November 9, 2009 by Jo
We’re trying something new at the White house.
C and K (ages 9 and 5) are phenomenal kids. They are smart, entertaining, and learning. So we’re trying something new to show them the importance of responsibility.
Our house is not huge. Jeff and I take pride in the fact that we’re living well within our means, able to put a nice chunk of change aside each month. We set goals when we married and have attained them slowly and within our ability, not ever feeling a “crunch” financially, and it feels really good. Because of our desire to stay with our plan we live in the house Jeff bought and remodeled several years ago in one of Huntsville’s mill villages. It’s a two bedroom with a large, sunny room on the back which is serving as our third. Until just recently, the front bedroom was Jeff’s office, the middle our room and the kids sharing the large room in the back.
As we’ve prepared for the baby we’ve moved Jeff’s office into our very large front room; there’s still plenty of space for him to set up his studio when he needs it and we now have a whole room for the baby for now.
I say all that to explain that we don’t have much space for a. lot. of. stuff. Jeff and I own A LOT of two things that make this small area feel even more so…1) books and 2) clothes. While we’ve got an awesome kitchen with tons of space, we’ve managed to fill that up as well since we’re both obsessed with cooking. And our awesome little mill house has about half the closets my apartment had. So we’re all still adjusting to shoving these two households together into this house.
To help the situation the kids have a newly organized living space. C got a KILLER loft bed with plenty of room underneath for him to study, not to mention places to keep things. With the addition of a dresser and a rolling “closet” everything has a place to live. We reorganized about two months ago and I am not kidding when I say that they have kept it picture-perfect clean, ON THEIR OWN, since then.
They’ve done such a good job with that responsibility that Jeff and I decided it was time to extend that to the rest of the house. Both of the kids have daily and weekly chores they do here, but we wanted them to see what a difference they make in our home when they help out.
A couple of weeks ago I found this awesome chore chart, customized it with chores AND fun stuff (i.e. practicing violin for C, reading to baby for K) and printed it out immediately. We finally had time tonight to sit down and talk about it with the kids and they are so pumped about it. K started on her duties right away and C marked off the things he’d already done for the day before he and Jeff left for rehearsal.
The best part of all this? Never once did the kids ask for a reward. It never crossed their minds as far as I can tell and the fact that they just want to contribute without an allowance or prize is AWESOME.
They’re becoming pretty cool little human beings and it rocks to be part of it.