out of a quarter a day before they start to balk. Stay tuned.