Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Children's New Year's Resolutions

Happy New Year!!! 

As always, I am thinking how I can turn anything into learning and growing experiences for my children!  Soooo.... do you discuss New Year's resolutions with your children?  I have found that it is a good time of year to evaluate their chores and responsibilities at home.

Last week at dinner I decided to talk to the children about the new year and how it is a great time to start anew.  I explained to them about January being the first month of the year.  I showed them calendar and each month of the year.  We talked about how the months of the year keep repeating but the year keeps changing and moving forward. 

For example, 2014 is a big year for Emmett.  It is the year that he turns 7 and receives his first Communion. I talked with Emmett about how he is growing up and changing into a young man!  It is always a good idea to "conference" with your children and help them become more aware of their accomplishments and increasing responsibilities.  I have found that is really gives them a healthy sense of self worth and pride.  Self awareness is a very important quality to possess.

Another component of  our conference at dinner was about their responsibilities at home to themselves and their family.  One of the main inspirations for the chore lists came from Dave Ramsey and his Financial Peace, Jr. program for children. We absolutely love Dave Ramsey and his suggestions for financial responsibility in the home.  Click HERE for more info about Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace, Jr.  In short, there are 3 main ideas that my husband and I subscribe to from his program:

  • Children earn commissions, not an allowance.  They contribute to working in the home and they earn money for work.  
  • They don't earn commissions for EVERY chore they do in the home.  Some things they are asked to do just because they are part of a family and that is how a family works...TOGETHER.  
  • A positive attitude and cheerful disposition is a must!  There is a way to learn the value of hard work while not complaining and griping!  (but this is a topic for another post. I could go on and on about it!)

When I was growing up, I had chore lists that my parents had the four youngest children to do on a weekly basis.  They were generic chores that rotated each week.  I felt like a little slave simply because I didn't understand the value of anything I was doing!  I remember HATING, well, LOATHING, the chores I had to do!  I do NOT want my children to feel this way about their chores.  After I became a wife and mother I realized what hard work it is to maintain a home!  

How I wish my mother were still alive today so I could talk to her about it.  One way I try to help this is by being an example to my children about how to care for, organize and clean the home.  I think my own mother was simply so busy with 10 children that she had no time!  I also want my children to see how much work I do clean our home.  I don't mean this in a bragging, "feel bad for me" kind of way, either!  I will just say after dinner, "while I work on the kitchen, you start your clean up time."  Or, "I am going to see how fast I can clean the kitchen while you work on your room.  Let's see who finishes first."  I have found this helps them feel a sense of teamwork and overall contribution to our home and family.  They realize they are not alone and are working together for a common good. 

Below I will describe the chore charts I use now (thanks to my sister, Laura, for sending them to me!) and the charts I used before. It is always a good idea to change it up once in a while and revisit chore lists and responsibilities in the home every few months or so.  I laminated these charts so we don't have to change them every week.  I also like these charts because they have the different categories.  

Above you see Carmen's chore chart for the new year.  She is 5 years old, a beginning reader, so I drew little pictures next to the words in order to foster a little more independence and confidence in her.  It's not Picasso, but she LOVES my artwork!  The important thing is that I didn't just dictate her chores to here, we discussed what she wanted to include and I, of course, put in what I expect.  Some things aren't negotiable!   You can see that this list is personal to her which encourages her to take more ownership of it.

Above is Emmett's current chore list for the New Year.  On the back is written his New Year's Resolution to get to bed on time. I love that he thought of that!  It is so personal to him and so appropriate.  It is shows that great self awareness  I mentioned above.  As a side note, the "laundry" item includes moving clothes from washer to dryer and starting the dryer, bringing his clothes upstairs and putting them away.  These chores are not necessarily done every day and they are not set in stone.  It is a guide and a starting point.
Below is an example of  the chore chart I made after looking on the internet.  I used these charts last year for Emmett and Carmen.  The initial part is important.  The parent must take the time to acknowledge and check that the items are complete.

The possibilities are endless!  The important thing is to acknowledge your child's contribution to your family.  Whether we use a checklist, a chore chart, or make a New Year's resolution, make sure we take the time to support our children in the most important job of growing up!  

A happy and blessed New Year to you!

No comments:

Post a Comment