Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Teach Now, Reap Later

OC is playing softball for the first time this spring. There are two games per week come snow, rain or shine, but no practices. She takes one gymnastics class per week for an hour. All of a sudden, we are going somewhere nearly every night. When I imagine if I had more kids, I don't know what I would do. Drink more heavily to numb the cold weather that is spring softball in central Oregon?

Which brings me to ask, what do you do to motivate your kids to do what they're supposed to do? I feel like the town crier, and a redundant one at that with as many times as I have to repeat myself to see any action. "Five o'clock! Time to tidy up!"

I wrote on notecards her chores, bedtime routine, and expectations and posted these on the fridge. The idea is to give her the power to complete what she needs to do each day without being asked multiple times. This way, I am not Taskmaster Mommy. If she chooses not to do them or to leave them incomplete, then we move on to the next paragraph.

I created a smiley-face/frowney-face reward/consequence system. For ten smiley-face stickers earned after completing everything for the morning and one for evening, she pulls a reward out of the reward jar. They are things like, a trip to the ice cream store or baking something special together. The consequence happens after only three frowney-faces, and are things like cleaning something.

What I want to know is, what are you doing to motivate your kids? Does it work? Kids are different and respond to different incentives. So far, this seems to be working. The down side to it is that it's something we have to do every day, twice per day.

The idea I don't like is giving a reward for what should be done normally every day. But then again, this is time to teach good habits.

Unlike SSRI's and a good bottle of wine, won't be necessary to use forever.


Deby said...

I am always after Katya to do what she should be doing. At least when it comes to her having her gear ready, she learned the hard way to do that herself. If you are late for practices or games, you don't play. Good incentive.

With everything else, it is a constant Q & A to see what was done. And I hate having to double check her chores to make sure they were done, but I have to. Uuugh.

ZestyJenny said...

This seems like a really good system to me. Of course I have no advice.

Lady M said...

The endless repetition is getting to me too.

Potty time. Potty time. Potty time. Wash hands - soap, did you wash off all the soap? Dry your hands, are they all dry?

Good heavens, I sound like a recording.