If I had a dollar for every “rewards” system we have tried in the past, my dear darling wouldn’t have to work another day of his life! A while back we tried a system that seemed to work better than any others we had tried. My neighbor gave me the idea. It was amazing, but short-lived, partly because… I wasn’t consistent. I had extreme fatigue and morning sickness causing me to be lazy…. (BIG mistake)… however, since we are only a few weeks away from school, we have instituted this program once again. It is really quite simple and it truly focuses on the positives. Let me give out a disclaimer… I AM STILL LEARNING… and SO ARE MY LITTLE ONES!! I fear that this will be a learning process we will have to practice on until they leave the house!
However, I do know from experience that children will crave ANY attention that they can get, rather it be good attention, or bad attention. It’s important for us as parents to be there at the “crossroads” so to say, to help encourage the good behavior as much as possible. I have one little one in particular who loves to get the bad attention… (He is the one we prayed for patience with…. and we’re being tested on…. DAILY!)
I have taken an old jean pocket for each one of my kids and positioned it onto a peg board. When I get some more time, I intend to put something cute on the board in vinyl such as “Have I done Any Good Today?” or something cute like that. It takes me years to get my vinyl projects. I’m sure you could do something even more clever to make it look really cute. My focus is to get through the day…. not too much on the cutesy end, I’m afraid! Each day I fill my pants pocket or apron pocket with a handful of dry beans. On Sunday evening, I place 5 beans in each child’s peg pocket. I tell them it is because I LOVE them so much! Now, this is where you need to look for the positive in each day. Anytime your child(ren) get caught doing something good, give them a bean for their pocket. If someone picks something up without being told, give them a bean! If they do something good in town, give them a bean when you get home. If someone shows a little bit of kindness to a sibling, give them a bean! If they clean their rooms up in the morning, give them a bean! I think you get the idea! They can also loose their beans…. hitting (fighting), lying, and taking things that aren’t theirs (stealing). Also, if they have been asked to do a job, and they don’t do it, then their bean either comes out of their pocket if I have to do it, OR, if a sibling does their job, they then “pay” their sibling a bean. We try not to make too many rules…. Keep it Simple….
Now for the fun part. Each Sunday evening, we have a family planning meeting of sorts (just to make sure we know what is coming up for the week with everyone’s schedules). Then we start counting beans. For every 10 beans they earn they get to choose a “reward” card. I turn them over so when they are choosing they can not see which card they are picking.
No, they are not going to get financial rewards, such as money or clothing articles, but they are going to get to choose from the following SPECIAL TIME awards:
A board game with Daddy!
An Ice Cream with Mommy!
Stay up 30 min later and have a dessert with Mom and Dad!
Play an outside game with Daddy!
Pick the Friday Night Family Movie!
A bike ride with Mommy!
A bike ride with Daddy!
A board game with Mommy!
Play an outside game with Mommy!
An Ice Cream with Daddy!
Make a dessert with Mommy!
Choose from the Prize Box!
(This one is only very simple things such as a packet of gum, a tie tac, a CTR ring… a mechanical pencil, small paperback book, bookmark, etc., very simple things)
There are many ideas to choose from. This is what works well with us. Our kids LOVE the one on one time with us. It gives us a chance to talk to them only (and in a house with this many people they love it)…. not to mention it forces Ed and I, as busy parents, to take the time to spend one on one with a child. It makes them feel pretty special. It’s all about the positive reinforcements. As I said earlier, we are still learning… and yes, I still mess up…FREQUENTLY! This is my first time of being a mom, you know! There’s still a learning curve!
If you have some fabulous ideas that work for you, let me know!