Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Magical Rewards (Accio Good Behavior!)

There is no question that my kids take after their mother. They hate, hate, HATE housework of any kind. They're really GOOD kids, very active and in challenging classes in school, and so I struggle a bit with enforcing chores during their free time. They just don't seem to have much of it. But at the same time I refuse to be that person who has to teach her college-age child how to do laundry because they've never entered the laundry room before. Enter their recent bout of Potter-mania, and my latest brilliant idea: a Harry Potter-themed Chore Chart.

My kids LOVE Harry Potter. H is halfway done with book 7 and A is halfway through the first book. H has insisted that we do a family Harry Potter Halloween, and is lobbying for a trip to Universal so hard. It just made sense to use the reward system from the book in real life. I sat the kids down in front of Pottermore and had them take the Sorting Hat quiz. (We are a truly divided house: Husband is a Ravenclaw, I'm a Slytherin - which H is still upset about because I'm not ALWAYS mean, H is a Hufflepuff, and A is a Gryffindor.) Then I set about making a truly flexible chart. This is what I ended up with:

The concept is simple: I assign point values to different daily tasks, and I keep a running tally as the kids complete them. If the kids go above and beyond in other areas, I'll assign bonus points, and if they act out in other areas ("behavior unbecoming of their house") I'll take points away. Once they reach 100 points, they get to visit our reward bin and the point tally resets to zero. So far it's been a big hit, and there's a healthy competition in to see which "house" will get the next House Cup.

If you'd like to try it in your house, feel free to download the write-on version I created. You can get the Chore Chart here and the House Crests here

If you'd like to create your own from scratch, I used Word and a free font I found on Fontspace called "Lumos" to create the charts. The font is sort of tricky as it's mis-named internally and shows up as "New" in any programs once it's installed. The House Banners were available as a free download from iLove Digi Scrapbooking (I just googled Harry Potter digiscrap to find it, but you can find it here.) Then I printed my charts out, laminated them using self-sealing laminating pouches, and keep my tally with a dry erase marker. 

Now if only I can figure out how to make the chart work for MY chores, I'd be set. Adulting is hard, but at least a tiny part of my day is now magical. 


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Blogging Again, Maybe

I have an odd relationship with social media in all its forms, blogging included. Sometimes it’s odd and isolating because you feel like everyone is talking AROUND you instead of with you. But other times it’s great and everyone reblogs the same thing on tumblr and you realize we are ALL IN THIS TOGETHER. It’s sort of like my relationship with my high school best friend. We don’t talk often, and sometimes I don’t think we have much in common anymore, but then she sends me animated gifs from Star Trek: TNG and I remember why we’re really soul-mates.

Sorry, I was distracted by Captain Picard. What was I saying again?

Right. Blogging.

I should have named this blog “Updated, Like, Once Every Two Years. Or So.” Then I wouldn’t feel any pressure when I see it on my bookmark toolbar, or the spam comments in my email (“Hello I deeply enjoyed reading about how you do this. Visit my site fuzzy-cookies-not-a-virus-I-promise.com”), or really just the internet in general. But instead I named it Writing Leigh and promptly realized I didn’t want to talk about writing all the time. I just stopped talking (typing.) I do still write, sometimes, but I also volunteer, and cook, and wipe noses (does that ever end??), and clean, and organize, and waste time on the internet, and play video games, and then clean some more.

I’m multi-faceted, okay?

So, for right now, I’m back and talking this stuff out with whoever is listening. This post is really just me, giving myself permission to blog about whatever I want. Prepare for vacation pictures, and crafts, the occasional rant, and yes, writing.

I’m excited. So is Picard.