Motivated Moms Does the Chore Planning For You!

Pssst! There's a giveaway at the bottom of this post!

We're going to start off Organization Week with the tool I love for overall chore planning the most: Motivated Moms

It's a chore system that has over 10,000 pre-planned chores and tasks already assigned, from daily tasks such as "plan and prep dinner" to occasional chores, such as "dust ceiling fans." Honestly, I'm usually good with the daily stuff but our ceiling fans could go years without being dusted if someone doesn't tell me to do it.

I used to use the printable pdf version, and if you're a pen-and-paper gal, you'll want to, too. Now I use the app and love that it's:

1. On my phone/always in my pocket

2. Has an option to color-code and assign tasks by each person's name

3. Can be customized. You can add, delete, delay, or reschedule any task.

 


Both versions also have a Bible reading plan that you can turn off if you don't want it on your daily list. Some years I loved glancing at my list and having a little guidance.

Yesterday on the Preschoolers and Peace Facebook page, Billie Jean wrote, "I bought the pdf, printed it and had staples spiral bind it for about $3 - it sits on my counter to check off as I go through my day."

Smart!

I have a coupon code that's good for $1 off through the next two weeks. The code is PEACE, and it will take $1 off your purchase of the pdf version.

Want to win one? Leave a comment telling me the best thing you've done to get organized this year (even if it's a little thing) and you'll be entered to win a copy of either the pdf or the app. Contest ends Friday, January 18th, midnight PST.

Classic Re-Post: Attitude Adjustment

In Revamping Systems, Part Two I mentioned that I have changed my attitude regarding my responsibilities, my children's responsibilities, and what I can expect of them. This has been the single most effective change I've made in our home maybe ever, because the change was in my attitude, not in any system, training technique, or other similar means.

My best friend Lisa was reading to her children the last book Bob Schultz wrote before his recent death, a book called Practical Happiness: A Young Man's Guide to a Contented Life. She called me one day and said, "Listen to this!" She went on to tell me about a chapter in which Mr. Schultz describes his disgruntled attitude upon arriving home each night, seeing the messes and what was unfinished and greeting his family with a scowl. God convicted him of his attitude, and of that Mr. Schultz wrote:

"As I thought about my failure, He showed me how to get over it: accept every task in the house and on the grounds as mine... Someone may say this perspective is unrealistic. No one could be expected to do every job. But it's done so much good for our family and for me. I wish I had seen it earlier. I rarely wash dishes. That makes me all the more pleased with my useful daughters. I can't remember cooking a dinner. How I appreciate my wife's help! When she's doing my job, I can accept a meal that's a half hour "late". When would it have been on the table if I had made it?"

Fabulous, isn't it? Yes, this house, these grounds, these children- all of these are my responsibilities and when I get some help, I am thankful! Like Mr Schultz, it is a rare occasion when I have to empty the dishwasher and now instead of grumbling when I do have that job to squeeze in, I am thankful that my seven-year-old does the dishwasher emptying on a regular basis. Boy, I wish I'd learned this one earlier.

We still expect our children to pick up after themselves. We are still training them to create less work for others, not more. We are still teaching them life skills that they can take with them when they leave our home. But my attitude has changed from disappointment in the child-like results of their work to thankfulness that all these young people are pitching in to help lighten my load.

Can I get an amen?

 

Chore Store!

Over the years we've gone back and forth, forth and back about allowance and chores.  Should we offer payment for jobs done?  Should we give allowances so the kids can learn to manage their spending?  We always came back to the idea that our children are members of our family, and so certain chores are expected simply because they're part of the team.  We also want them to leave our home with all kinds of skills- no paying some girl at college to do their laundry ;) Recently, however, the kids' piano teacher instituted a point system by which her students could earn points for practicing, attending recitals and concerts, and even for good behavior during a lesson.  At a designated time, she would open her "store" and allow them to spend their points on fun things- pencils, stickers, etc. This got me thinking.  My kids could use a little motivation.  I think we've been very successful at communicating their responsibility in our home, so perhaps having something fun to strive for would just be a nice little motivator as the weeks roll by. I started by taking their daily responsibilities and attaching a point value to each chore: 1 Point Morning Stuff Breakfast Prep Each Chore = 1 Point Zones Completed 2 Points All morning stuff and chores completed each week = 2 bonus points A Good Attitude, calculated weekly 5 Points Quietly working on a reorganization project (game cabinets, puzzle cabinet, schoolroom, garage cabinets, costumes, armoire) without being asked. Surprise inspections- everything from closets to school shelves to bathroom drawers.

