Thursday, January 1, 2009

Resolutions for the Kids

We rang in the New Year with little pomp and circumstance. What a meanie I am: I made the kids go to bed at 10:00. Our friends who were going to come over canceled due to the icy road conditions, and I thought we might as well rest up after the illness we just went through this weekend. My husband and I watched an hour-long drama and I switched over to Dick Clark’s Rocking New Year at 12:01.

“I missed the ball dropping!” I exclaimed, waiting for a replay.

“They don’t replay it – that’s why you’ve got to watch the countdown,” my husband teased me.

Watching Dick Clark was very strange. He looked so unreal it was scary. I turned it off, wished my husband a happy new year, and went to bed. We slept straight through almost to noon and missed Mass. “We’ll have to do a family rosary later to make up for it,” I mused.

Today is a leisurely day spent at home, with a backyard beautifully covered in snow. The littlest one is on a Madeline kick, snuggling on the couch with Madeline videos and her new Madeline doll. She is now recovered from her stomach virus, but has a sniffly nose and is not allowed out in the cold with her older siblings. They were irritable, repeatedly opening the door to let me know of their squabbles. One was wearing the other’s new gloves. My son was putting snow on the girls’ faces.

I cleared out all the leftovers from Christmas dinner from the fridge. Then I made a chocolate pudding pie, and easy and scrumptious dessert. Just beat up the pudding mix with milk and pour it into a chocolate graham crust.

My resolutions are neatly laid out in outline-fashion in my journal. This is the most organized list I have made so far, and I promise to revisit it on a monthly basis.

One of my goals is to keep the kids on target with their daily chores, so I don’t have to nag them, constantly check up on them, or deal with the chaos that results from not following up on them. I have written several posts on various systems I have tried: the demerit system and the FLY system were two.

The checklist was another, which always did work, until I got tired of making the weekly printouts for each child. Since that worked as long as I kept up with it, I am going to go back to it. Disciplinary systems for children are just like the self-displinary systems we set up (as in dieting); just pick one and stick with it, and it will work.

I use a spreadsheet program to create a list for each child. It has the child’s name on top, in his or her favorite color. The columns read Sunday through Saturday. The rows identify the child’s chores, divided into morning, afternoon, and evening. The bottom rows are reserved for chores that only need to be done once per week. There are also “bonus rows”, which allow the children to earn extra rewards for over-the-top duties performed.

If all the required rows are checked off, the kids receive a reward for that day. If not, they can make up for it by doing extra the next day. They really enjoy checking things off on their lists! The thing is to have a store of sheets made up. Otherwise, if you are too tired on the weekend to make it up for the next week, the whole family will fall off the bandwagon.

Here’s to Family Resolutions That Work, and Sticking To Them!

Painting of Nativity by Unknown Flemish Master, 1400s

1 comment:

Loren Christie said...

That's an interesting picture depicting the Nativity. Big Brother is not good at cleaning up, although he does like a clean room. Chores and homework and coming up with systems for them demands a lot of attention, but in the end it is worth the effort. You end up with children in good habits.