Monthly Archives: March 2010

Boot Camp

Sometimes I get teased by friends about how much my kids help around the house.  Then I wonder if I work them too hard. I’ve decided I don’t.

My kids have no daily chores.  They empty the dishwasher when it is their turn.  They are responsible for their personal hygiene and getting their things ready for school or practice.  I expect a bed made and their room straightened up more days than not, and that they put their laundry away.

Other than that jobs are on an as-needed basis.  If I’m folding laundry and a kid isn’t doing much, they can help.  The table needs set or groceries are being carried in?  Help out.

On our Friday Night Blitz nights we all work together.  My kids know how to do a decent job of cleaning a bathroom, dusting, running the vacuum and generally straightening things up.

However, that doesn’t mean I feel too badly when my kids are working and I’m not.  They realize that sometimes I work a lot when they aren’t doing anything.  So if their job is to straighten the drawers in their dresser, mine might be to read another chapter in my current book of choice.  That’s OK because when I’m cooking dinner they just might be reading or playing video games.

Hear are a couple of things I’ve learned along the way when it comes to having children take part in household chores.

  • Lower your expectations. How old are you?  When you were their age did you do the same quality job you do now?
  • But still make the jobs challenging. Show the children you trust them with tough jobs and believe in them to accomplish the task at hand.
  • Let go & let them do it. No one likes to be corrected at every turn.  Soon enough the job will need done again.
  • Think of it as a learning experience. Over time the improvement will be worth it.
  • Don’t make it a punishment. It is a fact of life that when you live with people you should share the work.
  • Praise them.  And if you can’t praise much about the job they just did, maybe you can praise the attitude with which they did the job or at least that they took the time to do it & put some effort into it.

So while I may have friends that think I’m a little tough on the kids, actually making them put their clothes away or clean something, I think they secretly wish they could send their kids to my “boot camp” once in a while.  What these friends don’t see is that when my kids are having a hectic week their laundry may mysteriously hang itself up in their closets and their beds are miraculously made when they arrive home from school.  Because it is also important to cut each other some slack when it’s needed.

**One friend actually told her 12 year old daughter recently that she was going to send her to my house for a week…to which this friend’s husband quickly added “so does that mean we get her daughter for a week!”

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Filed under Attitude, Family, Kids, You Don't Have to Like It

Baby Steps

I haven’t exercised in I don’t know how long.  My eating habits have been so-so at best.  It looks like I’ve fallen into a slump.

Wait!  There may be hope.

Yesterday I threw out half a cake.  It was the third cake I made in 9 days.  And that is TOO MUCH CAKE TEMPTATION!

So I threw it out.  OK – I ate a tiny sliver first.  But the rest is gone!

I told my family, looking for a slice of cake, that it was for their own good.

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Filed under Just Me

WFMW: Keepin’ It Simple

Have you ever gotten bogged down in the details of your new “system” for doing something?  When that happens to me, I end up no better off than before I tried to simplify whatever it was.  Sometimes simple is the way to go.  Overly organized lives look good in the magazine articles and bog posts we read, but really sometimes the solution is very simple.

Our family dog, Jessie  is on medication for her thyroid twice a day.  She’s pretty good about taking her pill, but it can be  hard to remember to give it to her.  Especially at night.  Jessie’s morning dose coincides with breakfast and is easily remembered, but that evening dose is sometimes missed.

In trying to think of the best way to remember this medication on schedule I came up with a couple of ideas.

  • Use a day-of-the-week pill-box I already have languishing in the bathroom closet & fill it once a week.
  • Make a little chart to check off the doses as given.  Hang it inside the cupboard door where the pills are kept.

While these are easy,  something about them didn’t seem like it would work so well.  The pill-box isn’t child-proof so I’d have to move it to a higher shelf.  Would that put it out of sight & out of mind?  And not everyone would always mark a chart.

hmmm…

Then I had another idea.  And it works!

In the morning, after giving Jessie her pill, I turn the bottle upside down on the shelf.  In the evening if the bottle is still upside down I know I haven’t given the evening dose.  After the evening dose the bottle goes back  right-side up,  so that each morning starts with an upright bottle.

I know it sounds really simple.  Nothing to buy, make or round up around the house.  That in fact, is the beauty of it.

What works for me is not just turning a pill bottle upside down after a dose, but trying to find the simplest solution to my problems.

To find out what works for hundreds of others check out Rocks In My Dryer (she’s hosting this week for We are THAT Family).

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Filed under Simplify

Speak Up

Sometimes it’s hard for me to speak up.  Especially when I feel like I probably should’ve said something earlier and didn’t, for whatever reason.

That was the case with Stanley’s new glasses.  He got new glasses in September after losing the old ones, and at first they were ok.  But eventually it seemed that two weeks didn’t go by without a trip into the eye place to have them adjusted.  Once he broke off a nose piece trying to adjust it himself.  He would complain that the glasses would slip right off his head while we was looking down at his paper in school.  The lenses were scratched from them flying off in gym class.  All the repairs and adjustments were free with the one year warranty that comes with the glasses, but it was all getting annoying.

When the new lenses were in and they called to say we could come in and have them switched I decided to mention the aggravation these glasses were causing.  I hoped they could at least tell me if this brand was problematic or if they were maybe made out of a slightly different material that didn’t hold it’s shape as well…something.  And then I was going to make a note to not buy this brand/type again.

Surprisingly the manager (it’s a three person crew) acknowledged that we had been in there a lot with these new glasses and suggested we replace the frames with different ones.  I asked what that would cost.  She said it wouldn’t cost anything, that she’d send them back under the warranty.  Cool.  I didn’t think I could exchange them after almost 5 months.

He’s had his new glasses for a few weeks.  What a difference!

This time mentioning a problem found us a happy solution.  It was certainly worth speaking up.  When did you last speak up about something, and did you get satisfaction from it?

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Filed under Kids, Shopping, You Don't Have to Like It