Ahhhh, summer. It’s almost here. In fact, it’s so close I can taste it. I love summer. Everything about it (except the crazy Houston heat and humidity!) What I love most about summer is having my kids home with me. Having them home also means I need to figure out ways to keep them busy. Not shuffle them here-and-there kind of busy, but active (both physically and creatively).
Since the boys were little, they’ve been helping out around the house (as much as they can). If I’m being totally honest, this last year they’ve been slacking in the responsibility department quite a bit. I can’t blame them solely for it though. If I had a mom that did a lot for me so that it would get done quickly and correctly, I’d be lacking in the responsibility department, too. That isn’t to say they don’t help when they’re asked and do what they’re told, but it’s time for them to take more of an initiative when it comes to their personal responsibilites. I figured summer was the perfect time to start fresh with this, so to keep them on track, I created chore sheets for both of them.
Much like their mom, my boys function best when they have a checklist to cross off. They need visual reminders to help keep them accountable.
I decided to create a personal responsibility chart highlighting the “chores” they’re expected to take care of on a daily/weekly basis. These are responsibilities they’re expected to do to contribute to the family….just like mom and dad. They won’t be getting any allowance for these because these are things we expect them to do…similar to the idea that they aren’t getting rewarded for good behavior because that’s what’s expected of them.
Both boys will keep a framed responsibility checklist in their room and use a dry erase marker to check off the responsibilities as they’re completed. Really, this is just a quick way I can help them be more accountable and take the initiative to do something without me telling or asking them to do it a thousand times first 🙂
The boys won’t be earning money for taking care of their personal responsibilities, but we will be giving them an allowance each week based on their age. They’ll get $1 for each year old they are. (My 9-year-old will be getting $9 a week and my 10-year-old will be getting $10 a week). When they have a birthday, they’ll get a raise 🙂 Although they won’t be getting paid to do the things we expect them to do, they will have the opportunity to earn extra money should they want to. I’ll keep this chart posted on the fridge.
We’ll place small magnets over each chore as it’s been finished so that way the boys know the job has already been filled. If there’s no magnet covering the job, they’ll know it’s available for hire. If the job is done well, they’ll be paid the amount on the tag. Those prices are subject to change at any time, though none of them will be raised!!! Lol.
The boys will keep a laminated “summer daze” chart in their Boredom Binders (more on that in a minute). Before they can even think about playing on any kind of electronic device, they’ll have to complete the personal responsibilities listed and spend at least an hour doing something productive (reading, writing, drawing, creative play, STEM project, outdoor stuff, etc.). Then after that, they can redeem their electronics ticket(s).
Both of my boys have a Kindle Fire. That’s the only handheld device they have in addition to an XBox my husband and I have had since we were married. They typically only play a couple of games on their Fires, listen to their Spotify playlists, and that’s pretty much it. YouTube isn’t allowed because I’m a crazy mom, so they really only play games and listen to music. Now, I’m sure y’all know how easy it is to get sucked into games (hello, Candy Crush!). You tell yourself 5 minutes and then two hours later you’re still trying to pass level 51. The boys are the same way. They get sucked into their little games and then lose track of time whether it be Silos on their Fires or Minecraft on the XBox. I don’t want them to be stuck to a video game or handheld device the entire summer. I want them up and moving or doing something creative. Currently they’re only allowed a limited amount of time on technology on the weekends…weekday tech isn’t allowed (womp, womp…mean mom).
Each Sunday I plan on giving them a set amount of tech tickets they can redeem throughout the week. The tickets range in time from 10-30 minutes. I’ll give them a set amount of tickets and they’ll be responsible for keeping track of them. If they lose a ticket, so sad. They won’t be given a new one…that’s the whole idea of trying to help make them responsible. I’m going to give them ownership of deciding when to redeem their tickets. If they spend them all in one day, they won’t have any technology time until they get a new set of tickets the following Sunday. Essentially, they’ll be budgeting their time. And should they choose to spend two thirty minute tickets back-to-back, they’ll have to take a 30 minute creative break before they can redeem that second one.
At the bottom of the Summer Daze checklist, you’ll notice that the boys have to choose activities from 3 different categories to do for 20 minutes each before those tech tickets can be redeemed. I’m not going to be super structured about this. They really just need to do something productive, physical, creative, whatever for at least an hour before they think about redeeming a ticket. I’m honestly just trying to prevent them from waking up and going straight to electronics. If they only want to do one activity for an hour, then by all means, do it. As long as they’re doing something!
I typically hear something along the lines of, “there’s nothing to do”, or “what can I do?” and that drives me 12 kinds of crazy because HELLO, kids. There’s SO much to do! To prevent the repeated questions and give them ideas for inspiration, I created a Boredom Binder full of reading and drawing challenges as well as a Bordem Buster Box full of indoor activities, outdoor activities, writing ideas, and Science Experiments/Engineering projects. I won’t force them to do a single one, but they’re there for inspiration should they run out of ideas 🙂
Both the boys will have a Boredom Binder they’ll keep in their rooms or wherever they can keep track of it. They can fill it up with anything they think will help keep them busy. They’ll also keep their tech tickets in here (unless they have a better place to keep track of them). I already added their reading and drawing challenges to their binders.
The reading challenges are simple and created in a Connect Four format. They won’t get anything except for bragging rights if they connect four, but if they happen to get a blackout, I’ll take them to Half Price Books and buy them a book of their choice. They can complete challenges from any page at any time. I’m letting them take ownership over this, too.
My boys LOVE to draw. They have a drawing club here at home and most of the time you can find them with a pencil and paper in hand sketching all sorts of things. I created these drawing challenges to give them some inspiration. And if they complete these, they’ll just have some really cool pictures to show for it, lol. I got them a couple of new sketch books so they can keep all their art in one place.
Lastly, I placed a summer service printable in their binders, too. These are just a few diferent random acts of kindness ideas. I’d like for them to initiate acts of service and I think this is a great starting point!
In addition to their Boredom Binders, they’ll also get to choose from ideas in their Boredom Busters box. This little box contains four rings of ideas for science experiments and engineering, writing, indoor fun, and outdoor fun. Again, not anything I’m going to make them do, rather ideas to give them inspiration and keep them busy 🙂
I decided to keep a lot of the indoor activities and engineering/science project supplies in one common place, so I placed a lot of what they’ll need in this little boredom basket. Everything stays contained (at least, that’s the idea).
I also ordered several different books from Amazon. Simple project ideas I know they’ll love. We’ll keep these in the boredom basket, too.
I went ahead and linked to these books in case you’re interested in them as well. (Amazon affiliate links). Just click on the pics for more info.
If you’re interested in the chore charts and checklists, just click on the pic below. They’re all completly editable, so you can add your own child’s name and change out the chores, too!
And if you’d like to create your own boredom basket, here are the printables for those as well. Just click on the pic below to download. (Download includes ring of ideas (as pictured below), summer reading and drawing challenges, and the summer acts of service printable as well as the binder cover and boredom box label.)