Posts Tagged ‘dylan’
Our revised allowance system has been going for about six weeks or so. It’s definitely better than it ever was before, but it’s also been much harder than I expected. I think I’ve discovered the major flaw in our system:
Kind of depressing, really. I get frustrated or lazy or busy or decide I don’t want to do chores because it’s a lot of work to keep on top of things. I’m simply awful at monitoring the “family contributions.” In fact, after two or three weeks, the contribution of “Be nice and be kind” was completely dropped. I don’t even pretend about that one anymore. Nate was right.
Did you hear me, Nate? I said, “You were right!” And I did it publicly!
So the family contribution portion of our allowance system is still in flux. Last week I tried “Share love” in an effort to encourage the kids to serve others. Since I never managed to follow-up, it was an utter failure. But, I’m going to try again this week. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…
Charting chores everyday has been problematic, mostly because I hate tracking on charts. (Yes, it is all about me–remember, I’m the problem.) For instance, the chore week starts on Saturdays, and I often do not have the chart printed off until Monday afternoon or so. Not exactly effective. This is also part of why I’m super bad at tracking the family contributions.
However, I’ve realized that homework time is the best time to work through all the charting we have to do: homework, reading, chores. This is kind of hard for me, because I like to get my housework out of the way in the morning. I like to get all the blah stuff done, so I have the whole day to do the yay stuff. But, I’m letting that go a little bit. Dylan and Anya really do need to learn about chores, and it just isn’t happening in the morning.
My kids have not been excited to add 20 minutes to their after school responsibilities. They are used to zipping through homework as fast as humanly possible and then dashing off to play with friends. It’s been kind of challenging to slow them down. Oddly, the way to slow them down has been to add yet another thing to the afternoon. We’ve started having afternoon snacks. We do a little homework, do a little chores, have a little snack, do a little reading, finish up any loose ends for chores or homework and then dash out the door to play. The snack in the middle breaks up the boring, hard stuff and makes the afternoon more fun.
Of course, I have to be with it enough to have some kind of snack in the house. Harder than you think.
Despite the challenges, I am starting to realize the advantages. For instance, I loathe taking my kids to the book fair to buy books that they never read more than once. But, Dylan was adamant that the world would end if he did not own Star Wars: The New Padawan. In the midst of this very dramatic conversation, it dawned on me: “This is precisely the kind of thing his allowance was intended for.” I think you could have seen the light bulb over my head. Our problem was promptly solved, because he had $3.99 to buy said book. Dylan actually read his new book at least once a day for the last week. The realization that allowance money buys all the stuff that they want, but I think is wasteful, has been liberating and adds greatly to our success. Also, we have less of that whining drama.
The final advantage to the system is that, despite my difficulties with follow-up, chores are being accomplished much more regularly, and the kids are starting to take the initiative do chores. That in itself is an amazing thing.
Here’s to finding my groove soon. I think it’s worth sticking this one out. How’s it working for you?
We just spent the evening at Grandma’s house putting together one of my favorite puzzles from my own childhood. My family had several of the 300-piece 2 by 3 foot sized Disney movie poster puzzles. We did the Jungle Book one on the kitchen table. It was fun to work together as a family on a project, visit with grandparents, hear about our great-grandparents, and share brownies when our work was done. It’s interesting to see how the two kids each participate in this kind of a project.
Anya is still too young for this big of a puzzle, so she helped me make brownies while everyone else started out. Once we got the brownies in the oven, Anya hovered around the table “helping” each of us in turn. She found pieces that seemed to match what we were working on. If we told her two pieces fit together, she would fiddle when them until she figured out how they fit. She lasted about 20 or 30 minutes this way, and then grandma brought out the crayons and markers and coloring books for her.
Dylan is much more persistent. He worked on the puzzle with us the entire time, but he definitely was getting bored at the end. The promise of a brownie kept him with it though. He was good at picking out all the pieces that went with Baloo and the bananas. He would stay with a piece, turning it and matching up colors until he found a place it fit. He understands the concepts of putting the edge pieces together first and using the picture on the box as a guide for the whole puzzle. And, using his dad’s iPhone, here’s his proud picture of our Sunday night project.
This is the sort of night that provides all kinds of educational benefits but no one even noticed. Lots of laughing, talking, and lovely brownies. A night well spent!
I’m nearly afraid to write this post. I don’t want to mess anything up or cheer too loud too soon. But, for the last two weeks Dylan has responsibly gotten out of bed at 7:00 a.m., gotten his own breakfast and eaten, taken a bath, gotten dressed and brushed his teeth. He presents himself to me at about 7:40, ready for school. Most mornings he has gotten to play for a few minutes, while I finish up a few things before taking him to school. At first, I wasn’t entirely certain the child cheerfully announcing, “I’m ready!” was actually mine.
Dylan has had the same morning routine and schedule for 3 1/2 years. Until two weeks ago, despite all kinds of scheduling aids getting him ready in the morning required a hefty dose of ” Have you brushed your teeth?” or “What do you need to do now?” Some mornings were abject failures of parental patience. I hate starting my day as a nag, but there were days…
Maybe seven is the magical age when everything starts clicking together. I’m holding my breath. It’s great to take a shower and not wonder if Dylan is going to be late because I bathed instead of chirping reminders at him every five minutes.
If you were curious, Anya is an entirely different story. Entirely different.
