What? You can't tell my you don't spend hours in the shower coming up with schemes to trick your kids into being perfect angels? I mean, of course, hours cumulatively accrued over several days of showers. Even I have not found a way to hide in the bathroom for hours at a time.
Surely you too sit up in bed, wide awake, when new evil plans strike? Jump with joy at the excuse to use spreadsheets? Just know that this time you've discovered the holy grail of reward systems that will make the kids beg you to do their chores, never think of fighting, and keep a spotless room.
It can't be just me, because that would make me odd. Almost as odd as falling in love with a laminator or keeping stacks of failed job charts lying around to remember all your other brilliant ideas that were really more like semi-burned out ones. But let's not go there.
So anyway, I've been trying to perfect my *Put Beads in a Jar as a Source of Rewards* technique since I introduced it- and shortly thereafter abandoned it- almost a year ago. Mixing in an idea spurred from the ever brilliant Momza, I think I may have finally succeeded. (The post I am referring to seems to have disappeared or I would link to it- *updated- Momza found the post for me- I told you she is brilliant- so now it is all properly linked)
How can I be so sure it is working you ask? Let me show you how I measure my success thus far:
- My children were fighting today over who "got" to take out the garbage.
- Kids are begging me to assign them chores in the morning
- The mention of special, extra chores are met with cheers.
- I went several days without the kids asking to use the TV or computer
- I have yet to hear, "I'm bored."
So anyway, that's how I've spent my first week and a half of summer. I'll see you later.
You want to know what I've done? Oh, all right. Just because I love you.
The Actual Plan
I printed out a couple pages of requirements with assigned value. For instance, getting chore and bedroom finished before breakfast are each worth a certain amount (3 and 2 marbles respectively). Reading a book to Matthew is worth a marble (max of 2/day). Brushing teeth, sorting socks, unloading dishwasher- all assigned value.
Then there is the list of Costs. These are things I don't want to happen and cost them marbles. Things like yelling(-2), not completing chores(-5), leaving our shoes(-1), etc.
Finally there is the list of Options, or things for which they can exchange their marbles and are working toward.
Each child has a jar with their own color of marbles.
More on How Well it is Working:
I'm telling you it is the best plan EVER. Some kids watch TV or eat snacks every day. Others are super savers, waiting for the money. They all only lose marbles a couple times before they really start trying to remember the rules. They are learning about budgeting and moderation, that work equals pay, that delayed gratification is worth waiting for.
This morning we decided to get the ice cream treat they'd saved for, only one child (the one who had a couple fits yesterday and lost too many marbles) was short SIX marbles. He never did a chore so quickly. Not to mention the joy at being offered an extra chore for the lacking numbers.
I repeat, JOY for GETTING to do an EXTRA chore.
Also, Matthew has been read a dozen books a day. The girls room is working on a record for number of days clean. The TV is staying off most of the time without any complaints. I'm hoping I can keep it up, because I'm liking my summer plan so far.
Here is a list of my current award chart, although remember it is still a work in progress.