Monday, August 6, 2012

Empowerment Project

The saying is that you can't judge a book by it's cover. This book cover had my attention even before I read the title, it has a kid doing chores. The title begins Cleaning House yes, I'm familiar with that part, the next part drew me in, A Mom's 12 Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement. Youth Entitlement that sounds so much better than my description; buy me, take me, do we have..., do it for me. Yep, Entitlement sounds so much better. I bought the book, (gasp) paid full price for it too.

I dove into the book full force! Kids picking up after themselves, making their beds! Wow! I'm hooked. I prepared myself to break it to the kids we were starting a New Project! And they were it! They aren't really excited about this Project, but I am!

Empowerment Project 1 is bedrooms and bathroom. That's also where the author Kay Wills Wyma started. She's my new BFF (well in my head anyway). Bean and I cleaned, sorted and purged his room. Organization was the next step, medium sized open see through bins for different groups of toys would work best for him. Gone was the big lidded toy box and many small boxes for micro organizing! Those didn't work for him. I took pictures of the finished room so there would be no question about what is expected. I taped the picture to a plastic cup and put in 14 chips, we're working on a two week plan because they we can use a little practice in waiting for what we want.  Sissy got a cup and picture too, her chips are red because the set didn't come with yellow. Empowerment trail was under way!

One chip is equal to a dollar. At the end of the 14 days how many chips they have left in their cup is how many dollars they get. We made it to the end of our trial. One kiddo kept all the chips the other only lost 3! I was totally surprised! I knew cash would motivate them both, one for gas money and one for Legos. I didn't think about taking money away as a motivator until I read it. This is awesome!

Phase two has started and it is going to be activity filled. This will be a real test for all of us. School starts next week, I hope this has become enough of a routine that we can keep it up when we add school and homework (hopefully a paying job for Sissy) to the mix.

I also added laundry to the Empowerment Project. Sissy has been doing her own laundry for about 7 years, but not in a timely manner. So to encourage her to get it done on the assigned day they each have one chip per week. If their laundry is washed, dryed and put away on the assigned day they don't get a chip taken away. At the end of the month they get one dollar for each chip they have left. Bean is going to learn to do laundry starting with towels. Next summer he learns to do his own clothes!

Thank you Kay for sharing your experiment with the rest of us! I've been inspired, motivated and convicted (ouch). I've even wondered if we've met because you're describing my kiddos so very well!

Some of the up coming areas of Empowerment are, grocery shopping, budgeting and cooking.

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