Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Experiment at Christmastime

We are now on to month #4 in the ongoing getting rid of youth entitlement experiment here in our home. Since Christmas is just around the corner, we decided to give the kids a bit of a break. Not much, just a bit!
They are currently keeping their rooms clean, beds made, making meals and cleaning up once a week, and doing laundry without a complaint (at least not too many complaints. I still find some clothes just dumped on a chair in the room, so I just take 2 coins, and eventually those clothes are put where they belong).
 Today we cashed in, and the boys were asking what the next challenge is. I am grateful they are still happy to participate.
For December, we are doing SERVICE WITH A SMILE. Every day on our advent calendar there will be a piece of paper that will say what we are going to do that day to serve someone else. Yes, that is right, every day this entire month.
We created a list of things we could do together, and Mom filled in the rest. I wanted to include things that would really help them to overcome being shy with others. Otherwise, we will be making cookies everyday and dropping them on people's doorsteps and running away. They have to learn to show proper manners when giving.

Here is our list:
1. Donate a new toy to the school
2. Donate food to food bank (at the church party and craft fair entrance)
3. Donate clothing/bedding to Phillippines
4. Donate an item for an adopted family (Scott’s work and Tyler’s class)
5. Attend the Church Christmas Dinner (make a dish to share)
6.Attend a Christmas Musical (give a gift to one of the performers)
7. Attend the Kids Christmas Active Party (make a new friend)
8. Be Secret Elves to 2 families (wrap all gifts, put on doorstep, ring bell and run)
9. Drive around looking at Christmas lights and leave money donations if they are asking
10. Sing Carols on Christmas Eve to our neighbours
11. Hold an open house and invite the street over.
12. Give gifts to elderly single men and women that we know.
13. Sort through toys and find good condition ones we don’t use and donate to toy bank
14. Make and give cookies to our missionaries and friends
15. Give special German cookies in cloth bag to our teachers and wish them a Merry Christmas!
16. Set up our Christmas Tree and spend time together
17. Make ornaments for the tree (paper/ribbon in glass balls)

18. Record a song as a family and send via email to friends/family.
19. Deliver goodies to our local Fire and Police Departments
20. Sing songs at the Care home.
21. Leave a special surprise for the mail carrier (in the mail box)
22. Serve each other. Do something nice in secret for each other.
23. Go shopping and pick out a gift for a member of the family
24. Smile at everyone you see today, and remember to say thank you
25. Donate warm clothes to our local homeless
26. Invite someone over for dinner that is all alone on Christmas.
27. Drive through Tim Hortons and pay for the persons order behind us
28. Compliment 5 people today and really mean it
29. Do something kind for someone today and tell us about it at dinnertime
30. Make Christmas cards and give to our friends and family
31. Shovel snow for someone else (or take in their garbage if there is no snow)

If you need more ideas:

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Moving on to Month 3 of The Experiment

October is done, and the boys were successful in making meals and cleaning up. I really love this experiment...taking it ONE THING AT A TIME. I have to say it works so much better than making a huge chore chart, and me trying to keep track of who did what...and nagging them to get their chores done. They feel more capable, and they see (or don't see) the reward at the end of the month.
They do not make their beds every day (Zach lost 7 coins this month), and they complain when it is their turn to clean up the dishes (everyone loves to cook..but the cleaning up is always tough). Hey, they are kids. I don't expect them to be perfect, or act happy about doing the dishes. Even I don't like doing the dishes! But, the success comes when the boys say, "It is my turn to cook tonight, and this is what we are having..."

November, we are going to tackle laundry. At first, we thought we would give each kid their own day, but it will be difficult for Tyler and Luke (who share a room) to sort out clothes, etc..and we can see potential problems with that. So, instead, I will show each boy how to do the laundry (from beginning to end, both machines)...and then they are responsible for taking their own clothes from the clean/dry pile, folding them and putting them away (on the days I do laundry...usually Wed and Sat). If they don't do their own clothes, I take 2 coins.

So, today...the laundry is done...I ask everyone to come to our bedroom (because that is where the clean laundry goes in our home...on our bed!). I explain the challenge for the month, and say we can do this one all together. So, each person attacks the pile...Luke many times scampering over the top of the clean clothes...and we each pick out what is ours. We have a quick lesson on tucking things right side out, and at least folding the piece of clothing in half, and then everyone races to put the clothes in the right spot in their own bedroom. Laundry done. So fast. So fun.

Zach has already figured out that if he waits until everyone else is done, he can just take the rest (which will most likely be all his) and be done.