Monday, 27 April 2015

Autism Awareness: Chores and pocket money

From learning about autism and speaking to parents/professionals, it became really clear to use their love of routines and order to help train your child.  I was advised what you put in place as a child will follow them through, as they get older.  For example, I was told how some children with ASD who have obsessions with computer games find it really difficult to manage their time as they become teenagers - that they often will play on through the night, every night.  I took this advice and we implemented a 30 minute computer time limit.  If they need to do homework, this will be on top.  As they get older, the time may well increase but they will know it is limited.  They have the opportunity to earn extra time and on birthdays, Christmas they can have unlimited time (TBH we are normally really busy on these days so its quite easy to manage).  Another thing they pointed out, was that this can be applied to house chores...
I am a stay at home mum and I like to look after the home and my boys.  I like to do things for them and have things 'nice'.  My husband works full time and these traditional roles work well for us - as he has no interest/clue in these areas.  His idea of cooking is ordering take away.  What I didn't realise in doing this, was that we were building up a pattern of how our son expects the world to work.  We just believed it was an efficient way to use our skills for our home/family, and on my part, it was an expression of love for my family.  We had a talk with him and it became quite clear that he believed all housework etc is woman's work and therefore he didn't need to learn or do it (he was 8).  I was not happy, this is not how I wanted to raise my sons and if he were to get married, my future daughter in law would certainly not be thankful! I have no idea if B will be called into marriage (I do pray and hope for this) and how it would all work out but I know he needs to learn these skills to be independent.  I do not expect him to have a love for the home in the same way I do but I would want him to be able to look after himself, which is my hope for all my sons.  It would be harder to ask him to do this as he gets older (as he will become more set in his ways, not impossible but harder) so we implemented chores into our daily routines.  We didn't want to single him out, so the whole family enlisted.  We found a job for the 2 year old too (I am pretty sure it was his job to pass us things like spoons but he felt and everyone saw he was part of the team).

As some of our children have sensory processing disorders, one of the treatments for their tactile defensiveness/sensory seeking behaviours is to do heavy weight muscle work.  This includes sweeping and wiping down tables.  By getting our children to do chores, we are also helping them to do their OT exercises and aid their development.
I enjoy watching a TV program called 19 kids and counting.  I am quite fascinated by how large families work and I love their approach and the way their kids are.  I bought their books, to learn more.  I was impressed by how they organise everything so thought about how we could apply this to our family.  We want our children to grow up to have a good work ethic so each chore has a monetary value but at the same time, if we asked them to do something, we didn't want them to expect to be paid to do anything for someone else.  So we have devised a 'family service and chore plan'.  Some tasks we do to help us work together well as a family, others are paid jobs.  We also make it clear that tidying up after yourself is expected, not a 'job' along with keeping yourself clean.  We have a book which lists all the jobs and it records how much money they earn.  I find the most practical method is to run the book as a bank account, otherwise with 4 kids I'd be forever needing change.  The chores/service tasks are age appropriate.  We expect the job to be done properly or otherwise they don't get paid and they have just wasted their time.  We feel this is a good work practise to get them into.  It sounds like I now get the housework off but trust me I don't.  I have to manage the jobs and teach them how to do it.  They have some set jobs which are rotated each day and then there are ad hoc jobs which they can do as and when they arise or if they want the extra money.  It would be easier to just do it but I know by letting them do it I am teaching them more, even though they really do not appreciate the lesson.

Family service tasks:- empty dishwasher, making drinks, getting out breakfast stuff - asking what everyone would like, getting out spoons, loading dishwasher

Rotated chores: Wiping table, sweeping kitchen floor, drying up, wiping down chairs/cleaning dirty spots on the floor.  We charge between 10-40p depending on the job, which may sound really small but over the week it averages about £1.80.  They then have the opportunity to earn more.

Adhoc jobs: Cleaning the car outside/inside, vacuuming the car, pairing up and sorting socks/underwear,  emptying bins, cleaning cupboards etc

No comments:

Post a Comment