Promoting Good Habits

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It’s no secret that I struggle with my advanced ADLs. For a while now, that has meant that my teaching ADLs and Life Skills to my kids. Well, in an attempt to have some sanity, I inadvertently stepped on a way to teach ADLs, life skills AND start doing some adulting of my own.

How did this start? Well, I was getting annoyed that every day after homework the boys were asking to play on Wii U. It meant arguments with the boys on who got it first yesterday and how unfair it was. Yeah. I’m really not one to breed entitlement to a video game in my kids, but yet, this is what had happened.

So with some talk with my husband, and then with the boys, we decided that chores for electronics were going to happen. It started pretty simply. The boys had to come up with a chore to do before they could get any of their electronics. (None of the kids use AAC so this was in no way hampering their ability to communicate.) One kept opting to take the trash out to the trash can. The other offered to load the washer and dryer. And with that, it got started. Daily the boys were doing a chore to get their iPads or video game time. And they happily did them.

As you may guess, there’s only so many days in a row that you need to wash laundry or need to take the trash out. This lead to a lot of “What can I do for a chore?” Which sounds really nice if you say it to another parent, but when you’re in the moment, scrambling to come up with ideas, it’s the last thing you want to hear.

So once again, back to the drawing board. This was a great way to get them to do chores, but it had to change. So we came up with the following:

First weekly chore chart with several chore picturesSecond weekly chore chart with various chore picturesThird weekly chore chart with various pictures of chores

While some of these are self explanatory, others are very specific to the person they represent. As you see, there are three. I made one for myself too. Because nothing makes you feel like you need to start adulting like your children adulting better than you. I’ve also taught both the kids to use the dishwasher now! I’m ever so proud and my husband was impressed with them as well.

In the end, I’m really hoping that this can help us get away from reward based systems. While I know right now it is set up like a reward, I’m hoping to reframe to “Everyone has responsibilities they need to do before relaxing for the day.” Of course, it’s a lot easier to hold someone else accountable than holding yourself accountable, so we’ll see how long this lasts for my adulting. Hopefully the habit is life forming for the kids though.

Photo by Parker Knight

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