Using a Responsibility Chart for Multiple Children

I found this awesome Responsibility chart made by Melissa and Doug at a consignment event. It comes with all kinds of magnets to create a very unique chart.

How to Use a Responsibility Chart with Multiple Children

I think most families use it as a kind of "sticker chart" by rewarding kids with smilies when they do something. BUT you know I can use very few things for just their intended purpose. I use the magnets to assign jobs for the week. The kids rotate jobs each week so they learn to do all the household chores. I've also started assigning table chores to be done after eat meal. I paired the most difficult household chore with the simplest table chore.

I use the bottom dry erase part to group things they're all supposed to do daily- the ones they don't earn commission for doing.

Over the years, the commission pricing has changed a lot. I'm still a cheap mamma living on a tight budget but I understand the benefits of paying my children to do some chores so they are learning to manage money...even if its not a lot. These days, I pay based on the difficulty of the chore. I also use commission that can be visually seen in a single coin. They're learning the value of coins, and mamma can easily count it out on pay day. 😉

  • Laundry/clear the table earns $0.25
    I load/start laundry every night and the children move the clean load into the drier the next morning and then sort it into each bedrooms' basket when its dry
  • Dishes/wash the table earns $0.10
    I load/start the dishwasher [usually just] every night and the children unload/put away all the clean dishes the next morning; most dishes are down low for this reason
  • Trash/Dog/Sweep earns $0.05
    Our dog sleeps in a kennel every night and the children let the dog out in the morning and feed the dog once in the morning and once at night
    They empty the small bathroom trashcans every morning, occasionally help their daddy take out the big kitchen can, and the night before trash day they help take the outside cans to the street and bring them in after it's been picked up

Each child in our house is color coded meaning, they know based on the color on the chart which chore they're on that week. Color coding may seem odd, but with lots of littles its super helpful in lots of areas. {ie Cups: they get a single cup per day and we can always tell who lost theirs}

Responsibility Chart {with cousins}

This chart is how I broke it down when my niece and nephew came for a week. THEY ask to be put on the chore chart for the record. And yes, it's in age order. We start "training" our children on chores around 2 or 3 years old and by 4, they "get to be on the chore chart".

This chart is very helpful for our family. Do you use anything similar? How does it work for your family?

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Back-to-School Supply Shopping Tips {Thoughtful Thursday}

I am often annoyed that Hobby Lobby has fall decor out before 4th of July or that Christmas decor is everywhere in stores before Halloween BUT I might be in the minority when I get gitty when school supplies show up in stores. Eeeek The smell of sharpened pencils, clean new binders, shelves upon shelves of crayola colorfulness!

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I have been preparing my school supply list for the 2-16/17 school year already. Part of my prep included scouring the internet for the best prices on the items on my list. Here's a quick overview of what I've found that might save you some time and money::

  1. Staples price matches 110% of any {even online} sale price. This is #1 because I feel like it could cut down on shopping time by going to a single store. They will not only match a price but give you 10% off on top of that. example: Staples glue $2, Walmart glue $1, Staples glue now $0.90
  2. 7 ways to save with Staples, stack them all!
  3. Walmart's app has a "Savings Catcher".  This means you scan receipt on the app and if competitor advertises lower price, they'll give you the difference.
  4. Target cartwheel app has tons of great coupon deals AND Target Red Car saves you 5% every time you use it and it connects to your checking account, acting just like a debit card. No more forgetting to pay that store credit card you have just for the discounts.
  5. Walmart vs Target cheat sheet to get the best prices {if you don't have a staples to match their prices 110%}.
  6. Tax Free Weekend! Arkansas' will be Aug 6th through Aug 7th. HERE is the list of qualifying items for Arkansas.
  7. Homeschoolers can register your "school" with Office Depot for their 5% cash back. You can have anyone you know use your school name to put their 5% cash back towards. If you don't have a school you use yet, ROTHACHER ACADEMY of Vilonia Arkansas would love your support. 😉
  8. Homeschool moms can register with Staples for teacher discounts.
  9. Christian Books website has a $1 sale right going on right now through Aug 18th. It includes some books that would be great for homeschool.
  10. Deals from several store that you need to grab up This Week!
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All Things Finding Dory {a review}

When I realized they had beyond earned enough money for our entire family to go to the movies {especially if we did the planned matinee}, I sat the down to talk about how cool all of this was. After several conversations about God's goodness and generosity toward us, we tossed around a lot of ideas about what do do with the left over money. We all decided that our youngest siblings wouldn't handle the movie theater very well, we would still have TONS left over, and wanted foster kids, who might not otherwise have the chance to GO to the movies, to have the chance by sharing what God had blessed us with.

