Sharing the workload

A while ago to help combat the need of my constant nagging of the girls (especially in the mornings getting ready for school) I introduced the daily jobs list.  This is a laminated tick list of the everyday things that I expect the girls to do without me needing to ask – simple things like brushing teeth, putting dishes in the sink, making their bed.  In the main it works pretty well, they like the fact that they tick things off themselves, and has certainly reduced the frustration, raising of voices and fallings out in a morning as they know what they have to do.  Don’t get me wrong, there is still an element of me saying ‘whats left to check off your list girls’  or ‘have you done everything on your list’ but at least I’m saying it rather than repeatedly screaming instructions at them to get their school bag ready, get dressed etc.

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I also introduced the fuzzy chart. This is a reward chart of sorts. They can earn fuzzy’s for going that extra mile, doing jobs without being asked, being kind, caring, considerate, sharing without being prompted to.. that sort of thing.  Things that make you feel warm and fuzzy – hence the name – Fuzzy’s

They can not ask for fuzzys for doing a job/act of kindness, initially they could only be given them by me, and my decision is final.  I felt it important that my children behave well, be considerate and kind simply because it’s the way the should be, not just because it meant they might get something for it.  The fact that then their good behaviour is then recognised by a reward of a fuzzy is then a bonus rather than something expected.   When they reach 50 fuzzy’s on their chart, they get to choose an activity that we can do together as a family.  They enjoy getting fuzzy’s and have now started to reward each other with fuzzy’s if they have seen one another do something they feel warrants it.

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We all know that household chores seem to be never-ending, and I decided this week to share the load with Jess & Nat.  Undoubtedly it’s probably quicker and easier to do everything myself, but then how do they ever learn to do things for themselves, how will they ever appreciate the time, effort and hard work involved in keeping a clean house, the laundry pile under control and clean dishes in the cupboard.

With the promise of financial gain for taking on household chores they got stuck in without complaint.  The chance to earn pocket money was obviously very appealing, as they happily:

1. Folded socks and towels

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2. Loaded the washing machine (I did then check and remove all the whites from the coloureds – but its a start)

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3. Washed and dried up

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4. Jessica even tried her hand and mowing the lawn – under my strict supervision I might add.

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I am pleased that they are taking on added responsibilities, learning essential life skills and hopefully they will not take for granted their dear old mum quite as much!

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The dreaded sports day

This week was the girls sports day at school.  I’ve never really liked sports day in all honesty.  In my experience it highlights just the winners and fails to recognize personal achievement, and the participation of everyone regardless of ability.  I don’t like seeing crest fallen faces, disappointment and frustration when a child doesn’t achieve what they hoped.  I don’t like hearing jeers from other children and the competitive nature of some parents astounds me.

So I attended this years with reluctance. I have to say though, that I enjoyed it.  The school seemed to have a different approach this year.  Pupils were in 4 teams and had to work together in races/games to achieve tokens, 4 for 1st place, 3 for 2nd place and so on.  So regardless of if a child came first or last, they still received a token that was then put in to their teams box.  A good way I thought to reward all achievement regardless of placement.

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During each event the children regardless of what team they were in were encouraged to cheer for each other, and give rowdy applause for all participants at the end.  I even found myself shouting ‘Go Reds’ (Natalie’s team colour)

At the end of the sports day, the team with the most tokens was the overall winner – but a win that the whole team had contributed towards and were rewarded for.  It was refreshing to witness such a positive sports day for everyone involved, where the focus wasn’t on the winning, but on taking part (a bit cliche I know), team work and recognising everyone’s effort.

My girls loved it – Natalie was beyond excited at achieving 1st place in 2 of the races/games, overall her team came 2nd.  Jessica was very happy to have come 1st in one of her races and quite indifferent that her team came 3rd overall.  In past years I have had to deal with tears, upset and disappointment, this year was smiles and skipping.

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I’d like to think it wasn’t just the winning that had made them happy, but the fact the whilst they had competed with others, both had won and lost, it was done in a very positive, self esteem building manner. Hats off to the school AND to my girls for trying so hard.