{a whole new world}

Last night we introduced Spencer to his "new world". Though I confess that I'm the driver behind this, I did manage to get Matt in my corner. Now, we'll get to see if we can execute it as a team...
There are two main things we addressed with Spencer (who will be 9 in a few weeks). The first area is chores. Obviously, up until now he's been expected to do certain things. However, he has not gotten an allowance from us and we've never specified anything in the way of chores. I know there is a general debate over paying or not paying a child to do things. They need to learn the value of working to earn money, but also need to realize that there are responsibilities that come as just being a family in a home, etc.
I think we have found a happy medium. He has a list of things he's expected to do because he's part of the family and needs to help out. Then he has a list of things that are considered additional "chores". He has to do these, but is paid for them. Since he's not at our house all the time, he is paid per chore, not a set salary each week, so to speak. I think this will also help him learn the value of earning money for what you actually do. And finally, we've given him a list of things he can do to earn extra money. This will give him some options, especially if he's saving for anything in particular. We told him we'd pay him when his tally reaches $10 (to keep it simpler on us so we don't have to pay $4.80 or something random). For each $10 he earns, he has to put $3 in savings and set aside $2 for charity. He wasn't thrilled with that, but oh well. I also added that part w/out consulting my dear husband. He's not a huge "charity" person which really bothers me. I don't want Spencer to pick up on that, so I'm going to try and brainwash him.
The other part of his new reality has to do with video games. We have a Playstation 2 and he has a PSP. He loves playing them and I just feel it's time to put a little control on it. So, now he has to earn video game time. He can do this by doing various "good" activities - like reading, writing stories, playing outside, educational computer games, charity work, etc. Whatever time he spends doing these other things, he gets in video games. There are a few exceptions and other rules associated, but that's the general concept. Right now, we pretty much have to make him read and he rarely goes outside voluntarily. We also told him that he couldn't automatically just watch a lot of TV since he couldn't play the games. We aren't putting specific limitations on it yet but if it gets to be a problem, we will.
We broke the news to him last night but will actually start tomorrow for the weekend. We'll see....
Two other small things...
- One night a month we are going to have a "tv-less night" where we hang out as a family with NO television at all. Sad to say, but this rarely happens now.
- Once a week we will have 30 minutes of family reading time where the TV goes off and we all read together (separate books). I like this idea because Matt's not a huge reader and I think if Spencer sees both of us reading and enjoying it, maybe it'll make a good impression on him.
Sorry to ramble on...

1 comment:

  1. Hooly,

    Wow, that is pretty good of you to organize the chore stuff like this. Let me know how it works out for everyone.