After my kids' extreme efforts to find work-ethic and generosity, we went to see Finding Dory last week. Our local theater has matinee movies on Tuesday for $5.50 each. WINNING! We splurged and bought the kids a big bucket of popcorn {not something we normally do} AND ate out for lunch after the movie. While we sat at lunch, we shared about our $33 gift card with a private group of foster families, offering it to the first person to comment. To my surprise, less than 5 minutes later we had a couple commenters and set up a time to deliver it before we even headed home. The kids got to take it in to the foster mom at her work. So Cool!

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Now that my frugal-self got the excitement out of the way about the price, let me just give my one sentence review of Finding Dory:

The adventure of Finding Dory is as adorable as Finding her buddy Nemo years ago with lots of laughs, great animation {of course}, attention-grabbing story line that stands alone but weaves in well with the original, and heart-warming teachable moments that you and your littles will LOVE so I think it was totally worth the theater pricing, great conversations after we left, and will likely purchase the DVD to add to our collection when it comes out to watch over and over again.

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Now, for the longer review:

Let's start with the possible negative aspects of finding Dory.

Dory's mentions often that she feels her disability, short-term-memory-loss, is THE reason she lost her family. For Dory, this is very much sad but very true. She struggles with being a part of a mixed family and longs to know her "real family." Dory discusses what "home" means, deciding home is where they're from. Nemo and [mainly] Marlin struggle with Dory's need to know about, find, and be a part of her "real family."

If you have a child with a disability of any kind {they may see being special as a bad thing}, are part of a blended family, are trudging through a divorce {their misplaced guilt may be amplified}, or have children in your family as a result of foster-care/adoption {they may have false or unhealthy hopes of reunification}, you may need to make a personal decision to

  1. prescreen the movie without children to know IF your child(ren) should see it
  2. choose not to see this movie if your children already struggles with feeling "responsible" for hardships in your family
  3. see it as a family and plan to use this Discussion Guide to wade through and redirect some of those tough issues

Dory does find herself in a couple fairly scary scenes. One where she is [of course] lost. If your child has separation anxiety or has experienced being lost before, this may be even more intense. There is also a great chase scene similar to the shark one in Finding Nemo but this guy is a bit more savage and doesn't leave with redeeming qualities. At one point, my eldest daughter was so caught up in the movie, a disappointing scene had her leaning into me saying, "Mamma, I really hope this is the middle of the movie and not the end!".

Let's end with why I think this movie is stankin' adorable!

Baby Dory- OMFruitcake she's the best. Giant eyes, sweet dispossession, and that voice! Dory has flashbacks throughout the movie, triggered by all kinds of thing, giving us the chance to find out why Dory is so awesome as a grown-fish.

Dory's parents are those roll-your-eyes, wanna-be-them, amazing parents who are crazy patient, creative, and gentle. Nemo and Marlin have a smaller roll but are just as great with their funny banter and silly predicaments. You get a glimpse at some of the old characters and the new friends you meet along the way are quality as well.

There's fun suspense and ends well; just the way I like movies- all wrapped up with a pretty bow.

If you have a child with a disability of any kind, are part of a blended family, are trudging through a divorce, or have children in your family as a result of foster-care/adoption, you may need to make a personal decision to use this movie for teachable moments like when

  1. Dory remembers the great parts of her history but is able to "just keep swimming" in her new found life
  2. Dory takes responsibility for things, owning it and learning to healthy ways to compensate but is able to see how her entire family [new and original] don't blame her for anything and still love her unconditionally all the while agreeing that we aren't made to do things alone- we need one another's abilities to make it
  3. Dory learns that family is something you build with those you love and love you back

I can't express how much I love Oh Amanda's Family Discussion Guide and review. I am a firm believer that we are meant to "find truth in the secular." Hope you love the movie as much as we did. Tell me you favorite parts!

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Finding Dory teaches us all lots of great lessons if we're looking for them.

Truth in the secular to look for:

  • How to better love those who have disabilities, have lost family, and who long to be apart of family.
  • How clues from our past can shape our future; that's the point of learning history, to learn form the past.
  • How limitations are not a bad thing. It's just one more way God shows us we are supposed to be living in community, giving and taking to form One Body that gives a glimpse at the vastness of our creator.
  • How forgiving and forgetting isn't just a nice thought; it's the idealistic goal to live a healthy life: while Dory's "no memories; no problems"  theory isn't a possibility for most of us, it does show us how letting go of a grudge should feel.
  • How confidence brings JOY and in turn interaction with others becomes fluid; insecurity keeps us from healthy community.
  • How "just keep swimming" is a biblical idea; run the race before you, don't fall asleep, through Christ- all things are possible.
  • How "our hope is that every [foster child] we care for will be ___ and return home.
  • How family is not just a pet-store where we "just pick one" that fits into our American dream or picture perfect family portrait.
  • How God is capable of using "lost ones" not just the already-Christ-followers, and most of the time they have the most to offer; as American Christians if someone doesn't have "christian" morality stamped on them, we don't think they have anything to offer us {as if we have it all together}- Hello!? God used a donkey; get over yourself.

