Have you ever noticed that when you are on a schedule and really busy that you get twice as much done? A list written and determination to tackle it can make the ordinary day turn out extraordinary. A little bit of structure and a plan goes a long way. This describes me to a tee–and apparently it is the same way for my teen. Last weekend it was time to get some structure together for P and come up with a plan.
I feel badly because P, being the last of five children at home, has gotten the short end of the stick in regards to a lot of things. The older kids had a strict structure in place when they were little. By the time P came along he was toted along from one activity to another. Often times he would fall asleep in his car seat on the way to or from, messing up any attempt for a sleep schedule. Things were different for him. We were a fast paced, very active family of seven and if he was in bed on time it was almost a miracle. He rarely had a day home where he could just play and not have to go out. Like it or not, this was his normal.
To make it worse after the older kids all left and we moved he found himself kinda lonely, bored, and just not feeling the same. P and I talked over Christmas break and he said, “I don’t even know what to do, I need chores in this new house”. Because this house is much smaller I’ve been doing it all. My intentions were good, my thought was, “I’ll give him a few months to get adjusted to being here before I ask him to do a bunch of things.”
Well, this good intention left my youngest a bit out of sorts. So what do you do when your teen comes to you and says “put me to work?” You put him to work! Doug came up with a great excel spreadsheet of things he should do each and every day. We call this chart SAC which stands for School, Achievements, and Chores. This chart covers everything that P should be doing each and every day yet it keeps it very simple and easy to follow. He marks the boxes each day and at the end of the week we will be giving him $25 for a job well done. Earning money will give him the opportunity to pay tithing and be a gateway into getting a job in the future.
The result from this chart? A happier P, which means a happier me. P feels a sense of pride and accomplishment when he marks off the boxes. He feels like he has made progress in life and made a contribution. And most importantly it helps give him identity and self-esteem.
Feel free to copy this chart for your personal use. Here’s to chores and happy, well rounded kids!