The New and Improved Behavior Reward System

behavior_reward_system

This morning I was awakened to the sound of children emptying the dishwasher and vacuuming the living room. An hour later, I am drinking coffee alone on the porch while they are making their beds.

Balancing a large blended family has never been easy.  It is even more difficult now that we are in a house that is about 1/2 the size of what we need.  But, we’ve always made it work by trying to keep to a schedule and having some sort of “behavior reward system.”  This summer, the system needed to be updated because of Dad’s crazy work schedule and to help save on finances. So far, it’s working brilliantly!  Here’s what I’ve done…

After I pulled an all-nighter putting together the new “behavior reward system,” all five kids woke up to the new system explained in this letter:

 We have a NEW AND IMPROVED BEHAVIOR REWARD SYSTEM!  Here’s how it works…

Each of you have a jar below.  Throughout the day you will have opportunities to earn beads to put in your jar.  Every weekend we will have a REWARD DAY!  You must have earned at least 30 beads throughout the week to get your REWARD.  You must earn your beads AND KEEP THEM!  Yes, you can lose your beads and miss out on REWARD DAY, so let’s not do that!  :)

You automatically CAN earn 6 beads a day!  6 beads multiplied by 7 days is how many, Addy!? :)   42, correct!  You can earn 6 beads a day by following the schedule and taking care of your duties during the day.  Beads will be awarded for:

  • 1 BEAD  in the morning for brushing your teeth, making your bed, and cleaning up your room BEFORE MOM CHECKS YOUR ROOM IN THE MORNING.  This means you will have to work together as a team!  :)
  • 1 BEAD for doing a good job on your morning chores without having to be reminded.
  • 1 BEAD for being quiet during rest time.  You can read, write in your journal, or take a nap!
  • 1 BEAD for getting your schoolwork done quickly and for staying on task!
  • 1 BEAD for doing a good job on your evening chores without having to be reminded.
  • 1 BEAD for brushing your teeth and getting into bed on time!

You may also be rewarded with beads during the day for being kind, being generous, being helpful, or doing extra chores without having to be asked!  Mom and Dad have the power to give beads whenever they want!

You will LOSE beads for:
Arguing/Fighting
Whining
Name-calling
Not treating others how you want to be treated.
Having the most misplaced stuff in the basket at the end of the day.
… Or doing anything else to be a brat!  :)

ANYONE CAUGHT STEALING OR SNEAKING BEADS WILL LOSE ALL BEADS AND REWARDS FOR AT LEAST 2 WEEKS AND BE GROUNDED FROM ELECTRONICS AND TELEVISION FOR 5 DAYS MINIMUM.

Not only do you have the opportunity for a REWARD each week, once you earn 50 beads you will get to choose a BONUS REWARD FROM THE PINS ON THE BOARD!  The REWARDS are going to be awesome and you don’t want to miss out!
YOU GUYS ARE THE BEST KIDS ON THE PLANET!!! I’m so lucky and blessed to be your Mom.
Love you tons,
Mommy

The jars are super-simple, made from some random Mason jars I had in storage:

The Bonus Reward Tickets can be whatever you want.  The key is to keep them fun, but easy and cheap for Mom & Dad so you can stay consistent with the system! Some of ours are: Out to Lunch with Dad, Redbox DVD Rental, 1 Hour of Uninterrupted Time on the XBox, etc.  You can even download the template I created here:  kid_reward_system_tickets.

Behavior Reward Day will be different each week. I don’t have them all planned out yet and the kids are helping me come up with ideas. I’m letting them help with ideas so they can work toward the reward THEY WANT. Some reward days will be Bruster’s Ice Cream Parlor, the movies, and a backyard campout.

I’ll say it again… the KEY IS CONSISTENCY.  This requires a little work on the part of the parent, but it is well worth the reward!  I can attest to that as I write in peace with my “Maurader’s Map” coffee cup… MISCHIEF MANAGED!  :)

Please drop me a comment if you have any other great ideas!


