Monday, January 21, 2013


 When we adopted R, we weren't sure how much responsibility we should give a 9 year old.  We found though, that he had none before, and therefore lacked any type of independence.  Before even trying tasks we would give him, like making his bed, he would automatically say "I don't know how," or "I can't do it."  We've come along way in the past 7 months, but he still struggles to find any independence in trying things on his own, before asking for help, or needing to be reminded.  For instance, his pants are on a shelf in his closet.  Before even giving it a second thought, he asked me to get them for him because he couldn't reach them.  I asked him how he thought he could reach them.  I wanted him to think outside the figure out a way to do it on his own.  I could see the lost look on his face, and asked, "What about using the stool from the bathroom?"  Aha, the light bulb came on over his head.  In the beginning, we decided to give him 2 tasks:  making his bed every day and keeping the dog fed and watered.  Since then, we've added putting his own laundry away, which proved to be very difficult for him at first and he would huff and puff in disgust as he was doing it.  Then we added a big brother task, where he takes the little kids to the bathroom before dinner and makes sure their hands are washed.  Whenever I'm cleaning house, he always wants to help me, so I decided to take advantage of it and give him one of the jobs I despise the the bathrooms.  We have 3 bathrooms, so obviously I'm not going to make him clean all of them.  He is only responsible for his bathroom (the kids bathroom).  Would you believe it if I told you he was elated when we gave him this task and cleaned the bathroom with excitement?  I wonder how long that will last.  After cleaning the bathroom, he asked if he could vacuum and mop.  I told him to slow down before he turns into a stay-at-home mom like me, and ends up not having time to play.

Because of his motivation to do things around the house, I decided to make a special chore chart, just for him.  Most days just consist of making his bed and making sure the dog has food and water.  Saturday is his big day of chores.  And Wednesday nights he has to empty all of the trash cans around the house, before the trash goes out on the curb Thursday morning.  If there's one thing I've learned about R, and I don't know if it's just him or all boys his age, is that I have to be very specific and simplify things as much as possible. that I think about it, that's all men in general, right?!  Therefore, I gave him step-by-step instructions on 'How To Clean The Bathroom.'  He also has to dust his enormous collection of model cars that are all over his room on shelves.  And once again, he said, "I can't do that, because I can't reach them."  Instead of telling him how to do it, I asked him what he thought he could use to reach them.  He figured it out  on his own after I made him think about it.

So here is how I began making the 'chalk board chore chart':

Black butcher block paper, sidewalk chalk, scissors, construction paper, shape scissors, glue stick, scotch tape

It's hanging in our laundry room.  The cool thing is you can even use a dry paper towel to wipe the chalk off .

Instructions for cleaning the bathroom

And with all of the left over supplies, I can roll out the paper and let the kids go to town with the chalk.  How fun!

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