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.