Your Direction: Let’s Get Things Straight

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Would you believe me if I said, Second Born twin will not let anyone else do dishes while he is here? It happened this summer…

Summer is a good time to learn something new as long as there’s fun attached. It is also a time to delegate the work that never ends especially if you have children home all the time. Therefore, I decided to find a way to delegate the routine never ending chores like dishes, washing clothes, putting away toys etc, dusting and of course vacuuming. Until now, I have not been successful interest dwindles after a time or two and we are back to square one. I decided to consider the strengths of the boys and then find the right motivation and follow through to be able to hand the job totally to them. My mode of operation is always, I do it you watch, we do it, and then you do it, and I will check it. Job well done without supervision is yours.

Second Born twin is a worker so we started talking about what a job is and how much it is worth to spend time doing it. Then we did the job together several times to see what is involved. It took a week to find the three parts to washing the dishes. First is gathering the dirty water glasses from the bedroom, the snack dishes accidently left in front of the TV or computer and clearing the table after a meal. The second is rinsing and putting into the dishwasher, adding the powder and pushing the button to start the wash. Last is unloading the dishwasher and putting the dishes away. We decided it took three daily trips around the house checking the hot spots for dirty dishes and worked that into a routine. Start the dishwasher when it is full. Unloading and putting the dishes where they belong quickly becomes routine.

What is it worth for a 9-year-old to be motivated enough to do this? We have already learned about splitting the money earned into three; save 10%, give 10%, and use the rest as you choose. We agreed this is a $3 job determined by the full dishwasher and job written on the on the calendar. Payday is Saturday. There will be a $1 raise when Second Born twin does this all on his own. This job averages $10 per week.

I asked Second Born twin if I could ask him a few questions about his job. His reply: “Do I get a percentage?” How long have you been doing your job? “Two months, I don’t do the hand wash Papa does that.” You mean the pots and pans? “Yes” What do you like about your job? “When I get money.” What do you do with the money you make? “I save up and when I see something I want to buy I buy it.” What do you like least? “Nothing.” “The moms should tell their kids there’s money in this.”

We are developing a system for washing clothes and for dust and vacuum. These are similar but done differently because of a number of times done and numbers of rooms. First Born grandson washes the clothes and First Born twin does the Dust and Vac in ways that match their strengths.