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Chores Bingo

Update: I originally wrote this post back in 2012! Since then my kids have grown and so have their chores. We no longer have the guinea pig, and a lot of the issues we needed to address back then have improved. I recently updated the Chores Bingo list to make it more up to date with the tasks they need to learn to handle on their own as they move into their teen and young adult years. Hopefully it will help them learn the tasks they will need to do on their own when they eventually move out of the house! I’ve uploaded it and it is linked below.

 

chores bingo

Chores Bingo rocks!

I am one of those bad mothers–you know, the kind who let their kids play video games all day long. From the Wii, to the DS, to their iPods or their Leapsters, this house is lousy with video games! There aren’t a lot of kids around here for my kids to play with, so they’re stuck indoors a lot while I work. I also have found that because my kids are visual learners, that both of them have learned some pretty good lessons from their video games. There’s the typical Leapster learning games which helped both kids learn how to read and write; but my kids have also learned a lot of life skills from their other video games as well. JD has a pretty significant performance anxiety–he won’t attempt anything he doesn’t know he will succeed at. It is through losing at video games that he has gotten much better in this area. It also has been a great social connection tool for him with other boys his age–they have something in common to talk about and do together. LittleMissSunshine plays way fewer games than her brother does, but she has begun to learn that perseverance pays off–to not give up the first time you fail. That may not sound like a big deal to many moms, but for us in the KnowitAll household learning how to fail, analyze why you did and trying again is a big lesson in being successful in life.

Still, they’re not ideal. I may be a “bad” mom, but I don’t want my kids in front of the TV 24/7.  I want them to learn life lessons, to get out and enjoy the summer, and most of all, to know that TV and video games are a priviledge, not a right. Because of that, we have gotten clever with our rules. I don’t mind them playing the games as long as they have earned them. We start each day with Chores Bingo. Get five chores in a row to have any electronics. First to bingo controls the Wii for the first two hours of game play!

I didn’t make the chores extra hard, or all that difficult to complete quickly. The idea was mainly to teach them some good habits–to pick up every day as you go along, to keep your room and the house tidy. I never learned that lesson. God bless my mother, but she hadn’t learned it from her mother to teach it to me. I am working hard to make sure my kids learn it! The chores we listed are simple, but important to young kids as they learn to develop daily routines. Plus, by making it into a game, it helps keep them from being painful, routine chores and more into a bit of fun every morning. They have a reward to look forward to in the end–they get to play video games!

Chores Bingo

Chores Bingo Rules:

  1. You must complete the full task list that day to put your marker on the bingo sheet.
  2. There will be NO electronics until the day’s tasks are finished.
  3. Set a timer for 15 minutes and Get. It. Done.
  4. No Whining Allowed—Whiners will do MY chore for the day.
  5. Complete all of the tasks listed unless it says to choose one.

I’ve uploaded a pdf copy of our chores bingo list, Chores Bingo 2015 so that you can use it if you want. Or make your own!  A few tips:

  • Have a good mix of chores for the kids to choose from: some easy, some hard. Mix them up in a row so that there’s a good balance.
  • Be realistic as to what they can get done in a short time.
  • Repeat some of the chores several times, especially if they’re ones you want them to do every day. You’ll notice I’ve got things like pet care, picking up their clothes, and making their bed on there a few times. That virtually assures me those chores will get done every day!
  • Add in hygeine skills you might be struggling with. Because my oldest has extreme sensory issues in his mouth, he hates to brush his teeth. By adding that to the list of “chores” it made it his decision to do it and not us standing over him yelling about it.
  • Mix it up! We quickly found they fell into a groove and do the same chores every day. Each month I rotate the spaces on the board to get them to try other chores as well. Sometimes I’ll throw a bonus prize out if they do an extra space on the board.
  • Have fun with it! Keep it light and fun, as a reward system. Keep punishment away from the chart. Don’t take away a piece they’d rightfully earned because they later did something wrong. That will kill what fun and rewards there are in this system in a heartbeat.
At first we had a few groans and whines, but I made it clear that games are a priviledge, one they’d have to earn. We learned several years ago in therapy with my son (who has Aspergers) that he responds particularly well to rewards systems–he could care less about punishments but he was very aggressive in earning priviledges and rewards. We’ve had many different rewards charts over the years, and they all have worked well in one form or another. We do have punishments here in the house, but we’ve found that if we’re teaching them that the things they want in life are priviledges instead of things they’re owed, that they work to earn them. We don’t have to discipline them or restrict them all that much because of it. Chores bingo is just the beginning of our day. We also have time set aside every day to do learning exercises together; from family devotion and worship time to going outside to photo walks, we make sure to have a good variety during each and every day. But Chores Bingo is a great start to the day–they know that any downtime they get that they can decide what they want to do with it because they’ve earned that priviledge. And as a mom, I love that they’re learning that lesson while they’re still young!

