Thinking Pink

I’m writing from a place that is not my house, that has free WiFi. And French fries.
And many, many old people.

Monday night into Tuesday morning, I was having a little pity party. Feeling like I was spinning my wheels, that the big change I wanted wasn’t happening. I realized a while ago that I just don’t have time to do my other writing projects, that they will have to wait til the kids go to school in the fall. It’s a relief in some ways, to push that back, but it also left me feeling bored. And too broke to make any other big changes.

But luckily, I got inspired Tuesday afternoon — I decided to redo my daughter’s room. Right now it’s a mix of neutral nursery dΓ©cor, from 2006 when my oldest was born, and some random pink stuff. It also is the home of my husband’s inversion machine (he hangs upside down to try to ease his back pain) and the ironing board. She doesn’t sleep in there; she sleeps with me. We got a queen bed off the online yard sale a while back but the boxspring wouldn’t fit up the stairs, so I need a split one.

In short, it’s a small, contained project that needs to be done so that maybe she can actually, you know, sleep in there. I can make up a spreadsheet, look on Pinterest for ideas, hunt down deals on bedding and curtains. Eventually I can repaint her dresser and other furniture, and paint the walls. I just need a contractor to hang new closet doors and redo some of the trim, and my husband probably has a guy who can do that. It shouldn’t be too expensive.

Life will get in the way, I’m sure, but yesterday I went and got paint chips to stick on the wall, and this morning I got the changing table out of the room. It’s been serving as a bookshelf/junk collector ever since baby girl got too big to be changed on it. There’s something I can sell. I also packed away a lot of her books and blankets.

Existential crisis averted.

Changing the subject: I’ve been meaning for a while to write about kids and allowances and chores. An article appeared in Slate recently that confirmed that I have been thinking about these things all wrong. So I readjusted our system for chores. Instead of tying my oldest’s allowance to completion of chores, now he just gets his allowance, no matter what. Completion of chores is instead linked to privileges; mainly, screen time. (And, stressed as something kids do for the good of themselves and the family.) So far this is much better. Like the article says, he had reached a point where he felt like he had enough money, so why do chores? We have a chart on the wall that reminds him what his chores are for each day. Some things need to be done every day (check the compost bucket to see if it needs to be emptied). Some are twice a week (vacuuming; he picked that one). On Sunday, he has to put the trash out. I think that’s it. I will probably add more, because that dude has way more energy than me and I need to capitalize on it.

My four-year-old son is in charge of setting the table every night, and both little kids are responsible for cleaning up all their toys every night, in the playroom, family room, and dining room, in exchange for screen time. I don’t give them money, as of yet, but I’m wondering if I should start with my younger son.

The whole “screen time” thing is another issue. Between my laptop, three smartphones, the TV, the tablet, and Wii, those three sets of eyes are seeing a lot of screens. We need to crack down further on rampant screen use/abuse. It’s hard for me because the quiet that descends when they are all playing something is so wonderful. But the sense of entitlement they are developing as far as these devices is getting out of control. I try to keep the middle part of the day screen-free; I don’t feel bad about letting them play Subway Surfer at 6:42 a.m. on a Saturday while I nod off on the couch for a while, for example. But they are always scheming to get their hands on a device (or better yet, a device already in use by someone else).

I would love to hear how you handle allowances, chores, and screen time. Unless you have banned all screens. That is never going to happen.

Hand over your smartphone, and your wallet

Hand over your smartphone, and your wallet

5 responses to “Thinking Pink

  1. My kids are older (16 & 15) and I don’t give them allowance. When they were little they got it but as they got older they asked for so much extra money for activities and what not and didn’t do many chores so I cut it out. Now if they need money they ask for it and depending on their behavior and if they did what they were supposed to do they will get what they need. I’ll probably do the same with the little ones when they are old enough also.
    As far as chores go my kids don’t have much to do but their stuff is daily (dishes, cat box, clean room, laundry and trash) and random things (bathroom, vacuum, yard work, snow shoveling, etc) that I’ll ask for.
    Our screen time is simple.. Do your chores or you don’t get wifi. I also cut it off for behavior problems too (my son mostly) that whipped them into shape really quick and now only need one reminder. If they have their stuff done they can use the tv and Internet all they want but again they are older.
    If you find them fighting over or sneaking gadgets I’d suggest bookmarking your wifi settings and get in the habit of just cutting it off when you have to. It’s unbelievable how much of a difference it made here and it is kind of a pain to switch everything in the beginning but once they know you mean business it doesn’t need to be done too often. πŸ™‚
    I can’t wait to hear about the progress in your daughters room! I live for home makeovers and decorating!! It’s great to have a project to work on, too! I hope you’ll keep us updated πŸ™‚

  2. Good idea about the wifi! I like it! Yeah, I just need to be the boss again, I think. It should be them asking me for the device to begin with, not me asking them to give it back to me.
    I’m excited about her room. I was Pinning stuff last night. I love home makeovers too. I will definitely be posting pictures! I hope it doesn’t take all summer…

  3. Even if it does it will be worth it πŸ™‚ You’ll love it more if you take your time finding things you love and won’t get burned out trying to rush. That’s what I tell myself anyway because things always take so long lol

    As far as being the boss — the sooner the better, I really had a rough few years with my oldest ones and still do sometimes. I wish things had happened differently and we didn’t hit all those bumps but eh life happens. Just know you’ll always be the one in control, even if it doesn’t always feel like it. They might be smart but you can always be a step ahead lol

  4. They had their first taste of “no screen time” last night, for failing to do their jobs… They were in agony! So indignant. It was kind of funny.

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