This year I wanted to incorporate a few ideas into our family that will hopefully be helpful to both kids and parents. I am big on traditions or things that are repetitive for my kids (like things they can count on happening daily or weekly). I wanted to improve our job chart (to make it something that was user friendly for my kids and made them more accountable) and I wanted to create a new daily tradition for our family for the dinner table that encouraged positive actions and words. Here is what I did.
#1. The Job Chart
I found this chart at Walmart in their back to school clearance for .98 cents. I modified it a bit by dividing the chores section into two columns (one for the to do's and one for the jobs done).
I did a search online for job chart ideas and let me tell you there are plenty of them out there. I needed something that was visual since my kids can't yet read. I also needed something that I could make rather quickly. I didn't want the process of making the job chart to be a waste of my time. There were some really cute ideas online but I kept telling myself, "I want this to be user friendly and don't want to worry about my kids wrecking it in the process of using it." I found this fantastic set of job pictures here at Confessions of a Homeschooler. I printed off two sets but had them print so that I was getting 2 pages on one (because I wanted small pictures to put on my glass rocks) and I also printed out the blank cards so I could draw some of my own job ideas.
Idea #2: Warm Fuzzies Jar
I came up with this idea to encourage everyone in our family to focus more on the kind and positive things in our family. Every parent knows how easy it is to tell your kids to "stop", "don't", "quit it" and to find all kinds of things that are annoying, bossy, rude or unkind. But it harder to recognize and acknowledge all the good things (well at least it is for me-I want to but I don't always do it). The warm fuzzy jar sits in the center of our table. Each night at family dinner we take turns sharing kind things that we saw happen in our family during the day. Each family member can technically share as many kind things as they want to but at some point there may have to be some monitoring if the ideas are just being shared so that someone can hear themselves talk or put a cool pom pom in a jar. When the jar is filled we will go and do a fun family outing like go swimming, go to a movie, go out for dinner and ice cream or go to a kid museum then we will empty the jar and start again. I am hoping that what ultimately happens in our home is that everyone works a bit harder to be kinder and to notice the kind deeds we do for each other.