Saturday, March 7, 2009

A new approach

Taking a cue from Joey's first grade teacher, who rewards the kids with "Buckaroo Bucks" for good behavior, which, when accumulated, can then be used to purchase items from the "class store" (i.e., a box filled with trinkets and stuff), I've decided to institute this same form of bribery reward system at home. My usual method is:

~ Ask them (okay, tell them) what they need to do (e.g., clean up their toys, etc.)
~ Whining usually ensues
~ I get aggravated, which results in raising my voice and repeating my request/order
~ More whining
~ Threats are then made
~ Children throw themselves on the floor in utter misery as if they live in a chamber of torture
~ Yelling from me
~ Crying from them
~ More threats
~ Full blown tantrum

(And people have this silly idea that my kids are perfect. Haaa!)

Anyway, you see the pattern. It takes a lot of energy and time, and frankly, it just doesn't work.

Let me say, too, that on principal, I am not a fan of this whole reward system. I believe that kids should do what they're told - should do what they're supposed to do, just because. I really don't think that being cooperative or cleaning up one's mess without a fight should earn anyone a prize - it's just the way it's supposed to be. That said, I see that that only works in a perfect world, in which I and my family do not live. So I'm resorting to this:

I made this up on the trusty computer today, printed off about 20 of them and went to the 99 cent store and bought a bunch of crap small toys to use as rewards. I placed all the junk rewards in a "treasure box" and told the kids (actually just Joey and the twins since they're the ones who need this motivation and Lilah's too young to get it and Kevin is too old, obviously) that they can earn ONE Good Kid Buck for each good deed, act of cooperation, etc., and when they have 5 bucks, they can buy something from the Treasure Box. It may just be a novelty right now, but today it worked like a charm.

Stay tuned.


Carla said...

Hey, you're a he** of a lot more creative than I am! Claire is currently responding to getting a sticker for each time she gets right into her big girl bed for her nap and doesn't get out until her nap is over. This can't possibly last forever and so I'm keeping your idea in my back pocket. Thanks and keep me posted on how it goes.

Leigh Anne said...

hey, whatever works, right?! honestly. when i was in this particularly annoying math class in college (ok, the class was fine; i hated the prof, lol)...he gave out "math dollars". You could earn one if you answered a question in class or helped out a peer, etc. etc. Then, you could exchange them for "points" if you had 5 math dollars and you got a 91 on an now have a 96. good concept, but college? hahah. yeah, I stormed out of his class on the 2nd day and never looked back :)