I noticed several weeks ago that Aniston needed to be more directed and motivated to have a good attitude. I'm not sure if her change in behavior has anything to do with Benson being born or if she's just introducing us into the world of the terrible two's. It may be a combination of both. But she has been pushing our limits for sure. She has become louder, which I could see being related to Benson since she may feel that she needs to raise her voice in order to be heard over him. She has become more demanding, she has been throwing things, hitting things, and she has been resisting bedtime with the most insane crying/screaming I have ever heard. These things don't happen every day, but some days I feel like they all are happening without exception. So because of the crazy person she was making me, I decided to look into responsibility charts in order to motivate her to make good choices.
I'm pretty sure I stumbled upon the best responsibility chart that's made!
I had spent hours on Pinterest looking for different DIY chore/responsibility charts, but nothing really stood out to me as amazing and the perfect fit for Aniston. I had recently been introduced to Melissa and Doug and quickly became OBSESSED with their products. Aniston loves mail and mailboxes (thank you Blue's Clue's) and I got her a Melissa and Doug mailbox that we use for school and it is just perfect! So when I saw this responsibility chart from Melissa and Doug I knew that it was the right fit for us.
I love that there are so many responsibility options to choose from as well as the option to create your own. The smiley face magnets are amazing and color coded so that it's easy for Aniston to know and pick her magnet after she has been responsible throughout her day. Seriously, I have never seen a child so excited to get up in the morning and make her bed! But she knows that if she makes her bed in the morning she can come downstairs and get a blue smiley. Super motivating for her. I like that you can change the responsibilities every day if you want. We change them up every week, just so that Aniston can learn to have lots of different responsibilities. I really like how it's called a responsibility chart as opposed to a chore chart because I would like Aniston to think positively about doing daily activities that promote good clean habits as opposed to the idea that she has to do chores. I don't know, maybe that doesn't make sense but I feel as though calling her chores and daily expectations responsibilities, it makes it more positive. Spencer and I are firm believers in making sure that our children understand the importance of earning their rewards as opposed to feeling entitled to a reward. There are way too many people, especially in the town we live in, that have this sense of entitlement, and I do not understand where that comes from. Hard work is important to learn, and Aniston tells me often, "Mom, cleaning up is hard to do." But without learning and developing the work ethic to accomplish responsibilities in life, you just aren't going to get very far and that's not what we want for our children.
At first I told Aniston that if she got all of her smiley's for a week than she could go to the Dollar Tree (thank heavens for the Dollar Tree) and get a prize. However, I quickly realized that for a 2 1/2 year old, doing every responsibility, every day without fail, is really really tough. So we decided that she can lose up to 12 smiley's a week and still get a prize, but no more than that. We didn't tell her that it's okay to not get a smiley and we encourage her daily to get all the smiley's, but sometimes, it just doesn't happen.
Aniston has done such a good job staying motivated and excited about her responsibilities. I have been so impressed with her. But as I have spent so much time focusing on Aniston and helping her understand and realize her daily responsibilities and the importance of accomplishing those things daily, I realized that I was struggling to accomplish my own daily responsibilities. It's not that I don't have the time, because these days I definitely have enough time, but it's hard for me to be motivated sometimes. So, I used Aniston's responsibility chart as a template for my own. I am a list maker! I love to make lists, and even more, I love to cross things off my lists. So having a daily reminder of what needs to be done, and marking things off that list daily does motivate me and helps me to be more productive.
I never want to be hypocritical when it comes to my children. I want to lead by example. I know that in the past I haven't always set the best example, but I am capable of changing that. I am so thankful for the opportunities to change and to grow and to become better. Even though staying at home with my children everyday has been a struggle and such a HUGE change, I feel as though that this is an opportunity to become better. Being a parent has truly taught me more than I ever thought was possible. As I teach my children, I find that I learn and understand so much more than I knew before.
Being a parent is pretty cool.