Thursday, June 10, 2010


So I made up these little "charts" at the start of last summer and meant to -but never did- blog about it because we had a lot of fun with it.
I was trying to head off any "I'm bored" complaints, helping the kids be able to keep themselves occupied, busy and creative (and even find chores to do) on their own . They were excited about it... I think it's nice that it wasn't really a chart of to-do's, per say, as much as just a brainstorming list for them to refer to. It worked wonderfully!

We made them up together, talking about the different categories of things we need to be doing each day; things to be kind, to be helping, to be active, to be creative and to be learning. We sat down together and made a big list of examples of each of those things for them to refer to... to do specifically or to just give them a train of thought to come up with new ideas each day as well. Savannah's (who was six at the time) we just typed up, while for Sawyer's (who was three at the time) I snagged little clip art pics of things to jog his memory since he couldn't read:

(if you click on the picture I think you can read it all)

We did add stickers... not for every day or every thing they did but when I caught them doing things extra well or something out of the norm or of their own initiative, I added stars saying something to the effect of, "Sawyer I loved how you helped clean up that whole game by yourself without even being reminded! Do you want to add a star to your list??" and "I like to look at all these stars and know you're doing all these great things so often!" I didn't want it to turn into a I made my bed, can I have a sticker? kind of thing but rather being randomly acknowledged, appreciated and sometimes rewarded without the expectation or bribing aspect of it.
But of course eventually if we've had an especially stickery week or the papers get filled quickly, we'll do something special or go out for donuts or ice cream or something. :)

So far this summer (two weeks in) it's still going strong! I love how it reminds the kids to be in the habit of being kind, creative, active, learning and helpful whenever they can!!

I also had ideals of incorporating a specific chore list this summer... some school time a couple of mornings a week and a handful of chores to be done every morning before swimming or an outing or whatever.
If you're a blog reader you've probably seen the popsicle sticks in a jar chore check-off system floating around blogland the last few years. We may make those up because I really like that idea, but I'm not sure if now's the time to introduce regular "chores". The kids have been good with keeping their rooms tidy and beds made and actually help out a lot when we have to super-clean for a house showing, but I'm hesitant to try to set up too many routine expectations as our summer is so up in the air this year... I think it might turn into just a source of frustration at this point. We'll be gone weeks here and days there and who knows when we'll start packing things up to move. So we may just stick with our psuedo be-helping "chart" we have going on (Sawyer rocks that category out on a daily basis anyway! really- he's awesome!!) and then once we move and start to get settled in a new house and new routine we'll throw specific daily chores in there.

What are you doing to keep your kids busy this summer?


Anonymous said...

I'm letting them pull my hairs out one at a's been one of those days. Sarah P

Anonymous said...

I set up a flexible schedule for the kids with chore time and skills time, but several pockets of free time and, of course, afternoon pool time. If they don't get their work done in the morning, we won't go to the pool that day. We try to do 2 outings a week, and when we're gone, the schedule does not apply, nor on weekends. Kristen M.

Erin said...

I love this! It's fantastic.

Janelle said...

love it Heather... this is a tough time for us since the baby takes the morning and late afternoon nap, and Leah takes the mid-afternoon nap. I feel trapped in my home. thanks for sharing, I may have to copy some of your ideas to keep them from getting bored. When I went to private Christian school, the principal, Sister Gehret, used to always say, "boredom is a sin. it means you have no purpose!" that's always ringing in my head!!! Janelle

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