We had the first family meeting we’ve had in a while this morning.
Some of the kids have been asking for one for a long time now, and with the change in schedules now that the school year has started, we really needed one.
We aren’t all on the same page, and there was something that really needed to be addressed.
Nobody has been picking their sh*t up or putting it away.
And now that we have pretty much settled into the school routine, it was time to come up with a plan.
We sat down in the dining room. (My table is full of mismatched socks).
We went over the after school routine — unpacking backpacks and where everything is supposed to go — and we talked about contributions.
I didn’t call them chores or jobs.
Because I’m trying to get them all to understand that everyone has a duty and responsibility to contribute to the household.
We came up with a list of things that need to be done every day (that take 5 minutes at the most — things like empty the litter box, empty the recycling, sweeping the kitchen floor, emptying the garbages, etc.) and then each kid picked one way they’d like to contribute on a daily basis.
(Shoot. I should have put sock matching on the list).
Each kid let me know what time of day they’d make their contribution. This will hopefully help them to be more responsible. And then I can say to them if they haven’t contributed, What time was it you said you were going to make your contribution to the house? as a reminder and put the ownership on them (rather than entering into a power struggle with Go empty the recycling now.)
If they are having trouble staying on track with this, it also gives me the opportunity to phrase things this way: Would it help you if we changed the time of day you want to take care of this? What time would you like to move it to?
This way, they still have input into what they are doing, and it’s not something I am “forcing” them to do.
After everyone chose how they’d like to contribute, I explained something new to them.
I am not under the false impression that everyone is going to become completely responsible for everything without fail.
But I’m tired of crap lying around all over the place and not being put back in its spot.
So I made a Lost & Found.
It’s just an old Rubbermaid container.
I told the kids that anything not put back in its place is going in the Lost & Found. And every week, it’s going to be emptied. Either they can empty it, or I’m gonna empty it. But if I empty it, they’ll have to go dumpster diving to get their things back.
If someone can’t find their stuff, I’ll tell them to go check the Lost & Found. I’m done looking for stuff for people.
Either they put it in its designated spot, or it’s going in the Lost & Found.
Next weekend we’ll have another family meeting. We’ll evaluate how we contribute. Everyone will have the opportunity to change the way they contribute. (Maybe we’ll use some of that time to go through the Lost & Found stuff 😉 )
If you are having trouble in the contribution department, consider having your own family meeting.
And if you first reaction is We don’t have time for a family meetings, well, then there is a big part of your problem right there.