The Beer Drinking Angel – Other Stuff I Write About

Beer Drinking Angel

In case you are interested, I’ve started a new blog. The Beer Drinking Angel is going to be a lot of my personal life journey. Particularly my struggles with faith and religion. I hope you will stop by and engage over there as well. I will still be writing faithfully about my crazy life day to day on Your Crazy Mom.


Top Ten Things Not To Say to a Mother of Five

Top Ten Your Crazy Mom

There are a lot of “lists” out there detailing sound advice on matters of what not to say to your children or what not to say in a job interview… I’m going to give you a top ten list that could Save. Your. Life.

When you get married, the buzz question from well-meaning family and friends automatically is, “When are you going to have kids?”  When the baby finally comes along, the hype is a little less, but everyone now wants to know the ETA of baby number two.  After your second child, people sometimes ask if you want to have more, but two is an acceptable number of offspring and the masses, generally, leave the issue alone.

But when you have four, five, or more kids – EVERYONE has questions or commentary on the matter.

The Top Ten Things to NEVER Say to a Stressed-Out, Crazy Mom of Five:

10.  “Are they ALL yours?”
Why does it matter if each child attached to my hip was also once attached to my uterus? Must I have stretch marks and a loose cervix for them to all qualify as mine?  This question is particularly tacky in front of my children.  Here’s why: I shouldn’t have to label and distinguish them to you, particularly in their presence.  It makes me… and them uncomfortable.  I feed them, I sing them to sleep, and I am dragging them around the grocery store, suffering your inquisition.  Yes, they are mine.  End of story.

9.  “No wonder you look so insert adjective here (exhausted, stressed, homicidal).”
You are either stupid or very stupid to ask this question.  Because here’s the truth: I am exhausted, stressed, and homicidal a lot of the time.  Don’t be stupid.

8. “You look great for having five kids!”
I’m still trying to figure out if this is a compliment or an insult.  I mean, I look great opposed to what?  Would my current physique be a disappointment if I were merely a mother of two? Urrmm?  My second thought is, of course I look great!  It’s not like I have a whole lot of time to just sit on my butt, right?  There is ONE time that this rule is excusable: If I am in my bikini by a body of water.  If that is the case – bring on the praise!

7.  “You must be really fertile!”
Unless you are my doctor and you are discussing options of shutting my ovaries down permanently, you are never, EVER allowed to compliment or criticize my overly productive reproductive system. Period.

6.  “I hope you’ve had your tubes tied.”
Really?  Don’t ask this unless you want to see how it feels to have your tongue tied.

5.  “You know that is what got you into this mess.”
Not that Daddy tries to hump my leg in public or anything, but we are a very affectionate couple.  Trust me, we don’t need a reminder of the birds and the bees; our birth-control begins with the screaming for pancakes at around 7AM every morning.

4.  “Can you do insert favor here for me?”
No.  The answer is no.  You know why?  Because I have FIVE kids.  I’m resentful every day that I need to take a shower because I don’t have time to afford it.  The last thing I want – or need – is to do something for you.  I’m going to begin using this response – “Sure, if you’ll babysit.”  I’m sure that is a certain cure for neediness.

3.  Here’s the story, of a lovely lady…”
I’ve never heard that joke before.  You’re really funny.  Ha. Ha. Ha.

2.  “Imagine when they all go to college!  Yikes.”
My oldest kid is nine, and currently, my biggest financial fear is how much our health insurance deductible is because our youngest son was apparently born half human-half chimpanzee.  Please don’t remind me that I will have 5 children in college at the same time and that it is probably going to cost both of my kidneys to send them all.  Trust me, I haven’t forgotten.

And last, but unfortunately not least…

1.  “What’s one more?”
I’ll tell you what ONE MORE is.  ONE MORE equals out to somewhere around $216,000 over the next eighteen years, based on recent numbers posted by the ASDA, Expenditures on Children by Families.  This astronomical amount does not even include getting five through college and then sending the ONE MORE baby.  ONE MORE means, now that all five are finally able to wipe their own butts, I’m buying diapers and getting my pillows pooped on at 3AM.  ONE MORE means, now that all five are able to feed themselves, my boobs are utters once again and there are smashed peas slung all over the walls in my kitchen.  ONE MORE means, having a house-full of pre-teens and a terrible two-year old.  People who suggest this ludicrous ONE MORE theory, act as though we may be contemplating adopting another beta fish.

