We are still trying to hit our stride as a family. I think that the workload is still a bit overwhelming for me. However, if I force myself to really be honest, it is not as much the workload itself as the discrepancy between how hard I feel I am working and the sloth that I seem to see when I see the youngest four kids just lounging around playing video games.
Last week I had a stroke of genius, and I asked my husband if we could develop an incentive system wherein the kids get points for being helpful and showing initiative. We have decided to call these Parent Pride Points. Currently, we use poker chips as the pride points (don’t judge.)
Let’s use Landon and Justin as an example. Their chore is to empty the dishwasher. If I have to remind them to do so and then they empty it, they do not get any parent pride points because they were simply doing what is assigned to them after some nudging or nagging. If, however, they notice the dishwasher needs to be emptied and do so WITHOUT being asked, then they can earn a point. After accumulating points, said points can be redeemed for various perks – screen time, getting to be the one who chooses where we go to lunch, picking the movie for movie night, iTunes credit, etc.
My husband laid out the plan over dinner last night. The older kids harrumphed saying this was a horrible idea, “You are going to regret this.””It won’t last a week.””This plan is sooooo going to backfire.” For a brief time I thought, “Did we make a mistake? Is this going to flop?”
But after dinner I noticed Landon had taken every garbage in the house and emptied them into the outside garbage. This morning I returned from my run at around 6:40 a.m. to come upon Justin emptying the dishwasher by himself. Tonight after dinner there was almost a fight to see who could clear the table the fastest.
Will it work? I don’t know. But I’ll tell you what this last 24 hours has been pretty terrific.