Friday, June 20, 2008

THE SYSTEM




It's really for our survival.  It's six against two you see.  There are a lot of little people here in this house.  We had to come up with something that would help even the odds a bit.


As many things as I can put into a system- the better.  Hence, all the theme months, dinners, etc . . .  If it's not on autopilot it doesn't get done.  I'm still working on trying to come up with a laundry system.  Any ideas?  

This however, is our plan for our kids jobs, schedule, and discipline.  A bunch of people have asked me for it so here you go.  Now,  I must put a gigantic disclaimer that although this is the best we have found for our family- it's not perfect. However, we've tried almost everything out there.  Only to feel like it was too hard for us to keep up with as parents.  Who needs more stress trying to become less stressful!

Some days we are better at following the system.  When we do, things work out a lot better than when we don't.  So, feel free to take these ideas and use them as your own, change them to fit your own family, or send me a comment if you think we are doing it ALL wrong!

First, we give our kids $1 a week allowance paid out in dimes.  10% goes to tithing to our church, 10% goes into their savings, 80% is for them to "spend."  This gives our kids a chance to work with money and gives us leverage- you'll hear more later.

Our oldest son uses a system called "Accountable Kids" for his jobs and routine.  It's great and I'd recommend it for older or responsible kids.  The kids kind of self-monitor their jobs and earn tickets which they can then spend on activities.  It's a great idea and he can handle it.  But, my other kids aren't at a place where they can do it yet.  We hope to transition them to that when they get older its great even up to the teen years supposedly.   We  had to come up with something that they could easily do and understand.  

For all the other kids we have a daily jobs chart posted in our pantry.  It lists all the tasks we'd like them to do throughout the day. We have yellow jobs in the morning, red jobs in the afternoon, blue jobs in the evening, and green jobs for choosing the right.  

We have a "choose the right" spot on the chart. If the kids can do all their jobs without threats or nagging, then they get to put their green peg in.  It could also be used if you catch them doing something that you want that child to work on such as telling the truth, controlling their anger, etc . . . 

In the red job section is a "helping hands" job which just means they get to be mom's helping hands and do a job that I assign them that day.  The other jobs are really just the routine that we want them to follow during the day.  They have to have their colored peg in before they get to do other activities in that time slot. 

Each day the kids have to complete each color group.  When they complete all the jobs in the color group they get to put the corresponding colored peg in their own pegboard (but you could use a sticker chart, marble jar, too- whatever works best for you.  In our house stickers become earrings and marbles are weapons of war but pegs are tied to the pegboard and can't go anywhere easily).  



The next morning, we count up how many pegs are on their pegboard (or in their jar) and they get a corresponding amount of spins on our "incentive wheel."   There are varying color spaces on the spinner wheel.  Each color represents a box that has prizes in it for the kids to choose from. Yellow= no prize this time. Green= inexpensive candy treats or dimes. Blue= craft & art supplies. Orange = small $1 toys. Red = fancier toys around $5.  

The larger the prize, the smaller the spot on the wheel.  Most the time, the kids get yellow or green.  We wondered if we are teaching them to love gambling with this method, but we decided that the benefits outweigh the risk of a pre-adolescent gambling addiction. They LOVE the spinner wheel. What do you think?

Discipline.  Da Da Dun.  We want to be good and loving parents who never yell at their kids. We aspire to be parents who earn the respect of their children so the children obey them without hesitation.  Not because of incentive or threat, but because they wouldn't DREAM of disobeying.  

Sound like my house?  Not likely.  So, in the meantime, we've had to come up with solutions to use while we work towards that ideal.  Our system is based off of the Love and Logic system and also the 1,2,3 magic system.  Both great ideas.  I'd recommend researching both of them.  

If our kids are not behaving the way they should the get counted.  For example if darling daughter is arguing or whining,  I'll say "Darling daughter, that's one."  If she continues "that's two."  If she still doesn't stop,  "that's three- you owe me a fine."  

If they get to a three they get a fine.  Fines can be a lot of things.  Money (part of the reason we give the kids an allowance, is so we can take it away), extra jobs,  sitting on a chair, etc . . .  Then there are automatic fines.  Violence is an automatic "three" and gets a fine, ruining property is an automatic "three" and gets a fine . . .  we try to make the fines something that would be a natural consequence of the infraction.  So, if a certain daughter decides to smear a new bottle of toothpaste all over the bathroom, her fine would be to clean it up plus pay the family money from her allowance to buy new toothpaste. 

Every so often, Dad takes the kids to the store to spend their money.  It's amazing and worth every penny of allowance on that day!  Some kids can buy just what they want and other's have no money to spend at all because they've lost it all through fines. 

The 1,2,3 counting system has really helped out - thanks Barb!  This has been a recent addition and I wish we would have done it all along.  Before this, we'd just threaten and do time-outs but it never seemed to help.  Using this, I can even hold up fingers across the room to the kids and they know they are being "counted."  

Even more amazing to me is when you get to "two" and they stop the whining and go do something else. 

That's it!  Hope it gives you some ideas.  Let me know if you have any for me!  I've attached the spinner file and a blank job chart for anyone who wants it.   If you want a pdf version email me and I'll send it to you.  Check out all the free clip art sites to fill in your job chart.  Here's one to try.