With the beginning of new school year and a perceptible increase in the chorus of “I want” that I get to listen to each day, I have begun reconsidering the allowance system in use at our house. The current one is, “We-Tried-Last-Year-But-They-Didn’t-Understand-So-We-All-Forgot-About-It-Because-It-Was-Easier.” Maybe it’s time to get back up on that horse. Also, the thought of a free iPhone, courtesy of out friends of at Capital One and Parent Bloggers, has got me thinking overtime!
My biggest challenge with allowances is what the kids should get paid for and what they should just do because they have the rare privilege of being part of our family. I looked over the Tessy and Tab Preschool Money Manger Kit that was reviewed recently at Parent Hacks. (I submitted a hack that they used in conjunction with the review, if you were curious). In any case, one thing I liked about their system was that, in order to have an opportunity to earn money, there were three things kids had to do as their “family contribution” each day. Particularly, I liked that one was “Be kind and behave.” I think that’s a completely fair expectation.
The problem is that my husband disagrees (strongly I might add) about connecting that expectation with an allowance. He even suggested that some days of the month (gasp!) I might be a bit grumpier than others and more prone to deciding the kids didn’t cut it that day. I think the word he used was “arbitrary.” Just possibly, there could come a day that they did all their “work,” and mom decides it doesn’t matter because there wasn’t enough “Be kind and behave.” Obviously, this would never happen to me. Obviously…
So there is a (teensy) possibility that I should consider his reservations and figure out another more unified way for us to handle this. But, I’m kind of stumped. I want the kids to learn that we all contribute to family life. Particularly, I need to teach that our biggest contribution is our choice to treat each other with love and to follow the family rules. So, if we fail in that what should the consequence be? Should our family contribution NOT be connected with an allowance at all? What chores or jobs or behaviors are simply expectations and which ones can be associated with your allowance job chart?
Ponder, ponder, ponder.
First, it occurs to me that my kids are still young, so concrete, specific, and achievable expectations are most likely to be successful. In that case my husband it right: “Be nice and behave” is probably too nebulous for them to really know when they are successful. After all, all of us apparently have off days when we’re trying hard, doing our best, and still coming off as grumpy. Doesn’t that count for something?
Then, there are some other things that I just expect my kids to do without getting paid. Even though Tessy and Tab think it’s ok, I’m not ok with paying my kids to dress and brush teeth. Ewww…no choices there…we just do it. I also think that we can expect everyone to put away their laundry. I don’t tell Dylan and Anya how to put away the clothes in the drawers, so pretty much it’s all just stuffed in. But, I do expect at least that much, and I’m not going to start paying for that. Maybe I’d pay for neatness. Dunno…have to think about that.
So, I’m thinking that “Be nice and behave” is going to be a separate family expectation with a separate set of incentives and consequences. The current family contributions and earning opportunities are probably going to be along these lines:
- Dress, bathe, brush teeth
- Pray and read scriptures personally and with the family
- Complete homework
Daily Earning Opportunities:
- Clean bedroom (Bed made, toys put away, desk cleared, laundry put away)
- Swish and Swipe a bathroom
- Help Mom with Daily Zone Cleaning
- Clean up dinner
I’m also considering paying them for each additional 20 minutes they read beyond what is required for their homework. Not sure on that one yet. And, there may be some special weekend opportunities that go along with yard work.
So comments? suggestions? magic fairy dust to make this work? How does your family balance the idea of a family contribution against an allowance or jobs for pay chart?
This weekend I hosted my first-ever birthday party for one of my children. Dylan turned seven and “more than anything else in the whole wide world,” he wanted to have a Star Wars birthday party. Challenge number one was whittling down his guest list to something in the neighborhood of reasonable. We did a little compromising, and he helped me write out invitations. Good writing practice with a very motivated child. Mom was happy, boy was happy, world was good.
Since this was my first time at hosting, I was very uncertain about how long activities would take. I was terrified of running out things to keep 12 boys busy. Turns out that cupcake decorating and eating takes a mere three minutes. On the other hand, painting a three-foot wooden dowel to look like a light saber can last upwards of 30 minutes, especially because everyone has opinions and commentary on how to properly make Jedi weapons. Pinatas take about 15 minutes; eating (inhaling) lunch takes about 5 minutes. So how did it last two hours? I don’t know…it just did. There were a lot of good guy/bad guy battles in the backyard. Not exactly an activity I had planned, but then they seemed really happy with it.
The hit of the afternoon was a guest appearance by a close friend dressed as a bad guy from the Empire. It wasn’t a storm trooper, so I’m really uncertain what he’d be called. If you’d like to advance my knowledge of the Empire’s fighting force, leave a comment and tell me what the black storm troopers are called. And it wasn’t Vader–I am smart enough for that one. One lucky day my son will think I’m a cool, Star Wars savvy mom. The next, he will be a teenager, and that moment will be lost forever. Anyway, they had picture-taking and question-asking and battle-posing. It was pretty funny to hear them trying to decide if it was real or pretend. There was an in-depth discussion of how a real bad guy would land his spaceship near our house. Tricky things for 7-year-olds.
The real risk of the afternoon was arming all the little padawans with wooden light sabers. We had a brief training segment, in which everyone repeated loudly that light sabers only touch light sabers and not other kids or adults or my trees or our little sister or the swings or the house. Near the end of the party we had to revise the training a bit, since it’s okay to hit the giant Death Star pinata with a light saber, too.
So, we made it through two hours of hearty partying with second-graders. To my deep relief, no one was hit with a stick/light saber. No one had any eyes poked out. My trees did not get whacked to death. Anya escaped completely unscathed. And I might be a cool mom. Astonishing!