Thursday, May 31, 2012

It's just not working.

I try very hard to make things work for every member of our family.  My goal is to make our home reasonably pleasant, peaceful, organized, clean and a place that we all WANT to be.  This is a real challenge with six kids who are all home...all day...every day.  The work and messes are inevitable but there are some things that I have learned (and many more that I will learn I'm sure) that help make things work when it's just not working.

First thing in the morning is the time when I have the most work to get done in the shortest amount of time.  There are diapers to be changed, babies to get dressed, breakfast, clean up, starting laundry, and then checking on my older kids to ensure that they are getting their things done. 

I aim to get up early (between 7 and 7:30 is early for me!) and spend time in the Word and prayer as well as get myself presentable for the day BEFORE any kids are up.  Sometimes it works, sometimes I have weepy toddlers hanging on my ankles as I drink my morning water and brush my teeth...haha.  But, the latter happens most often when I hit that "start your day late" button.  I would like to start school at 9 in the morning (we are NOT early risers).  But, this takes some real focus and planning.  I found that I was having to chase after the kids and do too much correcting first thing in the morning.  It adds to my morning work and just honestly isn't a good peaceful start to our day.  It also led to me checking their morning chores on a rather random schedule and not truly holding them accountable.

So, I thought I would try bribing  rewarding our children.  I do expect my children to obey with a cheerful heart immediately but if I can get them to make a habit of this by rewarding them for a few months and avoiding all of the fussing and discipline then I am all for that.  Games and rewards are fun for everyone. I hope to do more training than's so much more fun.  I have not always felt this way but it is something that the Lord has laid on my heart in the last few years as I am working to gain the hearts of my children...and it is hard work for me.  It comes natural for some but for me I have to work hard and stay focused on the goal. 

I thought that if they get up, get dressed, make their beds, pick up their rooms, do their morning chore, eat breakfast, and are sitting on the couch ready to begin school by 9 am without me having to tell them a thing...that deserves a reward!!  My 10, 9, 7, and 5 year olds can all do this.  It's amazing!  If the reward falls within their currency, they will do amazing things to get that reward. 

I made a quick chart (which I can't post here without embarrassing some of my I won't) to keep track of who earns a reward each morning and put it on the side of the fridge.  Then, at 9 am EVERY morning, I trek back up the stairs and check all rooms and chores.  Accountability is key for my kids.  If they are not ready by 9, we still start school anyway but they have to use their "free time" later to complete whatever wasn't done yet...and no reward.

So far, I have had peaceful mornings and many mornings most of the kids are sitting on the couch ready at 9 am.  Why didn't I do this sooner?  haha.  It's wonderful.  Now, our mornings can be more peaceful...I love peaceful!

What do you do to get your kids up and ready for school in the mornings? 


  1. Wonderful post! What types of rewards do you give? (I've thought about setting up a reward chart where after so many stickers, our kiddos get a reward... or something like that. But I'm thinking at their ages, the 'instant reward' would be most motivating. Any suggestions on 'little rewards'? Thx :)

    1. Amber,

      Right now, I give the kids a quarter for every day that they are ready on time. So, they can each earn $2.50 per pay check. Ten dollars is SO very worth it to me. And, it gives them a way to earn a little money and learning about value as they save for things that they want. (We also pay the older three to read...haha...a penny a page...they have to work hard to earn a dollar!) That is for the older four and only because they are into cash right now...haha.
      I agree with you about the instant reward in the preschool and early elementary years. When they were all little, I used to go to the Dollar Store and spend about $10 getting little "prizes" that I could keep in a "treasure box". The Dollar Store has tons of things like 12 lizards, bracelets, etc. in a package for a dollar. I have also used one skittle for a prize but I hesitate to announce to the world that I have used sugar to bribe my kids...haha! But, sometimes when you find a child's currency (whether cash, toy, or candy) you go with it for a time to create the habit you want then to have.

  2. Allison,

    I get up before my children so I can have my time in the Word and prayer. Otherwise, my day is awful! Then I prepare breakfast and wake the children. After they eat, they (the older 4) have their devotions and prayer time, do their morning shores, and we're ready to begin the day. School usually starts at 8:00 am and we're finished by 1:00 pm.

    If my children aren't ready by 8:00, then they do extra chores that afternoon such as taking out trash, sweeping, etc.

    I enjoyed this post. And I'm glad things are peaceful for you. I love peaceful, too. :)

    Hope your week-end is blessing-filled!

  3. Wow Lisa. That is fantastic! I can't quite make myself get up that early. Maybe I am getting old...or staying up too late:)

  4. So happy to have "stumbled" upon your blog today! :) I had been thinking about color-coding my 4 (soon to be 5) children and found your post on color coding. Looks like a fabulous blog and I look forward to getting to know you better. :) God bless!

    1. Thanks Christina! Great to meet you.
      Ikea has some great things for color coding...and they aren't too expensive. That's where we purchased the dishes. They also have washcloths with different colored "loops" to hang dry. We used to use those:)