I got an e-mail from Kim at Express the Moments who said you can now register for classes for the upcoming expo June 8th and 9th... Check it out here! I will be teaching two classes at this event and space is very limited on it.. the first is my Pocket Book Class. This class is a fun because it's actually very easy, but we learn a cool technique using 12x12 patterned paper, to create "the perfect pocket book". It's a quick and easy book that can be used for gifts over and over again (father's day, mother's day, birthday's, Christmas gifts etc). It's for beginners to advanced.. Then the second class is my one of my new classes- Lessons Learned. This class is for advanced scrapbookers or those who want to learn more about fun techniques like stamping, using fun mediums etc. We create a 18 page mini album and use TONS of fun embellishments! This is the kit I showed you earlier last month.. and includes a ton of fun product. I will also be selling this kit as an on-line kit/class in June..so if you don't live close and want to get in on the action, you can! But make sure you check out Express the Moments.. I am excited to be the Key Note Speaker there too. Should be FABULOUS :).
So with school getting out, I am getting excited to start to do "summer" things with my kids and also starting to figure out a summer chore chart, so our house stays orderly and clean all summer (if that's possible). It's funny because when I meet a new friend for the first time and they come over and spend time at my house, they always comment on how self sufficient my kids are for their ages (11-2). It always surprises me because I think.. aren't all kids like this?.. and then I begin to wonder what it is Ben and I have done to have kids that are so good at taking care of themselves. I think it comes from parents on both sides that taught us at young ages to work and "do for yourselves".
Anyhow, I was talking to a friend the other day and she was asking how everything was going with me being down and not able to do dishes, cook, laundry.. etc. I told her it was fine, because my kids were taking care of all of that. She seemed surprised and it got me thinking.. Do I expect to much out of my kids? I don't think so, but some people may???
Here is what we expect... each day, our kids are expected to have a clean room (doesn't always happen by the way).. before they leave for school. This means making their bed, cleaning up their floors, etc. When they get home from school, after they do homework and read for 20 minutes (we like all of our kids to read for 20 minutes everyday.. even during the summer).. they have to complete 2 chores before they can go play. The chores aren't set in stone, it's just what ever needs to be done.. like emptying the dishwasher, folding and putting away clean clothes, emptying the trash, cleaning up the living room, vacuuming, weeding, etc. Some of my older kids (Braden and Allie), will just do two jobs they see need to be done and then come tell me what they did. Parker and Preston usually come and ask what jobs need to be done.
Then they also have 2 dish nights a week.. where they pair up with another kid and do the dishes after dinner. At first I was getting frustrated because their version of doing dishes and cleaning up the kitchen was VERY different from what I expected.. so I decided to take a night and SHOW them how to do it right.. instead of just telling them. I sat them all down, in front of the dishwasher in chairs and walked them through how to rinse the dishes, where to put each one, what order to do them in, so it's easier how save time and space. How to start the dishwasher etc. Then walked them through the next steps of "doing dishes" which included wiping down the kitchen table, putting away food, cleaning off the counter tops and wiping down cupboards and appliances etc. I then showed them how to wash any dishes that were too large to fit into the dishwasher.. and then finally walked them through pulling back the chairs from the kitchen so they could sweep and then mopping the kitchen floor, putting the chairs back... etc.
I showed them how to hang the dish rag when they were done, dish towels etc, putting ones that were starting to smell on the rack outside and finally putting the "decorations" (which consist of a table runner and a wire basket full of fake apples) back on the kitchen table. I wanted to give them the idea of exactly what I expected and meant when I said.. "clean the kitchen".. it didn't mean just throwing what was in the sink in the dishwasher.. but actually cleaning the kitchen.
I expected.. that we would still have problems in the next few weeks until they got the hang of things.. especially the younger ones.. but was amazed at how in the days that followed the kitchen was spotlessly clean when they were done! I decided to create a checklist of each things that needed to be done, so that if they forget what came next, it would be easier for them to remember plus give them something to check off each time, which I really think is fun for them. I guess my point is.. sometime we may think our kids are too young to work, too young to do it "right".. but I learned a valuable lesson that if I took the time to TEACH them the right way.. then they learned it the right way. That process took about 30 minutes and they did get ancy at times, but it was worth it.
