September 30, 2013

Family Service: Our New Chore System Part 2 of 2

This is my second post about our new Family Service chore system. I recommend reading the first post where I talk about how the system works before reading this post. Click on Part 1 to read the first installment.

In this post I will be talking about our "Family Guidelines." These are the blessings, consequences and expectations that go along with our new chore system.

Here is a picture of the whole system hanging on the wall in our hallway next to the boys rooms. It is easily accessible and they see it everyday multiple times a day in walking to their rooms.
I explained the contents of this picture in post one but the only thing I didn't mention was the "Family Guidelines" sheet. That is pictured below the "How To Do It" and "Job Box" boxes. It is a laminated 8.5 x 11 piece of cardstock that states our family guidelines for this Family Service System.

When we first implemented this system my husband and I felt it was very important to sit down with both boys for a family meeting. During this meeting we went over the whole system and how it works and spent a good amount of time going over the "Family Guidelines" page. This helped them to further understand our expectations, know what blessings they could expect and know what consequences would be applicable if needed.  We did this so we could all start out on the same page and nobody could say, "I didn't know that."  It also helped because my older son had several questions and we were able to answer them for him. He also brought up a few good points of things that Steve and I didn't think about and I was grateful for that because I ended up changing some things.

The Family Guideline sheet was not only gone over in person with the boys but it also hangs with the chore system so they can always reference it if they have questions.

Here is what the family guideline sheet has on it:
What time and which chores need to be done in the morning before breakfast.
Rules surrounding that (I will get into in a bit)
What time and which chores need to be done in the evening before and after dinner
Instructions for our Star System which included blessings, and consequences.

Let me explain the star system and the "chore store."

We will start with the Star System. This idea is presented in Vicki Bentley's Book, The Everyday Family Chore System and we tweaked it a bit to meet our needs.

The boys have the opportunity to earn 4 stars per day, Monday through Saturday. No Stars are earned on Sundays but all chores are still expected to get done. I talked about the reasoning for this in my first post. They each have an opportunity to earn extra stars throughout the week as well. They can earn extra stars by doing the following:
Doing their own chores with a happy servants heart with no complaining or grumbling.
Playing selflessly with each other.
Re-doing someone elses chore who did a lazy job.
Doing above and beyond service like seeing someone in need and anticipating how you can help them and following through, etc.
If they do any of the above (except for re-doing the job) then they cannot ask for an extra star. It has to be noticed by us and we will give it. The idea is that they are doing it from a servants heart and not purely for the blessing. Just like in life when we give, we give to bless not to receive but sometimes God does bless us in unexpected ways.

Corbin is expected to keep track of his stars in his planner each week. If he forgets he doesn't get to go back and write them in - that day just doesn't count.  It is kind of like a time clock at a job. I keep track of Cody's stars.

In the morning if the one of them does not finish their chores before breakfast then they have a choice - they can either continue their chores to earn their stars and come to breakfast late or they can come to breakfast and forfeit their stars. We have breakfast at the same time every morning during the week and we start school at 9:00am every day so all morning stuff has to be done by then. The same rule applies to dinner. It works out well.

If either of them (or both) get all four stars each day of the week we call that a perfect performance. 24 Stars = Perfect Performance. Extra stars earned don't count for this. If they achieve this (it has only been done once in the month that we have used this system) they get to choose from the following:
A trip to get Ice Cream with Mommy or Daddy.
A trip to get hot chocolate at a coffee shop with Mommy or Daddy.
Their choice of an activity outside the house with Mommy or Daddy for two hours. This could be going to Toy's R Us, going to the park, whatever they want to do - within reason of course.

If one of them gets a perfect performance and the other one does not then only the person who achieved the perfect performance gets the reward. For instance, they both don't get to have ice cream if only one of them earned it.

We also give a blessing (or reward) for whoever earns the most stars during the week.  The reward for this is that the achiever gets to choose what kind of family night we are going to have. We have a family night every Friday night (or once in a while Saturday) and it is either Movie Night complete with popcorn and candy, Game night with fun snacks or Video Game night with snacks. The winner gets to choose which kind of night and if there is a tie one gets to choose the kind of night and one gets to choose which movie, or video game or game to play.

Lastly, for the star system every star (including the extras) is worth one Mom and Dad Dollar. These are paper money that say "Mom Dollar" or "Dad Dollar" on them. They get paid every Sunday after we have announced now many stars they earned and who was the winner of the most stars for the week.  These dollars get to be redeemed at our "Chore Store" which is open every Sunday after we get home from church.  The store is a plastic bin that is stocked with things like gluten free rice krispy bars (which are treats around here), bubble gum (treats too), yo-yo's, action figures, hotwheels, books they like to read, other various snacks that are rare treats, small denomination gift cards and they also have an opportunity to purchase video game time here. It is usually 1-2 hours for the week that they can purchase. That's all they get to play. They don't purchase TV time because for one we don't have cable or netflix and for two our movie time is usually only about 4 hours per week. The items in the store are priced from low to high and the high priced items require the boys to save their money throughout many weeks. We love that it helps teach them to save. Corbin has gotten really good at saving.  It also teaches the boys that it can be a challenge to buy what you want and it requires hard work to earn the money to buy things. Once in a while the chore store has specials where there will be 1/2 off an item or $1 off something just to make it interesting.

Now let's talk about the consequences. These are much shorter than the blessings.

Here they are:

If the boys have to be reminded one time (after life skills week) to do a chore, they lose one star. I am more strict with Corbin about this because he is older and can read. Cody gets a bit of leeway here because he is 4.

If they are reminded the chore is now open for the brother to do AND earn their star for doing it.

Not doing their best work will cause the loss of one star. They must do 100% work or they don't get "paid."

Any sign of a lazy job and the person loses one star and the job is opened for the other person to do in which they can earn an extra star.

If they are caught lying they lose ALL of their stars for the day and we take other disciplinary action along with this. Lying is unacceptable here. Proverbs 12:22 says the Lord hates it and frankly, so do I.

Disobedience, defiance, and disrespect, etc. my husband and I chose not to make this a part of the star system. We felt like these needed to be dealt with in a separate manner and were not directly related to family service.  We actually love Doorposts products for dealing with these issues.

I hope that gives you a good idea of how our system works. Of course, this system isn't for every family but it works for us here and has been effective in training our boys and helping take some of the burden off me.  I do have to say one side note. God is a God of grace and mercy and while we have these guidelines and this system and we try to stick to it there are times where grace and mercy are required. After all, God gives us these every single day even when we don't follow his guidelines. 

If you have any questions about this system or any additional ideas I would love to hear them. I hear that for some reason commenting on my blog doesn't work very well from a phone (I don't know why) but if you comment from your computer I would love to hear your feedback. If you implement this system or get Vicki's book please let me know I would love to hear about your journey.


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For any and all health advice/suggestions and/or posts on this blog, I do not assume any liability for you. The posts and comments on this blog are not meant to be a substitute for your own practicing physician's care in your life. These posts are based on my experience and research in my own healing journey and are placed here to encourage and help those ailing with their health. We are all individuals and there is not ONE pat answer or resolution that applies to everyone across the board.