Left to her own devices
Earlier this summer, my husband and I (ok, maybe it was just me) decided that it was time for our daughter to have some real life legitimate household chores. We both expect her to pick up her things (or let’s be honest, help us pick up her things) and she gets dressed on her own (and has since she was two), and has even been known to prepare breakfast for herself and her little brother-that was a glorious morning, let me tell ya’, but I thought with school out for the summer, maybe a little more structure to our day (and a visual goal) would help lead all of us in the right ‘we all contribute in this family’ direction.
So L and I excitedly made our trip to Target, L was more than willing to pick out the necessary supplies we would be needing, of which included cupcake stickers, and hurried home to create
our her chore chart. Going in to this, I had an idea in my mind of how it should look, and this was certainly not it. (Mine consisted of a large graph and maybe some pictorial representations, but nothing of this scale and magnitude, oh my). My daughter had her own ideas of how a chore chart should look, and since she has absolutely zero patience (I have no idea where she gets THAT from), she went straight to work while I was in the restroom or changing brother’s diaper, or some other menial task that distracted me for a mere 2.2 seconds. And this is what I came back to (without the chart of course):
L took it upon herself to give a vivid pictorial representation of each chore she thought she was capable of or should be capable of. Here’s what made the list:
- Make bed
- Help set the table
- Clean room (in the form of picking up pillows from the floor)
- Put away books
- Brush teeth
- Clean up kitchen
- Put away shoes
- And close the blinds
L came up with most of these (closing the blinds?) but i did help think and add a few more, chores that I thought she was more than capable of doing. We ended up having enough room on the left hand side to put a weekly chart for her to place her cupcake stickers on whenever she finished a chore.
And even though it was not what I had in mind, by allowing (and by allowing I mean being distracted long enough for L to get into the art supplies) L to take the initiative, to not only come up with the chores she could do, but drawing them out, has made a big difference in her drive to actually do her chores. She can visually see what needs to be done (after a gentle reminder from me), a task that was drawn with her little four-year old hands and can go do it. And I think the whining has minimized too. When children are allowed to act on their own initiative, and given a certain amount of independence, they feel more confident and it empowers them to carry out the task ahead of them.
And I must say, I love my new fridge decor, it has….how shall I put it…..presence. And nothing can be sweeter to a mom than hand drawn ways to help around the house, right?