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For more good articles on Finding Dory, check these out:

Exceptional Kids
Animal Safety
Autism & Dory

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Finding Work-Ethic & Generosity

One of the first "big" movies my kids fell in love with was Finding Nemo. It was actually the first movie we took our girls to at the theater; when it came "back to the big screen" for a brief time.

Find Nemo {2012}

It was a no-brainer when they finally announced they were coming out with Finding Dory, our family would be budgeting to go for our summer movie! We told our kids when we found out that we were planning to take them. We even mentioned on occasion that we were budgeting or saving to take the entire family to the theater. I tell you all that so you understand my shock when my munchkins announce one morning, "We're making a band. We are gonna play for our friends and raise money."

That wasn't the surprise to me, they often discuss "selling" bracelets or snacks they've made or shows they want to perform. I was kind of proud because I've had to explain myself to them before. When I began buying furniture, refinishing it, and selling it for a profit they seemed to think I was stingy by asking for money rather than giving it away. I want my kids to be beyond generous, always be on the look out for ways to "share" what God has blessed us with. At the same time, I also want them to understand work-ethic. I want them to be hard-working adults. I want them to appreciate the hard work of others when paying for goods and services.

Finding Work Ethic & Generosity

Then I ask what they were raising money for... "Finding Dory movie tickets!" I held my tongue. I didn't remind them of our promise to take them. I let them continue in their giddiness about the creative gifts they wanted to use to joyfully earn money.

Soooo, back to the band thing. My kids dressed up in random, crazy clothes, asked me to draw on their faces, played pretend instruments all the while a CD player is off to the side blaring Seed Family Worship music. Silly kids! They practiced this lil bit in doors for a few songs and then took it on the road. Well, on our driveway near the side of the road to be exact. With an extension cord for CD player, make-shift {preschool chair and pillows} drum set, broom guitar, and plastic mic, my kids rocked their current favorite song, Do Not Be Anxious. Maggie acted as the manager, helping plan, setting up, and even taking pictures and advertising. Knowing very few people trek down our street in the middle of the day, I decided to at least share about their efforts by using the new "Live" Facebook feature. To my surprise, they got 700+ views, 70+ likes, 10+ comments, and 3 shares. Not only did our sweet neighbor come out but a friend in town came by to listen to and *support them. LOL

After such a fast response to their efforts, they decided this "earning money" stuff was quite enjoyable. The next day they wanted to have "some kind of lemonade stand." Since we only had grape kool-aid, we decided that would have to work. I was also cutting them watermelon for snack so I decided to help by balling up the rest of the watermelon for them to sell. Thinking we may need a bit more traffic, we head to The stop light in town to set up shop with our quickly grabbed supplies: end table, trays of watermelon balls in cups, empty plastic cups, drink dispenser of kool-aid, and homemade 1/2 sheets of poster-board signs.

Between their collaborative efforts and a total of maybe 2 hours, my kids raised ~$35. {crazy eyed shock} But it didn't stop there. Amazing friends who weren't able to come to the kids' "concert" or "lemonade stand" Sent. Money. WHAT!? My sis-in-law, my MIL hair dresser, a former neighbor, and a blogger friend of mine. God blessed their efforts in an incredible way.

When I realized they had beyond earned enough money for our entire family to go to the movies {especially if we did the planned matinee}, I sat the down to talk about how cool all of this was. After several conversations about God's goodness and generosity toward us, we tossed around a lot of ideas about what do do with the left over money. We all decided that our youngest siblings wouldn't handle the movie theater very well, we would still have TONS left over, and wanted foster kids, who might not otherwise have the chance to GO to the movies, to have the chance by sharing what God had blessed us with.

I'm so thankful that God is allowing me to see this kind of fruit in my kids. It MORE than makes up for the tough days and all the times I fail at this parenting thing. It really is true; the days are long but the years are short. I love that I get to be home with them, soaking up all of it, investing when I can, and always growing more myself.

Finding Dory {2016}

Finding Dory review coming soon: ie Tomorrow!
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Why I Make My Kids ASK Me For Things

You know that thing where your kids mingle with other kids making you acutely aware of a random parenting strategy you're sold-out to and didn't even know it before the particular encounter!? Yeah, that. All the time. x10 with foster friends coming and going.

