At some point towards the end of the summer, I had a vision. I was finally putting my label maker to use for another project and this idea hit me. It was like the clouds parted, I squinted into the sun and had visions of happy children and Mommy’s all around the world. Enjoying each and every morning before school.
My vision involved my boys and giving them some responsibilities. Tasks that were clear to them, easy enough for them to do on their own, and things they could do in less than 10 minutes each morning. These things were easy for me to pick out because I spent pretty much all of last school year being a monster about them. Make your bed, get dressed, and brush your teeth. WITHOUT being reminded, nagged, yelled at, etc to do them.
I used the door name plates they already had, clothes pins leftover from a baby shower decoration, and my trusty label maker.
Before bedtime on the eve of Back To School I showed the boys their new flip clip boards. I explained their tasks and what they needed to do each day to flip the clip. I told them that if they did this each day all week long then on Sunday there would be a prize! They asked what kind of a prize and I said they would have to wait and see… because I didn’t know myself yet!
Leave it to procrastination to give me the BEST part of this new system in my house! Originally in my head I planned on going to the Dollar Store and loading up on trinkets, also known as junk that lasts for one hour in my house and then gets thrown away. Well I didn’t get there and all of a sudden it was the weekend. Now what?!?
I decided to make prize cards… instead of
junk trinket trash treasures I made a set of notecards for each of the boys and on each card was a different reward. Some examples are; a donut with Dad on the weekend, an after dinner bike ride with Dad, an hour of iPad play, stay up late on a school night, a dinner date with Mom. For the most part they were the same rewards for each. I also threw in some ‘save’ cards… they could decide to save four weeks worth for a new toy at the store or two weeks worth for a new book at the bookstore.
Sunday night we had their undivided attention and we talked to them about what an awesome job they did the previous week. We put the cards in a hat and each got to pick their reward. Biggest got the one hour of iPad play time and Middle got a donut with Dad on the weekend. Both were over the moon about these. And sure enough, Monday morning they were back at it!
I wondered out loud to a friend that I didn’t have a plan for what I would do if they didn’t do it one day. What would be the point of doing it the rest of the week if you’d already lost the chance for the prize? Genius that she is said to give them a chance to earn it back! Maybe unload the dishwasher, read your sister some stories, help Mommy clean up the basement… things like that! YES!
I know we’re only two weeks in and that there’s a loooong school year ahead of us BUT I feel good about this. And honestly, I’m just as excited about the prizes as they are!