Both of my kids are now in school (tears just thinking about my littlest being in kindergarten). Once that happened, my hubs and I felt it was necessary to check in about what and how we’re teaching our kids in terms of accountability and responsibility. We took a hard look at how things had been up til that point. We realized we had given them some things to do, but we hadn’t done anything consistently. Most of us at this point would think about chores, right? But in our house, we don’t call them chores, we call them teammate tasks, and here’s how it all went down.
What life was like before we created teammate tasks
Prior to Greg and I having this a-ha moment about accountability and responsibility, this is what life looked like. To help them learn what there was to do in the morning and afternoon, we had a list. The list included the basics like:
- getting dressed
- brushing hair
- eating breakfast
- brushing teeth
- making their beds
- putting their shoes away
We also made a note as to whether they did those things in a way that earned them a smiley, a meh, or a sad face. They weren’t earning money for these things, it was just part of them learning what their responsibilities were.
As they got older and got to be school age, we knew that they were capable of more. And truth be told, this Mama was starting to lose her mind due to my propensity to “do everything.” (everything except clean my dirty office) I noticed that I was starting to get resentful and frustrated and was like, ok, this has to stop. More importantly, I truly want to teach my children to be accountable and to understand that we are a TEAM! That this house runs with everyone’s help and that there is pride to be taken in that.
Let’s talk about chores for a minute….
Ok, so when you hear the word “chores,” does it light you up? Does it give you that “OMG I’m super jazzed to do this thing” feeling? Yeah…me neither. It makes me feel like I’m slogging through the muck to do this awful thing I have to do that I’m dreading. Webster defines the word chore as, “an unpleasant but necessary task.”
Chores definitely felt that way for me when I was a kid. And, I most certainly didn’t take much pride in doing them. I believe so much in the power of words and the contexts we create for the things we do. So I changed things up a bit in our house. I wanted to do this for my own relationship to the tasks we have to do and in order to teach my kiddos a powerful and more inspiring context for them as well.
Ok, so when you hear the word “chores,” does it light you up? Does it give you that “OMG I’m super jazzed to do this thing” feeling? Yeah…me neither.
Enter “teammate tasks”
Y’all, remembering that we are a team and keeping that alive in my household is both a joy and it’s work sometimes. As moms, I know sometimes we just get into go mode, running down that never-ending list of tasks in our heads, gettin ‘er done, and taking no prisoners. 😉 Sometimes it seems easier to just do the things yourself.
As I mentioned above, I know when I start to get resentful about things to do around the house that I’m not holding good boundaries. I’m not holding my children accountable and I’m in “I’ll do it myself” mode. So, these teammate tasks are a powerful way to keep me in check as well and help empower my children to be productive members of this household (and hopefully of society one-day #EveryMomsGoalLetsBeReal).
The kids are paid for the teammate tasks that they do each week now. And, they don’t earn an “allowance” it’s a “commission.” They get paid for the “work” they do essentially.
Here are the kiddos teammate tasks:
- Make their beds
- Empty their lunchboxes and put coolers back in the fridge
- Put their clean laundry away
- Set the table
- Take out trash/recycling
They get paid each week, with bonus dollars if they do other helpful things AND if they are showing us they can do their teammate tasks without having to be reminded to do them.
It’s a work in progress
For us, this is a work in progress, but so far, the kiddos seem to be learning along with us, as we learn how to hold them accountable too. I still get grunts, moans, and uuugghhhs, but not too often. And some days I handle that with more grace than others. #LifeOfMom
I’d love to hear how you and your family handle “chores” and teaching accountability. I’d also love to hear if teammate tasks vs. chores inspire you!