Why I Make My Kids ASK Me For Things

One that came to my attention recently was the fact that, early on, I make my kids ask for things politely. Like not just "please" added to the end of a statement but an officially-in-the-form-of-a-question ask me. We have met several children that will come to me with random statements and walk away totally confused at why they didn't get what they wanted. This particular strategy started because I didn't want my kids barking orders at me and/or assuming I could read their minds in order to fix their stated issues.

Example 1:

"I'm hungry." OR This or thirst are the Most common I hear. Am I the only one frustrated by this? Holy cow, just tell me what you want already. I've learned most of the time, they make this statement because they know the answer already- "It's not meal time yet", "____ is what's for snack", "Your water bottle is right there." Be best is when I say, "Can you ask me politly" and they say, "...I'm thirsty....please?" False.

Example 2:

"I'm bored." To which I usually respond, "Only boring people get bored...are you boring?" This usually solves it but occasionally they'll come up with something they'd like me to do in order for them to 'fix' their boredom.

 

Then it progressed to not wanted to play ref all day. I needed them to be able manage some of this on their own. I wanted them to understand norms {not "fair"} in our world and be able to deal.

Example 3: 

"They won't give me [insert random toy]." My job as a parent is not to police the usage of your toys. No I will not set a timer. No, I'm not going to make him 'be done' with it just because you walked in and wanted it. Thanks to Daniel Tiger, I can often sing my response, "FIND A WAY TO PLAY...TOGETHER!" 😉

Example 4:

"MO-om! ___ called me [insert childish name-calling]" Ugg, I failed AS I'm writing this with a response like "Tell ____ to change their attitude and words or they'll be going to timeout". Boo I'm wishing I'd said, "Are we supposed to talk to each other that way? [no] How would you like me to help with that?" To which they would ideally say, "Can you talk to ____ about how they're talking to me mean?"

Example 5:

"She won't do her part of the job." THIS one is the most rare but the hardest to not get involved in based on the statement presented. It never fails that in a 'group chore' someone doesn't pull their weight or there are too many bosses with ideas of their own. Once a request for my assistance is made, I try to talk to both sides reminding them that "sometimes people don't do their share and the job still has to get done" and "laziness is not an option in our family," "find a way to work together."

 

How I've began to eliminating these problem statements from my children's vocabulary: [insert awesome 90s Spice Girls' music] "Tell me what you want, what you really really want." Kidding, kinda not kidding.

"Please think about what how you would like me to help you solve that problem. When you have decided, ask me for something, to do something, to help you somehow."

After most of my acute-parental-awareness moments, I start thinking if it really matters. Does this parenting strategy not only make my life easier in some way but does it actually benefit my children long-term. I believe making kids ask me for things benefits them in the following ways.

Thinking Skills

Making my children stop and THINK rather than just "stating their problem" to me makes them learn to stop, think, and then act. This is a key skill in life that so many individuals don't have or need to build. If more people would stop and think about something BEFORE acting/saying, the world would have a lot less issues.

Identify Needs

When kids stop to think they are forced to identify their own needs. Most of the time, they've already stated what they perceive as their problem but in that moment of pause, they can then ID what they need/want in the situation. If they pause long enough, they could even decide if what they are complaining about is based on a Need or a Want.

Problem Solving Skills

When my kids stop, think, and then act, they will learn to problem solve on their own. In life, their will not be [nor should there be] a 'mamma' on speed dial or worse, standing next to them to help problem solve. My kids need to be able to identify their needs, and come up with a solution on their own.

Social Skills

Understanding how to present a well-thought-out problem, with everyone's needs in consideration, to someone my kids see as a resource for help requires a lot of social skills. Without being able to navigate society properly, our kids will either be constantly under our wing or failing about drowning.

Independence

Learning to work through the above skills on their own will train my kids to be healthy independent people. I'm not talking about little kids who just happen to care for themselves out of neglect or kids who roam alone because they're considered 'old enough'. I mean, I will feel confident in my kids ability to navigate tough stuff on their own if they can do these things.

Manors

Manors are the icing on the cake! Although many individuals can function in society without them, I believe it will not only benefit my kids, socially advancing them, but manors are also another way to show love/respect to others; putting others before ourselves.

 

Don't get me wrong, it takes a lot of reiteration. I'm better at reminding them for the simple things but I often find myself in the middle of their kid drama before I realize it. For some kids, it will take much longer and more detailed explanations the first few times. For most of my kids I can simply say, "can you make that a question" or "how would you like my help with that?"

Do you think there are benefits to making your kids "ask" for things or am off in left field here?

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