Only have time to reply to one post right now; I'll start with this one.
The example of charging a dime to pick a kid's stuff off the floor for them: I could have told you that would not work
Allright, allright. DoubleDOwn, since your first post in this thread, you've grown on me. Even though you started right out with an insult ("absolutely no way a SAHM does not have time to maintain an orderly household with 3 kids") that took no account of all the possible challenges that I (or any other SAHM or any other mom or dad for that matter) could be facing, I didn't write you off completely. You are right on with what you're saying about my stupid dime idea, and starting today I'm doubling my efforts to ensure there is one toy or project (per kid) out at a time. Doing this with a one-year-old in the mix, who considers it his job to take things off shelves and shove things off tables and dump Legos all over the floor and divert my attention from what the other boys are doing, does present a bit more of a challenge, and to be fair to the older two I need to figure out how to keep track of who got out what---as well as work with the baby on picking up after himself.
HOWEVER: would you mind easing up on the discouraging remarks? I love your ideas, as well as a lot of the other ones being shared here. But do ya HAVE to accompany your advice with "I could have told you that wouldn't work," "you should be able to do this, no problem" etc.? Does belittling someone who is obviously NOT spending her days chatting on the phone and watching Dr. Phil really accomplish anything?
(ok...and now to continue with our regularly scheduled programming)
and the lesson you unwittingly taught them is Mom will pick up after you for the right price.
I really do think you're right here.
There is NO connection you have set up for a child to build on to gain responsibility. The logical consequence of a kid not picking their things up is they can't get anything else out to play with, or do anything else until the item is picked up.
I'm not completely convinced that there's absolutely NO connection, but I can agree that the connection might be weak. The logical consequence...again, I'm not totally sure; I think that the logical consequence, really, is that things get lost and people get hurt because they trip over stuff. However, I do think that not getting anything else out till the prior thing picked up is a reasonable consequence. I can work with that.
Ten cents to a small child is meaningless.
Heh. You have not met my kids. :)
Or at the age it does become meaningful, they just might decide to pay that fee to watch you clean up after them.
Yeah, that is definitely not a direction I want to go.
These kinds of lessons day in and day out will almost certainly translate into lazy, entitled, and irresponsible teens and adults (typically associated with delinquency, drug use, hanging with the wrong crowd, etc.).
Wow...I think I'd better go search their backpacks now!
Getting to play with a toy matters to kids though, so having that limited until they pick up their other stuff will instill in them that their behavior has consequences. That kind of lesson day in and day out will translate into responsible teens and adults, even when "no one is looking."
Yep. I'm 100% on board with you there.
Or asking about making oatmeal -- assuming that was a rhetorical question by you, then when the kid answers "No I don't want to", the next statement is a clear choice with limits: "Well you can either help make oatmeal, or you won't eat. Which do you choose?" If they choose not to make the oatmeal, that's it, the consequence (not eating) is realized, and the matter is resolved until the next meal time, period. You can be pretty certain their hunger will change their approach for the next meal time. They learned a valuable lesson that their actions have real, understandable consequences, and it becomes part of their character.
Yeah I know, I really did goof on that oatmeal day. I hadn't decided, before I asked the question, where I was going with it. I really didn't intend to require him to do it on that particular morning; I didn't think I would have to because I thought he would want to do it. Since I didn't set it up as a choice between making it or going hungry from the getgo, I didn't feel like I could switch tactics with him midstream. So in that case, I just let it go. But in the past week I have had much better success with getting my guys to do stuff---so see, we're getting better. :)
And that's all I can say tonight. Thanks again, all.