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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

WFMW - Earning Privileges

I love reading blogs. Some I read to find out about deals to help me save money. Some I read to share in other people's lives. And some I read to help me improve myself and my family. One of my favorite blogs combines the middle and last reasons for reading... The Lazy Organizer. I enjoy Lara's sense of humor and have especially appreciated her sharing of adventures in improving her parenting. One post really caught my attention at the right time in our life here...Follow the Dream. I'll let you read Lara's approach yourself. But here's how we modified it for Princess1, and somewhat Princess2 who wouldn't be left out.

Originally, my plan was to use the notebook approach that Lara uses. Handwriting is hard for Princess1 and I thought this would be a good way for her to practice without a "sit down, time to practice" event. But quickly we realized it wouldn't work. And I stumbled across another blog who did something similar but used craft sticks (sorry, I didn't pay attention to which blog it was but I thank you for your post whoever you are).

So I bought a set of colored craft sticks (I thought colors would be more appealing to the girls and therefore they'd be more cooperative). I took some gold paint and put it in an old applesauce tub (I save these for everything - which I guess could be a WFMW post in the future). I then dipped the sticks in the paint and hung them from a string with clothespins to dry. I then used a sharpie to write a chore/task on each one. Coming up with the list of chores/tasks was quite the effort because Love and I had to agree. I wanted to give Princess1 a point for playing/spending time with Princess2. But Love thought that Princess1 might fight being "forced" to play with Princess2.

So we compromised and created "CTR Points". This is the BEST part of our program. Anytime we spot Princess1 choosing the right (CTR), we will spontaneously give her a CTR point. This is often for playing with Princess2. It can also be used for an overall attitude or immediately responding when we call her or ask her to do something. It is also used for abnormal tasks that we need her to do.

By earning points each day, Princess1 earns privileges. If she earns 4 points, she earns tv/computer/wii privileges. If she earns 6 points, she can invite a friend over or go play at a friend's house. If she earns 8 points, she can have a sleepover. We started this this summer when sleepovers could happen during the week. But since school has started, we've yet to earn 8 points in a day but we need to have some alternative special privilege for when it's during the week.
Eventually, I cleaned out some peanut butter jars, wrapped it in scrapbook paper and put their names on their jars (thanks to my neighbor who has a cricut machine). The girls were both very excited to have nice looking containers for their points.

We've been using the point system since the beginning of summer. Some days Princess1 is enthusiastic about earning points. Other days she decides she'd rather not watch tv.
What earns a point:
Make your bed
Get ready for the day (get dressed, eat breakfast, brush teeth and hair, hearing aid, glasses)
Practice Piano
Water garden
10 minutes of cleaning in your room
10 minute clean of the living room (generally as a family)
Set table for dinner (or other meal)
Help cleanup dinner

I believe all of these chores/tasks are appropriate for her age and abilities. And none of them take a huge amount of time (note that she only has to work on her room for 10 minutes, not until it's spotless).

What I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE is that I'm not taking anything away from her, ever. She has to earn her privileges. This is a more positive approach than a punishment for not cleaning her room. And because she gets to choose which ones she does to earn points, she has even more control over her day.
We tried this where she earns the points on the same day as privileges - so if she earned 6 points, she immediately called a friend to play. But with school, we discovered that by the time she finished earning her 6 points, it was too close to dinner time to go play with someone. So we switched it to earning your points for the next day. Princess2 doesn't like this and feels her motivation to earn 6 points is gone, except on those days where she has the privilege of playing with a friend. So it's still a work in progress - but the point system definitely Works for Me! Click here for more Works for Me Wednesday tips!


Rona's Home Page said...

Very cool idea!

The Lazy Organizer said...

Yay, I'm glad it's working for you! I think the sticks are a great idea and we are using tickets these days. I started my four year old on a ticket system liked that better than the points so we switched. (I still need to blog about it.) We're always a work in progress!

quinn said...

I love this idea. How do they earn points?