Sunday, January 26, 2014

Handing over responsibility

Have I mentioned that Gunnar now goes to Preschool two days a week? In December we were fortunate to have a dear friend help us find a way to get Gunnar into the preschool where she works. I can't explain how amazing it has been to have two full days a week when I can focus on what needs to get done in my various jobs without having to pick up after G or make him a meal or police potty training or spend an hour trying to get him to nap. For two whole days I can focus on my needs without any interruption and it has been GLORIOUS!!!!

Up until last week I was too swamped with lesson plans, etsy sales and holiday business to ever deal with the disaster of our messy home. But finally last Wednesday I decided to put all other needs aside to deal with the house alone and get things back into working order while G was at school. It took me seven hours but I finally got rid of all of the paper piles, the mystery toy pieces, the scattered books and the mountainous heaps of laundry. I organized, organized, organized. I even vacuumed.

As I was organizing my sons toys (which took at least half of the time) I had an epiphany.  This shouldn't be my job. I have a smart son...he KNOWS where everything is supposed to go. How do I know this? Because if a toy goes to time out he has a hissy fit "THAT DOESN'T GO THERE MOMMY!!! IT GOES ON THAT SHELF OVER THERE!!" So I've decided to introduce Gunnar to the concept of responsibility for keeping his things nice and organized. When he came home from preschool to his organized toys (with all missing pieces finally recovered) we had a chat about keeping things nice. I explained that from now on he needs to be responsible for putting his toys away where they belong and in a timely manor. If mommy has to pick up any toys, or if she finds any toys out of place after play time, those toys will automatically be sent to the new "TOY TIME OUT BOX." All toys will remain in the box for one day. If a toy goes to the TIME OUT BOX more than twice it then goes to the CHARITY BOX (or as I say to Gunnar the box for toys we'll give to other boys and girls who are less privileged.) The only way he can recover a Toy from the Charity box is by choosing a chore.  I know he's a little young to be doing chores but its a great time to start introducing the concept. The chores he can choose from are: washing the windows and mirrors, taking out the trash (small bags at a time), washing the kitchen and bathroom floors and putting away and or washing his dishes.

I sat down with Gunnar and explained the new rules several times and asked him if he had any questions. Then later I asked him to explain the new rules to daddy and Auntie Kerry to ensure that he understood his responsibility. To my surprise he seemed to understand the concept fully.

So far we haven't gotten any where near the chores yet because, for the most part, he's taken his responsibility to his toys very seriously. I've seen instant results. He is more deliberate in his playing and stops to put away puzzles before starting to play with something new. It was only today that I had to put a few puzzles into time out after I had repeatedly asked him to put them away and he continued to play. But it was good, we needed to see some toys go to that Time Out box so that he understood it was real. He cried and apologized for not cleaning them up when I asked...he said "I'll do better next time mommy."

It's amazing to see that this three year old already is learning to make good choices. It's amazing that he understands that our actions have outcomes and consequences. I'm so proud to watch him grow and tackle new concepts with such attention and understanding.


  1. Inspirational! I get 1 whole day to myself each week (both girls in daycare!) but spend it overwhelmed with work. I may just have to follow your lead because our home desperately needs it!

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