Friday, January 7, 2011

Always with the goals and the systems around here.

We are starting a new little incentive program.  I wrote about how we let the boys go hogwild with screen time during break.  I regret that decision now.  I don't think we'll do it again.  But what's done is done.  Now we have to help them get back into normal routines, including a lot less screen time.
I wanted to give them a chance to earn more screen time than the rather strict rules allow (video games for an hour on Saturday and an hour on Sunday, one half-hour PBS show on school days), and also to encourage some good behavior.  We picked seven actions for which they could earn a marble in a cup.  Once the cup is full (about 70 marbles) they get an hour of gaming time.  And because I'm always up for a good dose of self-improvement, I have a cup too.   Wanna know how we can earn marbles?  Of course you do!

*get up when the alarm goes off
*eat well
*go to the gym
*keep voice calm instead of yelling
*finish a project
*sit down with boys to read, create, etc.
*purchase only necessary items

S & T
*work together to resolve a fight
*draw, color, or work on activity books
*play outside
*read books or tell stories to each other
*clean rooms
*help out with housework
*say, “Okay,” and cooperate
    instead of, “But,” and argue
Each of the activities (drawing, playing outside, reading, etc) need to happen for a good chunk of time, 30 minutes at least, before they get a marble for it.
The boys' cup is a team effort.  I didn't want to let one boy play and not the other.  So they work together to earn marbles.  I really like the sense of camaraderie this seems to be fostering.  They are encouraging each other to help out around the house and cooperate with parents' instructions.  Good stuff!

One last thing.  As an aid for the first item on their list ("work together to resolve a fight"), I found this acronym.  I printed a copy and hung it where they will hopefully see it and use it during a conflict.  Fingers crossed on that one.

That's it!  Wish us luck on our marble grabbing journey.


Jay M. said...

Brilliant, supermom! Incentive programs always seem to work out with kids. That "eat well" one would be a little too vague for me though.

"What? Four slices of pizza IS healthy. Mushrooms and onions are good for you!"

Angela said...

My fourth grade teacher used a marble incentive system. The receptacle was a clear glass bird and the marbles went into her mouth. We earned and lost marbles as a class and got extra recess when the bird was full. I can still remember the dry-mouthed horror I'd feel when some kid did something bad and she'd take a marble away. Ah, childhood.

Also, yes, I totally thought 'healthy eating' was vague, but I'm sure you know what you mean; though, you might consider making Nate the impartial judge of the marble system. I'm sure he would *really love to be more involved in his family's self improvement.

* sarcasm

Maiasaura said...

Thanks, you guys. Yes, I do have a more specific eating plan in mind, but it was too long and convoluted to fit on the side of the cup.
Angela, I think you've told us about this teacher before? And how she was kind of crazy? Nevertheless, her glass bird sounds pretty amazing. I have never seen such a thing. I'm going to google it now.
For the record, I did offer Nate the chance to have his own cup. He declined.

Sarah Hedman said...

Great idea! We have used a system like this in the past with the older girls and it really worked!