Thursday, August 11, 2011

it could be worse...

Yesterday was a not-so-good day in the area of parenting. Girls bickering & whining over everything, not listening to a blessed thing poor ol' Mama said...there was a lot of tension in this household for a big portion of the day yesterday.

By bedtime I was e-x-h-a-u-s-t-e-d. Tired. Weary. Desperate for some quiet time. Wondering how I could get through those last few minutes of bedtime routine before I would (hopefully) get my wish of solitude.

I had to remind myself, though, that things could've been worse. Oh yes - as bad as things felt, I realized that if it weren't for some of my parenting strategies that I have implemented over the course of the summer, things could definitely have been worse yesterday.

Thanks to my two "Whose Turn Is It" charts, a lot of would-be fights between the kids have been eliminated. You have no idea how much of my little-remaining sanity is due to these blessed charts.

A couple of years ago I posted a similar chart, and below are my current ones. The first one is posted in the dining room for easy viewing access.

**As a disclaimer, I realize that it looks like my kids watch an awful amount of TV and get a lot of time on the Wii...and I admit, they probably do watch more than necessary - but not always every morning, afternoon and evening as the chart might suggest. The chart is just an indicator for who gets to choose IF they watch TV during certain parts of the day.**

Here is the chart that is posted upstairs, between the girls' bedrooms and the main bathroom.

On bath night, it was always a fight remembering who was last in Mom's shower and who was last in the bathtub in their own bathroom (they shower at the same time, so we use both bathrooms - yet they both seem to prefer showering in their own bathroom). So now all they have to do is look at the chart, and they know who showers where. Problem solved.

It was also getting tricky remembering who chose last night's bedtime story, and whose room we prayed in (the person who's room we pray in also gets to choose the order of who prays when - believe me, it's important!).

Can you say LIFESAVER?! 'Cause that's seriously what these charts have been for me.

The other thing that has proved to help the situation around here is re-activating their chore charts. Last winter I set these bad-boys up for the girls and it worked really well (until Christmas break threw us out of routine and we never picked it up again). So I brought it back, but I found a way to make it even better...hard to believe, I know. ;)

The system is still the same (in that every night before I go to bed, I evaluate what our next day is going to look like with our schedule and from that I determine how many chores would be realistic for them to accomplish and set their new cards up). The difference is in how it is displayed. This is what the original chart looked like - with their chore cards placed in their "to do" envelopes:

And this is how the new display looks like. They are all clothes-pinned to a string so that they can see easier what the day's expectations are, rather than having to rifle through their pile. They can see it all in a glance, and they have fun taking the cards down from the clothespins.

So this helps keep things a bit more orderly around the house and making sure we stay more on top of things around here. My front entrance is clean every night before bed (including stuff that collects at the bottom of the stairs throughout the day), my living room stays nice and tidy, laundry gets put away quicker, and I have a designated kitchen helper every day to be at my beck and call!

And since a messy, cluttered house only brings me stress - well, a neater & tidier house (at the hands of my girls) makes at least that stress-causer a lot less common.

So yes...yesterday may have been a rough day. But it could've been a lot worse - if I didn't have these wonderful systems in place!

What sorts of charts/ideas do you have that help make your home flow better with the kids? I'm always up for new ideas!!


Pamela said...

My kids are a little older and so this may not work for you, but we had an issue with who sits in the middle 2 seats of the van -the favourite spots!- and who is stuck in the back. Instead of us as parents telling the kids what to do and developing a system that works for us, we turned the challenge over to the kids to develop a system that makes sense to them. While they worked out the kinks, there were a handful of times that all 3 kids sat in the back -which is what we told them would happen if they could not work out a system- but this has taught them to make sure their plan works out or none of them get what they want. I believe, and this may not be right, that siblings need to work out some of their issues together instead of having mom or dad solve the problems for them all the time. My own parents did that for me and my sister and we never learned how to work together as kids. Therefore, it has become my goal to not do that with my own kids and instead have them work with each other and so far -knock wood- they are very close to each other. Taking a step back may not be easy but it is amazing to see how the kids work out their problems. My kids developed a system that is tied to doing the cat litter. If you don't do they cat litter on your day, you have to sit in the back until you do. They even developed a system that they each "check" each other's cat litter duty to make sure it is done and that they can sit up until it is the next person's cat litter day. Honestly I would have NEVER thought of this idea and now I reap the benefits of having the cat litter done regularly AND no arguing about who's turn it is to sit in the middle. (Just my 2 cents)

jj (jen) said...

I love your chore chart! So far mine has been working steady except since we have been leaving for the weekends..I need to remember to do it more during the week when we are home - I've slacked off in the last few weeks. I like how yours is so neat and tidy:)Where did you get the graphics for the pictures? I had a hard time finding some!!

pam said...

I don't have any advice to offer, but I like the title of the post. I try to remind myself of that when I have a bad day - things could be a lot worse.

I like all your charts and ideas. I will likely steal some of them when my kids are old enough to start arguing about stuff. ;)