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Even though we homeschool and may be home for large chunks of a given day, life can be chaotic. I need the boys to be fully on board with all aspects of our family life. This includes not only getting their school work done in a timely fashion for me, but also contributing towards the family through chores.
Did I just hear a gasp?
Okay, I think that was from my own children who do not like to engage in activities like making their bed or picking up the game they just abandoned spread across the floor as those are ‘boring’ and a ‘waste of their time.’
Seriously. It can be a problem in my house.
Maybe boys are genetically predisposed to not see the debris left in their wake. However, this mama and her husband both see it and it can drive us a little batty at times. Sure, I can take time to pick thing up as I see them. But, this busy mama can NOT do it all.
So, I’m on a quest to tackle the job of raising boys that can be helpful at home as well as being educated, contributing members of society. And that means I pulled out my old standby of a checklist so they know what is expected.
I didn’t want to overwhelm them, so a smaller list with some generic entries (e.g. perform a chore assigned by mom or dad) was in order. All but one of my boys is learning or continuing to learn an instrument. And they all have ‘homework’, whether from an outside instructor or work that needs completing on their own. On the chart I have both those categories represented as well as a line for morning expectations (including the pesky make your bed chore which sometimes gets skipped by them.) Finally, at the bottom, I put a spot to get the day’s work inspected and signed off by a parent.
While some of the parenting experts might say to NOT reward a child for jobs they should be doing, I like the idea of surprising them with different rewards. It isn’t a daily thing or even on a fixed weekly schedule. Rather, I made up tickets with specific rewards that a child has been gifted because they’ve been doing their expected work. I view the rewards as a way to say “good job” without doing it so often that they grow to expect kudos for every little thing they do.
One of the things that I know my boys LOVE to have for a reward is food. It just has to be something out of the ordinary for them whether it becomes part of a meal or a great afternoon snack.
During a recent shopping trip to our local Walmart, I noticed the Hershey’s Ready to Eat Pudding in the refrigerated section of the store near the yogurts. This creamy, chocolate goodness packaged in a little cup was just screaming super tasty dessert option to me. Besides, it is a more wholesome option than other things the kids sometimes request.
I couldn’t decide between the classic chocolate or the S’mores flavor, so I bought some of both kinds to have on hand for my surprise rewards. (Yes, this mama is a serious chocolate lover, too!) Plus, with the $0.55 off coupon in the September/October issue of ALL YOU Magazine to bring the cost down further, it was a great option for stocking up those surprise food based rewards.
As an extra layer to showing them how much their parents love them, I spent a little time making up tags with inspiring or motivational sayings to put onto the pudding cups.
A few of them are parts of songs that we would sing to them as wee little lads bouncing on our knees. After clipping them apart, a bit of tape is all it takes to label the pudding cups.
I decided to kick off our new chore chart routine with parental inspection by pulling out the Hershey’s Ready to Eat Pudding for a snack while chatting about expectations with me.
My younger boys are more excited about these new expectations than the older boys. However, they ALL loved spending time with me and eating some of the smooth, creamy, chocolaty goodness Hershey’s Ready to Eat Pudding provides.
Be sure to check out more delicious topping ideas and fun crafts at Kraft.com. I’d love to hear your favorite!
How to you approach the subject of chores and helping the family ‘go’ with your kids?
What are some ways you reward the kids for a job well done?
Grab the FREE mini ebook for my motivational quotes, chore chart and reward coupons. I even have some of the pages with blank spots for you to write in your own ideas!