Sunset Power Juice

Sunset Power Juice

Several years ago my husband came home with this crazy idea: let’s juice our foods! I honestly thought he was nuts, but I humored him. We picked up a cheap Oster juicer at the store just to try it out. He would come up with these concoctions and try to get me to try them, but I just wasn’t interested. A few weeks in I decided I would try it myself, and fell in love! The juices he’d make me tasted soooo good! Who knew carrots and pineapple could taste that good together?

Fast forward a few years and we are still juicing, some months more than others. We just recently finished up a big ten day juice cleanse (details to come soon!) and have decided to continue to juice five days a week, just to keep giving our bodies that extra boost of micronutrients and juice power. Both of us felt like our bodies–and especially our brains–had been switched on during the juice cleanse. It’s hard to explain, except to say we somehow felt like a switch had suddenly been turned on.

Tonight I was playing around and came up with my favorite concoction yet. (If I’m honest much of the “playing” came because we are almost out of produce and this was a combo of what we still have left. I need to hit the produce co-op tomorrow!) It has beets, sweet potato, carrots, pineapple and orange in it. It was SO yummy! Even my husband, who usually hates vegetables, loved it! The beets and the sweet potato gave it a hearty, sweet flavor; the pineapple lightened it up as did the carrots; and the oranges brightened it all with a little citrus kick. Everything blended together to be sweet, but not too sweet–with just a little citrus kick. Even better? The glass is so jam-packed with vitamins! Because of the beautiful sunset color and the power-packed combination of fruits and veggies, I’m calling this drink my Sunset Power Juice. Not only does it pack a powerful punch of vitamins, but the sweet potato lends it an earthy, starchy feel that really makes this feel like a full meal. You won’t be hungry after this one!

Sunset Power Juice (1 of 1)-2

Isn’t it gorgeous? It tastes as good as it looks!

Sunset Power Juice

(makes two 19 oz servings)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pineapple
  • 4 carrots
  • 4 beets
  • 2 oranges
  • 1 large sweet potato

Slice and juice all of the ingredients in a juicer, then mix well. (If you don’t have a juicer you can use a blender to make this a smoothie.) You can drink this right away, but I prefer to chill mine in the freezer while I clean my juicer. It tastes even better cold!

Not only does this taste delicious, but it is filled with super foods! One glass gives you all these nutrients:

Beets are a superfood, well known to lower cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure. They are power-packed with antioxidants, folates, vitamin C, B6, potassium, iron, zinc and magnesium.

Sweet potatoes are often overlooked as a health food, but a health food they most certainly are! Packed with more vitamin A than any other vegetable, they’re also loaded with immune boosting carotenoids! Just one glass of this juice has more than 200% of the daily RDA of vitamin A! Sweet potato juice is also loaded with iron, beta carotene, folate, calcium, potassium, vitamin E, vitamin C, and copper.

Carrots are well known as a health food, but their sweet goodness makes them a juicing superstar. It is rich in vitamin A, B1, B2, B6, C, E and K. It is also a good source of proteins like riboflavin and thiamine; and anti-oxidants like alpha and beta-carotene.

Pineapple juice contains nearly 50% of the daily requirement for vitamin C intake. This helpful nutrient works to implement the use of vital enzymes within the body that regulate metabolism and energy conversion. Plus it’s chocked full of potassium, calcium, and high levels of B6.

Of course, you already knew oranges are one of the great health foods in the world, didn’t you? But did you know that beyond the powerful punch of vitamin c, that fresh orange juice is also loaded with vitamin A, B6, thiamin, folate, riboflavin and niacin?

One last tip: if you aren’t used to juicing citrus, check out this YouTube tutorial on how to quickly peel lemons, limes, oranges and any other citrus with a knife. It is soooo quick and easy!

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