Time to set the house in order!

Melinda Aumann

5 Stars

September 26, 2012

I don't know about you, but at least 1 of my kids expects help that borders on "do-it-for-me." And I know there are many others out there in the same boat. Kay Wills Wyma was facing the same thing, so she set out on a year-long experiment to challenge her kids and see just what they could accomplish when it was expected of them.

She started out small -- making your bed and cleaning your clutter. But oh! what a wave that created. I love her idea of starting out the month with 31 (30, 28) dollars in a jar for each child. If a task is not completed one day, a dollar is removed. She said she tried both adding a dollar when the task was completed and removing a dollar when it wasn't completed, and she found that removing a dollar is much more effective. In our family, we currently reward on Saturday for the previous week, but that is a lot of remembering. I think we are going to switch to the jar/taking away method, but since we currently "pay out" weekly, we will probably keep it to weekly.

Her tasks continued with a new task each month. Tasks such as each child having a night to meal plan, shop for ingredients, cook dinner, and wash dishes. Planting and weeding. Employment. Cleaning the bathroom (including the toilet!). And these tasks didn't end at the end of the month. They revised some to be able to keep up the tasks after that month was over, but those tasks continued even when a new one was the focus that month.

What she found, was that her kids were capable of completing these tasks that they previously hadn't even thought to ask them to do. And along with helping the family run smoothly (and giving Mama a break from doing everything), they learned perseverance, teamwork, and many other things. Each chapter is about the task of the month and how things went that month. At the end of every chapter, she recounts things her kids learned and things she learned.

I really enjoyed reading about her experiences and see her children become more self-sufficient and capable. In fact, it has already helped me look at tasks differently with my kids, and there will probably be some "tasks of the month" coming in our household, too. ;)