Are we contemplating it?  Not directly.  I’m currently contemplating if there would be enough Xanax in the world for ONE MORE.

 


Man Nipples

mannipples

“Yes, they are funny, but we don’t touch other people’s nipples.”

We’ve all had those moments of being engaged in dialogue when, as the speaker, you receive an unforeseen blow of conversational whiplash.  Those times when you mentally take a step back and wonder, Did I actually just say that out loud??

As the matriarch of this circus sideshow, I have experienced too many conversations to count that I never thought I would have with another human being.

All of our boys – dad included – refuse to wear shirts in the summertime.  So, man nipples have been a constant source of intrigue and discussion in our house.  Man nipples are funny and pointless, and they get a lot of unwanted attention around here.  It all began with our eldest son who continually walks around pinching them as if they are stress-relieving pressure points.  Without thinking, I called him out in front of his siblings.  ”Son, are you afraid your nipples are going to mysteriously vanish?  Leave your nipples alone.”

That was my first mistake.  Sometimes, the best course you can take as a parent is to just keep your mouth shut.  Suddenly, the other two boys also discovered their man nipples, and it’s been a nipplefest ever since.

Then the girls got involved, and girls are mean.  A few days later, I heard shrieking in the living room and then Dad escorted our eldest daughter into our bedroom.  ”Mom, you’re going to have to handle this one.  Please explain to your daughter why we don’t touch other people’s nipples.”

Our daughter had apparently attempted a nipple-ectomy on her brother.  How do you keep a straight face in the midst of that conversation?

Effective communication skills are absolutely vital to being a parent.  Even the strongest convictions and beliefs are absolutely useless if you are unable to convey them to your children.  Not only must you have something valuable to say, you must have the ability to translate the message into the many different languages of childhood.  I thank sweet Jesus above every day that I was given a talent with words and that I maintain open communication with each of my kids.

BUT sometimes that communication is a little TOO OPEN.  Never would I have thought I would have to put “touching man nipples” on the list of punishable offenses in my home.


It’s Not Fair!

wall

We have a fun new rule in the Crazy Mom home.  It’s called the “It’s not fair!” rule.  After much hair-pulling and name-calling over the last two potato skins at dinner last night, every child that dares to utter the phrase, “It’s not fair!” gets to assume the position on the dreaded wall.

Note the photo… We don’t play.

Most kids fight over things like toys, the use of the bathroom, and who has to do the dishes, right?  Not in this house.  Our kids are freaking weird.  Today alone, I have actually had to referee the following squabbles:

“He is not following the laws of the [imaginary] kingdom!”

“She got to dance with the Justin Bieber poster two times!”

and, my personal favorite…

“Mom, he’s using curses in the house again!” (Insert magical wand wave here.)

Everyone scream it with me now… “It’s not fair!”  (Unless you’re my youngest daughter, then it is… “It’s not FEEER!”)

In the book of Corinthians, the apostle Paul wrote to the church of Corinth about humility.  He told them, “In order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.”

The Lord, too, has given me a thorn in my flesh to keep me humble and, apparently, expand my measure of patience.  It happens meally.

Meal·ly [meel-lee] adjective 1. of, pertaining to, occurring, or done each successive meal)

Our fine dining room is short one comfy walnut chair.  For this reason someone has to sit on the footstool during mealtime.  THREE TIMES A DAY I get to play Switzerland in this battle:

“But he got to sit on the stool at breakfast!”

“But she got to sit on the stool yesterday!”

“But I haven’t gotten to sit on the stool all week!”

Normal kids would feel degraded to have to sit on the same stool I use to scrap bird feces off the front porch beams… huh, huh.  Not my cute little freaks of nature.  Yesterday, their dad threatened that if they didn’t stop fighting over the stool, they would all have to sit on the floor.   He proceeded to tell them that none of them are allowed on the stool anymore… so what does that mean?

 

IT’S NOT FAIR!!!


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