Talking About Barbara

“I’m sad today,” I said to my kids.

I didn’t want it to be a big deal. I wanted it to be like one of Kate’s thousand little conversations, casually mentioned and repeated over time so that the lesson gradually and naturally sinks in.

But a thousand little conversations have to start somewhere.

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Four Strategies to Keep the Chore Momentum Going

If you’ve ever started a new exercise program, you knows it’s one thing to begin an undertaking … and quite another to keep the wheels turning.

After many false starts, we’re in a pretty sweet spot where my kids do their chores consistently, without too many reminders or much complaining.

How did we get here? Read on for four strategies we use to keep the chore momentum going.

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In Search of the Elusive, Perfect Chore Chart

I have an obsession — some would call it a weird obsession — with chore charts. I make lots of them. Simple ones and complex ones. Ones with hand-drawn pictures and ones with words and bullet points and diagrams. Ones in painstaking detail for each portion of the day, and ones that show a sweeping overview of the entire week.

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A Different Way of Listening

“Otto honey, come sit down and listen to the rest of the story.” I patted the spot next to me on the couch, smiling at my four-year old son. We had been reading Thomas and Percy and the Dragon, one of his favorite Thomas the Train stories. When Percy the Small Engine suddenly saw a very frightening dragon, Otto leapt to his feet in excitement and started racing around the room.

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Crabby and Human

“Mama, you are the queen of crabby and tired!” proclaimed seven-year old Etta, hands on her hips. I glared at her. Me, crabby? I was NOT crabby, dammit! So what if I had snapped at her once or twice. Ok, maybe three or four times. “Finish your snack already!” “Stop hitting your brother!” “Don’t leave your candy wrapper lying around, I’m not your maid!”

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