Saturday, June 14, 2014

10 Points for Gryffindor

 It's what conversation naturally turns to at every church and school function from March to May. The dreaded Summer Schedule.  The internet is filled with "Summer Chore Charts for Kids!" and tips on how to be an "organized and fun" mother in the summer.  Organization and fun.  I have never been able to master both at the same time.

We've never had a chore chart.  I would ask my children to do something and expect it to be done with minimal whining.  It's worked for eight years.  The inevitable problem isn't with the children.  Ironically, it's me.  I become increasingly lazy and forgetful as the summer wears on and their 20 minutes of mandatory reading turns into shouting out business logos as we drive through town.

Two dear friends of mine have functional chore charts.  One assigns each chore a minimal monetary amount like, "take out garbage - .10".  It works well for them and her children earn a little spending money.  The other friend breaks her house into sections and days.  Each person has a responsibility in each section on each day like, "Monday - dust living room - mom".  I really like both of these ideas and I think I will try implementing them in our own way soon, but because we'll be living with extended family for most of the summer we needed something that was self motivating and portable.

Introducing the Marturello Task Checklist... We saw an idea online that said something like, "Congratulations, you've been grounded!" and then went on to list chores that had been assigned points and once the child earned 100 points they could be ungrounded.  "So, what if we they start out 'grounded' every morning?" Dean said.  "And then they work their way up to 100 if they want to do anything?"  We presented the idea in a family meeting.  There were milkshakes involved and I'm sure that had a lot to do with their willingness to try it out.

It's been going for a week and it's working so far.  They want points.  There are 6 mandatory things they have to do like make bed, practice piano, read 20 min, homework, take dirty laundry and put away clean laundry... etc.  All of which can be done at someone else's house.  Then there are the electives.  My personal favorites include, "baseboards, bathroom, vacuum, and complete a favor without whining".  The first day I shouted out, "Ten points for Gryffindor!", after Alan finished his dishes and they latched onto the idea. Now, when they "X" out their chores they holler out how many points they scored for Gryffindor.

Our family board now includes a chore chart.  I'm sure someday the points will no longer be a motivation.  For now it's working and it's fostering sibling cooperation and some great lessons on cause and effect.  I passed this quiet conversation at the bottom of the stairs just this morning..

Ben - "Alan, do you see your handprints on the wall, right here?  I just washed this wall yesterday and earned 5 points for Gryffindor and now you ruined all my hard work."

Alan - "Sorry, Ben.  I can wash the wall again for you."

I did a happy dance all the way to the kitchen!!

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