Habit Training – Chores

I found the following quote on the Formation of a Habit page at www.charlottemason.com.

“Charlotte Mason taught us that when you find yourself always telling (your children) to do the same thing, you have not trained them in the habits you wish they would perform.”

Boy, do I find this to be true.  And before I give myself an anxiety attack thinking about all the things I say over and over again daily, I think I’ll try to focus on an area where I believe I’ve done a fairly good job of habit training – daily chores.

On *most* days, you will find my children’s bed made, dirty clothes in the laundry, clean clothes put away, teeth brushed and fresh clothes on before they come down to breakfast.  After breakfast, they will *usually* go about their other assigned chores without much prompting.  Has it always been this way?  Ha!

There were days when I felt like all I did was fuss and nag, only to walk into their bedrooms and see the bed still unmade, clean and dirty clothes mingled together in the floor, with the rest of the house in the same general condition.  My children were living as pigs.  I whined and complained, but in the end, I was the one allowing the little piggies to exsist.

So, a system was set in place.  Really, it only took me about a week of being actively involved in making sure the jobs were done appropriately.  Chores of some sort have been a part of their lives from very early, so the new system didn’t take long to “get”.  What’s the system?

I’ve told you before how pleased I am with Motivated Moms.  Since no two weeks are exactly the same, I couldn’t just create a basic checklist for the kids that I either copied every week or laminated as I have in the past.  I guess I could have, but then I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the Motivated Moms plan very easily.

So, I write out a chore list at the beginning of the week for each child.  I no longer write out the everyday chores like “make your bed”, “brush your teeth” because those are now a wonderful habit!  Before they were habits, though, I kept these things on the checklists.

I look at the Motivated Moms list for the week and decide what I want my children to do from the list for the week.  These become their after breakfast chores.  I quickly write out a weekly chart for Mahayla because she is able to keep up with the chart and likes knowing the “plan” for her week.  (The charts were in color.  I’m not sure why they scanned in black and white.)

For Caleb, I write each day’s chores on a small piece of paper.  If it’s small, he thinks the chores are fewer.  🙂  Also, he likes being able to pitch his list when it’s done.  A weekly chart overwhelms him.  Sometimes I’ll type out his week and cut each day off as a little slip for him – like I’ll do with this list.

So, they automatically know the daily chores to accomplish and never rarely give me grief about the after breakfast chores.  This habit makes for a cleaner house and a happier family.

Now, I’m off to make a long list of the other habits we need to tackle.  One habit at a time…….

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