The Experiment

The Experiment: Day One

June 28, 2012

Having read Kay Wyma’s Cleaning House, and this New Yorker article about how indulged American kids are vs. kids around the world, I’ve decided to nip the tidal wave of stuff and entitlement flowing through our home, I am embarking on a version of Kay’s Experiment. Over the next 12 months my kids, my whole family really, will focus on personal¬†responsibility, life skills, service to others and encouraging¬†independence. Read about our journey here. And please, pray for my sanity and join in with your advice and stories!

Task list with pictures for Ben, my non reader. Gwen has one too, without pictures, per her request.

Yesterday the kids decorated mason jars with a ridiculous amount of stickers and I filled those jars with $34 dollars (a dollar a day for whats left of June and all of July). I supervised the kids tidying up their rooms and we talked about what clutter is, the definition of a clean room (I think Ben and Harry will be lawyers one day) and I made a list of what they need to do to KEEP the dollars in their jars -which are in prominent positions in their rooms. My kids share rooms, the boys, Ben, 6, and Harry, 7, and the girls, Gwen, 9, Jane, 2.5, and Maisie, 1. The rules are they have to do these four things before they come downstairs. I am not reminding them, merely checking to see if they’ve done all 4 things. If they have not, I take a dollar from their jar. No discussion, excuses, second chances.


The tasks:

1. Make your bed

2. No clutter/piles in their rooms (this includes fully closing dresser drawers)

3.Brush your teeth

4.  Dress appropriately (as in appropriate for weather, season and occasion appropriate РHarry asked if underwear are always necessary *headbang*)


We’ve talked about this several times a day for the last two days. I asked the kid’s to define clean, we’ve talked about clothing choices – what to wear to church, camp, play outside, etc. We had a practice run last night and I corrected any problems and we went to bed.

This morning, Harry came down first. He’d completed #s 1, 2 and 4. He did not brush his teeth. I sent him up to do so and came up with him to take a dollar. Harry freaked a bit and said “but I just forgoooooot!” But settled down fairly quickly when I kept calm and reminded him that’s why he has a list next to his door and encouraged him to look at it tomorrow before coming down stairs.

Ben was the next one up and I could hear him “reading” through the list and doing each item before he came down (cute!).

Gwen also ran through the list.

Day one – 2 out of 3 got it!

Anyone else game to try out this Experiment? Have any tips to share on keeping kids engaged and un-entitled? Share!


No gifts for our kids, please.

June 26, 2012

This is a note I’m sending out to friends and family….it something that this last year, with 5 kids birthdays, Christmas, Easter and a bazillion little gift holidays, has made abundantly clear. We are facing a stuff epidemic that is feeding into a disturbing and growing sense of entitlement and child-run homes. By “we” I’m […]

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