Wednesday, August 5, 2009

WFMW: Encouraging responsibility

Now that it's August, we are starting to count down the days until we start our new adventure of doing school at home.

I wish I could say I'm bursting with excitement and can't wait to start. But honestly? I'm scared.

I'm not worried about teaching my kids or organizing our day. I feel fairly confident in those areas. But I'm concerned that our whole year will be like the hottest days of August when it's too steamy to go outside and we're all cranky and getting on each other's nerves.

I don't want to spend our days frustrated with each other. One of my children, in particular, has been spiraling into a bad cycle of frustration. He gets easily upset and then he ends up being disrespectful to me and whining instead of completing the task at hand.

How will I handle this all day everyday?

Well, I have an idea! So, for today's Works for Me Wednesday post, I want to ask your advice on whether you think this WILL work or if you have any suggestions to improve it.

First off, I've been busily working to create a kid's version of the everydayMOM planner for my children. My boys love knowing our schedule and what to expect each day. So, I am going to create sections each day for them to write down where we need to be, as well as all of the school work they need to complete for the day.

Here's where my idea comes in. I have learned that my gut reaction as a parent is to try to come up with ways to punish bad behavior. But what works far better in our family is to encourage GOOD behavior.

So, I was thinking that each day I would include a section in their planners where I can give them a check mark or a sticker when they do a great job in the following areas:

  • Responsiveness to instruction
  • Respect for mom and siblings
  • Responsibility in finishing work on time
  • Reactions to others
  • Kindness and helpfulness

Each day, they could get up to five checks or stickers if they do a great job in these areas. At the end of the week, if they have maybe 20 points (or should I expect perfection and go with 25?) they could earn a privilege, such as playing Wii, watching a video or going somewhere special.

Due to MY nap schedule lately, my kids have gotten in the habit of having about an hour of "screen time" each afternoon while I take a break. I don't want them to assume this will continue once school starts. I just don't think we will have time between household chores, school work and extracurricular activities. I thought about keeping a basket of small toys as their rewards, but then I decided this might be a good way to get them to work toward earning some "screen time".

So, that's my idea. I hope it WILL Work for Me! Let me know what you think of the overall idea, as well as the categories I have created.

And for more great Works for Me Wednesday tips check out We Are THAT Family!




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4 comments:

Susan said...

I love that idea. My only tip would be to be certain to follow through (I'm probably saying that because MY tendency is to go great-guns for the first few weeks and then let it slide). I may just borrow your idea with my kids as well :)

Your Frugal Friend, Niki said...

What a great idea! I love the idea of holding them accountable at such an early age. Of course little rewards never hurt either.

Come by and visit me!

:)

Anonymous said...

I love your idea too Emily! I too have kids (my boy in particular) that are spiralling into that whiny cranky frustrating way... and it's hard to not punish the bad behaviour... I too will have to find ways to reward the good behaviour too!
I love your idea of the kids version of your planner - I'll take 2 of them:)! What an awesome idea!
I'm going to read Works for me Wednesday too...
Laurel

Jennifer said...

I think that's a good idea. I wouldn't expect perfection, though. That leaves too much of the burden on you (because you're determining whether a single behavior warrants losing the privilege--it's all or nothing). Besides, once they fail, they have no more motiviation for the rest of the week.

Your categories remind me of the program they use in my kids' public school. It comes from Boys Town and teaches kids specific ways to relate to others.

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