The chore point tally sheet.  Very primitive.  Needs revamping.

There were also some bad habits established that have bugged me for years, so I thought I could seize the opportunity to use our Chore Store point system to fix the problem.  Some people around here think I won't notice when they drop things on top of the dryer on their way to the school room instead of putting said things away in the school room where they belong.  Ahem.  Others have told me their chores are completed when, indeed, they are not.  Can you believe it? The following result in a loss of points: Not putting things away where they belong (Legos in the piano drawers, stuff dumped on the dryer instead of put away in the schoolroom, etc.)  -2 Points Lying about chores being done results in a complete loss of all points! So far, Chore Store is going really well.  I keep a tally sheet and we check off accomplishments every day or two at breakfast, and the kids are eager to hear their totals.  I haven't set a time for the opening of Chore Store, but I did tell them that nothing in the store will be under 100 points.  I won't open it until everyone can purchase something. Even my oldest guys who have fewer chores than everyone else are interested in earning more points for themselves.  I lured them into participation with the promise of movie tickets and gift cards.  When the stack of preschool DVDs needed to be reorganized, and lost discs found, guess who volunteered?

The big guys are so great with the little guys.  I toss out bonus points for the kindnesses like these.

I still ask, grab, call out to, and assign children tasks all day long without the promise of points.  I'm watching to see if attitudes turn greedy, but so far nothing has really changed except for a sudden eagerness to do chores every day.  Works for me!

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Revamping Systems, Part Three: Do-Over

If I have learned anything over the past 15 years of parenting, it is that nothing ever stays the same for very long. No sooner do I have something planned or charted or scheduled than something changes and I have to start all over again. Case in point: I just finished telling you all about the fact that both our 15-year-old and our 13-year-old would be at my husband's office for the year when we up and decided that they would instead stay home this year. Well, we didn't exactly "up and decide"; there was a lot of careful thought and rumination going into this decision. What does this mean on a practical level for me? I have to revamp my revamps. I can utilize those guys in other ways. I can once again have the best barista in town whipping up chai frappucinos for me on a daily basis :) I was super bummed when I realized he'd be at work with his dad right about the time he'd offer to make me one each afternoon. I won't be posting my revisions unless someone needs ideas for chores 15-year-olds and 13-year-olds can tackle, although they won't have many more than they already do. And the whole point of this post is simply to encourage you to not be discouraged when you have to scrap something you spent time putting together. Or, as my wise friend Cheryl always advises me, "Hold your plans loosely".
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Attitude Adjustment

In Revamping Systems, Part Two I mentioned that I have changed my attitude regarding my responsibilities, my children's responsibilities, and what I can expect of them. This has been the single most effective change I've made in our home maybe ever, because the change was in my attitude, not in any system, training technique, or other similar means. My best friend Lisa was reading to her children the last book Bob Schultz wrote before his recent death, a book called Practical Happiness: A Young Man's Guide to a Contented Life. She called me one day and said, "Listen to this!" She went on to tell me about a chapter in which Mr. Schultz describes his disgruntled attitude upon arriving home each night, seeing the messes and what was unfinished and greeting his family with a scowl. God convicted him of his attitude, and of that Mr. Schultz wrote: "As I thought about my failure, He showed me how to get over it: accept every task in the house and on the grounds as mine... Someone may say this perspective is unrealistic. No one could be expected to do every job. But it's done so much good for our family and for me. I wish I had seen it earlier. I rarely wash dishes. That makes me all the more pleased with my useful daughters. I can't remember cooking a dinner. How I appreciate my wife's help! When she's doing my job, I can accept a meal that's a half hour "late". When would it have been on the table if I had made it?" Fabulous, isn't it? Yes, this house, these grounds, these children- all of these are my responsibilities and when I get some help, I am thankful! Like Mr Schultz, it is a rare occasion when I have to empty the dishwasher and now instead of grumbling when I do have that job to squeeze in, I am thankful that my seven-year-old does the dishwasher emptying on a regular basis. Boy, I wish I'd learned this one earlier. We still expect our children to pick up after themselves. We are still training them to create less work for others, not more. We are still teaching them life skills that they can take with them when they leave our home. But my attitude has changed from disappointment in the child-like results of their work to thankfulness that all these young people are pitching in to help lighten my load. Can I get an amen?
Read More