I did this also with cleaning the bathrooms. My three oldest clean the bathrooms and I taught them how to scrub the toilet, what cleaners to use on the sinks, floors, around the tubs etc. Cleaning off the mirrors and finishing with polishing the faucets etc. Each week one of them is responsible for cleaning that too (on our Saturday jobs).. and they do a fantastic job at it! My kids are 11, 10, 7, 8, 4, and 2. The 4 and 2 year old aren't quite there yet as far as helping out too much, but like yesterday, all my kids sat on the living room floor and folded and put away 6 baskets of clean laundry Ben had washed. (I can't do that yet either). Even my 2 year old helped by putting the socks into the sock basket. I have had my 2 and 4 year old help put away the silverware when unloading the dishwasher and they definitely know how to pick up toys etc from the floor.
My kids know and help with other chores like sorting and doing laundry, making dinner (Braden loves to cook and makes great soups from scratch, cookies from scratch, brownies, etc. I think he is a better cook than me). They can all cook themselves lunch if they needed too (like heating up a corn dog, burrito or making sandwiches. They make their own koolaide etc). I just wonder sometimes when people react the way they do, if I am expecting too much too young? I don't think so, probably because I was raised that way.. but I wonder if others do?
My kids are also great about getting themselves up and ready for school without help. My mom was awesome about making a hot meal for us everyday before school, but unfortunately it's not something I do. (I have done it a couple of times, but it was funny because my kids didn't end up eating the pancakes and eggs I made, but ended up having cold cereal instead)... two of my kids eat at school and the other too love either cold cereal or fix their own oatmeal or waffles.
They ALL get themselves up, get dressed, brush their teeth and comb their own hair for school each day. I used to fight my daughter on her hair and she insisted on doing her own. I was appalled at first because I always believed a well groomed kid got much better attention from teachers at school then a messy one.. but I learned from a good friend, that you also have to let your kids be confident in themselves and what they can do. So after she begged me to let her do her own hair.. I finally had to give in. Her ponytails are never straight and there are always bumps or hair coming out.. but she is proud she does it herself.. and that is what matters. There are a few days, she will ask me to curl it.. or do it.. and I am glad too.. but for the most part.. she likes to do her own thing. I used to comb my boys hair too and then one day Preston and Parker came in and showed me how they had combed their own hair.. they were so proud of themselves! I didn't want them to go to school like that so I took them in and fixed it, but I could see it made them feel bad.. so the next day, I showed them where I parted their hair, how to do it and then from then on.. let them do it. I also try to be very liberal in what I let them wear. I mean I make my kids dress VERY modestly.. no tanks, no short shorter than the knee, no showing the tummy etc.. but as far as making them "match" their clothes.. I just gave them a quick lesson on how to find a color in the shirt and wear pants that match. Sometimes it's funny what I see them wear.. but I am letting them choose and I think it's giving them confidence in themselves.
Anyhow, this has been a really long post, but I am so curious to know how and what YOU expect out of your children? I know besides teaching my kids the value of work, to be honest.. having them help out does wonders for my sanity... i can't image having to clean up after all of them all of the time.. and probably would go crazy! People ask me all the time, how I do it.. have 6 kids, have a job from home, etc.. and it's because my kids help out ALOT. So some of the reason I have them do it is for me.. not just for them..
by the way...we just started paying our kids an allowance. We actually haven't started an official system yet.. but last week I gave them each $5 for all the hard work they had been doing since I have been down for the last few weeks. I don't believe I should pay my kids for doing chores around the house, because that isn't "real life". I don't get paid to clean, do my dishes or make my bed.. But Ben and I realized we need to start paying them an allowance like a weekly allowance.. to teach them how to save money, how to pay tithing, to teach them the value of money as well. In the past, when we go to the store as a family, or stop at "family dollar" to pick something up, or what ever.. we let them each pick out a treat.. or there are times we buy them toys etc just because.. but I feel like if we start giving them an allowance, we can teach them when we go the store.. if they want that candy bar, now they can pay for it themselves.. and decide if it's really something they want or if they would like to save their money for something else, like baseball cards, etc.
Anyhow.. so that is still new to us and still trying to figure out what is the right amount? how often do you pay them? what ARE you paying them for? (if it's not for doing basic chores.. then what?)
So.. what works for you? What hasn't worked? Love to hear some ideas.. and don't forget to check out the Express the Moments website to sign up for classes! :) Sorry for the long post! But I love to learn from others too.. so let's hear from you!
have a wonderful day.