Monday, March 28, 2016

From Incentives to Self-Discipline

For the last several months, we've been implementing a 'ticket' system which has been tremendously changed the behavior in our boys. Go to bed on time? You get a ticket? Finished your homeschool work for the day? Ticket!! Good in the store? Tickets all around!  Then they can trade their tickets in for movie time or in the 'mommy store.'

It's all be hunky dory, until...

I realized my kids have absolutely no self-discipline. Is this how I want my sons to behave as they get older? To only do anything because there's a carrot at the end of the stick? How about just doing the right thing for the sake of doing the right thing? Because they simply want to feel more accomplished? What about feeling like they're part of something bigger than themselves and they want to continue helping humanity better itself? I know they're still young, but more than anything else in the world, I want my sons to grow up to be morally and emotionally sensitive men. I don't care a wit about them being 'accomplished' in an academic or professional sense, as long as whatever they do is their way of making the world a better place and being gentle and kind while doing it.

So, I'm no longer going to live in the moment of bad behavior. We're living for the future!

Here's the new plan, and I'll update you as our little experiment takes place!

Step One: New, Unbendable Rules

  1. Upon waking up, brush your teeth, tidy your bedroom and get dressed BEFORE breakfast
  2. No TV (Netflix/Amazon) except on weekends - this does not include Family Movie night we have twice a month on Tuesdays Hopefully this will change when I feel the kids choose for themselves not to try and binge watch Ninjago episodes.
  3. Everyone brushes their teeth at 8pm and must be in their rooms (except on Shabbos or holidays)

Step Two: Make Goals
We're going to make Yearly, Monthly, Weekly and Daily Goals

Step Two: Make Step to Achieve those goals
My husband and I will help the kids take steps to figure out how they're going to accomplish their own goals.

Step Three: Don't give up!
My job as their mom will be to guide them towards their goals and help them stay on track

So what the heck are we going to do with all of those tickets I laminated? We're going to try an optional Chore Chart with payment in tickets. These are for going above and beyond what we normally expect of the kids. I must not allow myself to fall back to bribing the kids what should be normal, acceptable behavior with tickets!

Wish us luck!!

Friday, March 4, 2016

And The Award Goes To...

One of my sons has no interest in helping me laundry, but help me he must. Not just for me, but for his own sake. These skills and habits are so important!! So in order to get him to moving (when he 'helps' he usually just pretends by slowly carrying one piece of clothing to a basket for five minutes), I lied (just a little).

I told him that when I was his age, I had gotten an award for being the fastest folder in my family.  I challenged him to a folding duel. The person who folded and put away the most laundry in five minutes won and the loser had to put away the rest of the laundry. I may have 'lost', but I got him to fold and put away 16 pieces of clothing in five minutes. That's a win for me!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

6 Minutes to Clean Home

Delegate. It's easier said than done. It involves communication...the last thing you may want to do when you're home feel like it's imploding with dirty (and clean) clothes, toys, crumbs and various craft material. Here's how to get a room clean in a matter of minutes. Six minutes to be exact.

  1. Get your kids together and grab a broom and three buckets/bags. I have three cleaners (aged 3, almost-5 and almost-7) and I wear the 1 year-old (otherwise he would be underfoot or undoing everyone's work). 
  2. Assign each kid with a job. For example, garbage and recycling man, laundry girl and toy and books boy.  
  3. Motivate them by telling them the plan and the reward at the end. We do four six-minute cleans, changing rooms every six minutes, and at the end, I let them invite a friend over for a play date or watch a video (usually they have to pay me 1 ticket for every 20 minutes of video time).
  4. Set the timer for six minutes. Six minutes seems to be the right amount of time my kids can focus on a job for now. As they get older, I may extend it to 10 minutes. 
  5. I'm the sweeper for now. I sweep everything into the middle of the room and everyone else picks up their assigned items from the pile.
  6. Clean with your kids, but be sure to watch what the kids are doing too. DO NOT check you your phone or get distracted yourself, do not put on music, do not yell at your children at this time. You are setting an example for your children - showing them how to clean, so it's important to give instructions that bring awareness to detail. 
  7. Be positive and be sure to praise everyone for their efforts!
When the first six minutes is up, move on to the next room. In 24 minutes, we can get four rooms reasonably clean! I'll also do a six minute clean in the dining room just before and after dinner, as well as one in the car if we're waiting for something. It's been remarkably effective!