It’s summer break again and we’ve got 11 weeks to enjoy! In that time we’ll will not only have fun, but we will also work together on family chores. So today is the perfect opportunity to sit down, negotiate, come to an agreement, understand expectations, and learn to reap the rewards.
We have a list of chores already made up, but a cleaning chore doesn’t include other family responsibilities such as clothes and such, so THE ROCKS were born. The Rocks were born in an attempt to mange technology time, but they ended up evolving and utilized for other things as well. Click on the links to learn more about The Rocks.
The boys and I sat down to negotiate how many minimum sets of Rocks need to be done in a week. How many need to be done to earn a day out (swimming, boating, park, etc). We agreed that a single chore should be done each day, but the chore on a Rock day goes towards completing their Rocks. A set of Rocks should be completed 4 out of 7 days a week. In order to have a special-day-out they need to have two sets of rocks done. We keep track of when a set of rocks is complete at the bottom of our grocery list white board on the refrig.
The agreement of 4 sets of rocks in a 7 day period enables them to also learn what it means to go above and beyond and do more than what’s expected. The first one I see that does that will get a special surprise, which will in turn motivate the other two. They don’t know that though. So “mums the word!” ;) Going above and beyond might earn an ice cream with me, but it might mean a raise when their older!
Hanging at the bottom of the white board grocery list is also a list of chores (PDF copy) to give the boys ideas. They can choose which chore they wish to do and then they used the dry erase marker to show it’s been done, because it can’t be done more than once a week unless it’s listed twice. On the other side of the chore list is a rock idea (PDF copy) list of things they can do complete a Rock. For instance: The Clothes Rock could be complete by starting a load of laundry, folding & putting away a load, organizing a messy drawer, etc.
We agreed that technology time is earned with good behavior, and technology can be played on rainy days or 90+ degree days. They don’t have to earn technology time on family game nights when we play technology games or board games. The boys will earn good behavior marks on the white board at the end of each day, and in order to play technology 3 marks need to be earned.
By sitting down with the boys and negotiating with the them gives them a voice, they are taught now to negotiate, they will learn to self discipline themselves to earn their behavior mark, and they know what’s expected of them when it comes to helping with family chores (the rocks).
At times I think I’m to strict, but when I look at what opportunities the boys have to learn and create life skills I feel I’m doing a good job. So I guess I need to turn my strict thoughts and focus on structure, because when raising three boys structure is key.
Create your own set of “rocks” and come up with things that work best for your family. We created our rocks by sending the boys out in the pasture to each find 5 rocks, then we washed them, and wrote on them with a Sharpie. My sister liked my idea and she uses small baby type decorations for my niece. They are wood animal shapes: turtle, giraffe, lady bug, etc.