We have recently made one small change to our morning routine: from henceforth and forevermore, the kids ‘owe’ me 5 minutes of their time, after school, if in the morning their beds aren’t made, the brekkie mess isn’t cleaned up, or we leave for school past our agreed on departure time.
Yes, that is 5 minutes per item. The idea is that it is a tiny bit longer than it would take them to do themselves. Three people working together can clean up brekkie in 5 minutes total. Their beds each have a washable comforter without a top sheet, so literally it would be 30 seconds to pull it up as they roll out of bed. And we all know the departure time – it isn’t always the last one in the car that actually made the family late!
Whew! We’ll see how it goes in the long-term, but it is part of ‘Training Children’ that I mentioned a few days ago. (Or, more accurately, retraining and retraining children!) Again, they seem to actually be glad that we are getting back into routines and a semblance of order.
Yesterday they each earned the full allotment. My eldest ironed a few shirts in her 15 minutes, and my youngest cleaned one of the bathrooms. (A LOT of Windex gets used when a 7-year-old cleans a bathroom…a LOT.)
We are emphasizing that this isn’t punishment; this is self-training. The proof is that there’s a Lindor chocolate once the time has been served and the task completed! (Hey, we’re also training them into the reality that chocolate is an awesome reward for anything!!)
This morning was a slight improvement, with #2 earning the full 15 minutes but #1 only earning 10. The funny part is, on the way to school, they were each choosing what their extra chore will be: they decided on ironing, and washing the floor.