Wednesday, June 24, 2009

This isn't working

As summer break approached, I sat the girls down and explained that we were going to set up a new system for our days to give us some structure. I told them that at 10:00 each day we'd have 30 minutes of chore time, and that when Campbell went down for his afternoon nap we'd have mandatory rest time for an hour. I also told them that as a reward for following this new system, they'd get an allowance of 25 cents a day.

Ella immediately whether she could give up her allowance and not do chores.

So I had to restate the plan a bit. Chore time is now mandatory, and they only get their allowance if they did their chores without complaining or arguing with me or each other.

I have worked very hard to make sure that their assigned chore time tasks can be done in 30 minutes or less. They've had to do things like clean their room or their brother's room (only when they've been the one to mess it up), straighten the living room, empty the dishwasher and put up the dirty dishes, or sweep the floors.

It hasn't been going well at all.

We've had tears and fights. I've withheld allowance, which doesn't affect them at all, and I've threatened to take away going to art camp in the afternoon. I've tried explaining that as part of the family they have to pitch in, but that has no effect. Yesterday I told them that if they didn't clean up I'd empty their room of all toys and only allow them to pick five each to put back. That got them moving.

Last week Ella said she wasn't going to clean her room at all, and I told her that she couldn't come out of her room until it was clean. She said, "Fine, I'll see you tomorrow." I closed her in her room and said I was OK with her staying in her room until the next day. I also informed her that she wouldn't be getting any meals while she was in there. Lily actually turned the tide in that fight, because she didn't want to be locked in the room all day with Ella, and she badgered her into cleaning up.

Afterwards Ella complained that they had been in their room for three hours. I pointed out that if she and Lily had just cleaned up like I had asked, they would have been done in 30 minutes and that it was their own dang fault that they had lost 2 1/2 hours of play time.

Right now, they're supposed to cleaning up, but they're not. I'm tired of this fight every day and of trying to come up with new carrots and sticks, but I'm not willing to let them get away with not doing chores.

Anyone have any suggestions? I'm at my wit's end.


Unknown said...

Oh geez, strong willed kids! I have no suggestions other than making the consequences tougher and sticking to it, like no climbing...?

Runner Dude said...

There is karma in the world. All the fights Heather is having with the kids were fought between Heather and the parents. She took great umbrage when I took a garbage bag to her room. Having been through it I do have sympathy with what she is dealing with. There was only Heather and her sister to deal with and they were in separate rooms. Heather has 4 to deal with as the same time- ouch!

Baino said...

I started a 'star' chart with mine. Asked them what they would like, just little things like a Transformer toy or a Barbie . . .for every chore or good score, they got to put a gold star on the chart and it became a race to see who would get the first treat. Kids don't place much value on money but translate it into something they really want and they seem to be motivated. Plus they're 'active' in their work because they watch the row of stars grow with every good deed. Give it a go!

Shelly said...

My son is only four so the treat thing definitely works better for him than money. Still he says, "Why are you guys always asking me to do all this stuff?" We are so mean with our "bring your plate to the kitchen" and our "throw away your trash."

Wendi said...

We just do the "loss of privileges" bit. They're obsessed with their Nintendo DS, so it gets taken away if they don't do what we want them to do.

Is it only mid-June?

Cathy said...

i like the race tip--that could work my kids! good for you for starting the chore time--we need to, but I've been dreading it and putting it off--this gives me courage. :)

Ann in NJ said...

I think you're on the right track. They're young yet, it only gets harder as they get older, so keep on fighting that fight. The star chart might be a reasonable solution, but things like that dont' work for every kid (only one of my three ever cared). Grit your teeth and hold your ground!

Keeffer said...

take away any TV watching time. i swear, that's the only punishment mom and dad ever came up with that ever worked on me. especially when the three of you were out watching TV and i wasn't allowed in the room.