A family's story

What a chore…

I will admit that we have been spotty when it comes to having our boys do chores around the house. First, I am very particular about how some things are done, and my control-freak tendencies are hard to part with when it comes to giving my children more independence. Second, they whine so much about doing the littlest thing sometimes, that I prefer to save my sanity and just do it myself.

Jake has been begging for another BeyBlade. He has 20-something of these things already, but of course he doesn’t have this particular one. We have heard nothing but facts about this particular BeyBlade since last week when he happened upon it while online. So, to sweeten the chore chart I wanted to implement, Hubz and I told him that he had to complete the 10 chores on the chart. Once completed, we would get him this BeyBlade–this time. Going forward, though, he has to do chores and will not get a BeyBlade each time. We’ll figure out an allowance that is appropriate, but other than that, he won’t get a new toy each and every week. (Remember, my house already looks like an episode of “The Hoarders”…we don’t need more stuff.)

On Saturday we wrote out Jake’s chore chart. He was required to do the following:

1. Put laundry away

2. Fold towels and put them away

3. Learn how to do a load of laundry–wash & dry clothes

4. Put dishes in dishwasher away and load dirty ones

5. Help weed the front yard

6. Help clean the floor in the kitchen

7. Clean bedroom

8. Help clean bathroom (the one the boys share)

9. Work on learning to tie shoes

10. Set table for dinner

We finished the chore chart at 9:00 a.m. At 9:05, he was busily playing with his new shoes to learn how to tie them. He worked with Hubz for about 15 minutes. He did another 10 by himself. I joined him at the 25 minute mark, and talked him through it. He still isn’t quite there, but it’s *this* close. Tying shoes is really difficult for kiddos with fine motor delays and executive functioning struggles. Holy moly!!! Our goal is to have him tying his own shoes by his 10th birthday.

By 12:30 p.m., when I returned from getting my hair cut, he had accomplished four of the ten chores. I have never seen him that eager to do work around the house. I know that I will not seem him that eager ever again…unless we make him work for a toy again..then, maybe he’ll bust his butt like he did this weekend! By the end of Saturday, he had six chores done.

When we woke up yesterday, Jake was already asking when he could finish his chores. After breakfast, we tackled the dishwasher. He struggled a bit with the directions, but after taking a deep breath, I reminded myself that he does have some receptive speech issues, and that his executive functioning skills are weak when it comes to task planning and completion. We got through it, though, and he did a great job once it was explained a few times.

We had our good friend over for lunch. He’s Tate’s godfather, and we haven’t seen him in about 6 months. He had a belated birthday gift for Tate, and we spent a few hours catching up. It was great to see him, and see Tate respond to him. During our 3-hour visit, though, Jake asked no less than 10 times when he could do laundry. That was the second to last chore to complete. I was not about to do laundry in the middle of our visit. I patiently told him to relax and that we’d tackle the laundry once his “uncle” had gone home. He had to wait another hour after that last request, but then my friend had to go home, and we were able to get to the laundry.

I had Jake pour the detergent into the measuring cup. We have one of those huge Tide dispensers that has to be pushed. He barely had enough finger strength to do it. I made a mental note to have him work with some more fidgets to increase his finger dexterity. I showed him how to select the water temperature and agitator speed. I showed him what cycle to choose for that particular load of laundry.  He got it all in there on his own, and I showed him how to close the lid of the washer without slamming it. He did great.

Hubz shooed me out of the house at that point to enjoy an hour to myself. (I really needed that hour..and I am so appreciative that he knows better than I do, that I need a break.) While I was out, Hubz showed Jake how to put the laundry in the dryer. He did his load of laundry. He was very proud. The only chore left on his list was to set the table for dinner…so he did. At 3:50 in the afternoon. But, it was set. And he was able to check-off all of the tasks. At 5:15, Jake and Hubz went on Amazon and ordered the Flash Saggitario Beyblade for Jake’s collection. Hubz showed him how we can track the shipping of the BeyBlade online. I think we found a new way to keep Jake occupied when he gets home from day camp today! He loves seeing where his BeyBlade is at the moment. He’s slightly disappointed that he won’t get it until late this week or early next week, but it allows for a little more excitement in his 9-year-old-life.

I was slightly exhausted after dealing with the chore perseveration the past two days, but I know that we both gained from the experience. He is learning how to be more independent. And I’m learning that it is ok to let go…and to let him do things on his own…because he’s going to need to know how to do this when he’s older. I also learned that even if the chores aren’t done my way, they are done….and I have about an hour of time to myself that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. It’s a win-win!

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Comments on: "What a chore…" (8)

  1. I think another benefit was discovering things (like finger strength and dexterity) that you might want to work on. It seems like it would be more motivating to your son to see the practical implications for playing with fidgets rather than seeming like therapy for therapy’s sake.
    Good luck with the future chore lists!

    • Thank you! And yes, it was a huge benefit to see where he needs some strengthening exercises. Practical implications are a big motivator for Jake.

  2. This is awesome! I’m still trying to figure out how to get my kids to do some chores, my time with them is so limited but they need to learn and I know they don’t do any aside from cleaning their rooms at their dad’s house

    • The chore thing is difficult. Especially when we’re already pulled in several different directions!

  3. Mom2MissK said:

    Little Miss has been expressing an interest in chores too — she likes to help with the dishwasher and feed the cats. But like you, I’m still learning to let go. Thanks for the inspiration and mom-solidarity!

    • Mom-solidarity–yes!! 🙂 Best of luck with the chores. LM is the perfect age to indoctrinate it. I have a couple chores for Cole, and he’s feeling like such a big kid…and I hope that it becomes second nature to him. Tate loves to empty our dishwasher, because I let him spin the sprayers inside. Whatever works, right??

  4. I commend you for this. We haven’t been able to stick to a chore chart for either of our kids, and it’s a bad miss. And on the shoe-tying — stick with it. Ryan got it right around age 10 and it is no longer an issue at all.

    • The chore chart is difficult…we get pulled in so many directions. But I’m really trying to stick to it now. And thank you for the shoe-tying support. I’m glad to hear that Ryan got it around age 10, too. That gives me hope that Jake will get it over the next couple of months!

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