Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Glitter gal - Reward system

Since nothing I have been doing punishment wise has been working and the kid's behaviors have been out of control, I decided to try something new.  This concept was given to me by a friend but having never seen hers, I made up my own kind of a thing based on what she described.  Basically, it's a reward system and it looks like this:

Reece's Sparkle Card:  Let's Sparkle and Shine chart.

 A close up:  As you can see there are spaces for stars and then every so often there is a big sparkle.  These sparkles get farther apart as we get closer to the bottom of the chart (kind of like a weaning type process).  She earns stars by doing good things - doing something the first time she is told, NOT doing something the first time she is told (not to do it), willingly sharing with her brother, using good manners (may I be excused?), asking permission for things, helping me without being asked or with being asked and joyfully pitching in, helping her brother, etc.  She puts stars all across until she reaches a sparkle spot.  When she gets to a sparkle she gets to draw a paper out of a bowl (see below) which will have something fun on it.
 Bowl of fun things...like playing a game with mommy/daddy (she chooses who and what), piece of candy, picking a movie, play doh, coloring with mommy/daddy, reading a story with mommy/daddy, etc (I am in need of more ideas so please send some my way...nothing big like "Chuck E. Cheese"). 
I made one for Brody only because he really wanted stickers too...but he gets the concept more than I imagined.  The other day I asked if he would please go in the living room and get "sissy's blanket" while we were putting on our coats to go bye-bye.  He said "sure", ran to get it, and brought it back.  I rewarded him with a sticker and praised him.  I always explain why they are getting the sticker and I make sure to tell daddy all their good behaviors when he gets home (I wait to tell him all the bad ones when they are in bed or somewhere else - unless it needs to be addressed in front of them/him).  I can probably hear some of your groans and questions now.  I am the last person I would have ever thought would have gone to this kind of a system.  But after constant yelling, disciplining, time outs, spankings, etc...I had to try something else.  I feel like all I do is punish and I really don't want us to all be that miserable.  Granted there will still be times for punishment, but if I can catch them doing some good things, I am hoping some of the other things will melt away and this good behavior becomes 2nd nature to them and is just part of who they are.  It really is working so far.  We also established some consistent punishments based on certain bad behaviors.  For instance, if they choose not to listen to me and do something I told them they couldn't do (or don't do something I asked them to do), they have to stand in the corner with their ear to the wall.  This reminds them that their ear/lack of listening is what got them in trouble.  I also have a punishment for "sins of the mouth" (lying, talking back, etc) and other behaviors.  I thought if they knew what punishment they were getting it would help them know their consequences and I would know what to do and not waiver or go back and forth.  I found myself threatening punishments a lot but not following through because I didn't know which one to give for what.  So now that we have everything laid out, we can be more consistent.  If you want to know more about this, feel free to ask me about it.  I worry about this topic a little because everyone has such differing opinions on which way to go.  My opinion now is...you have to do what works for each child and for your family.  I am tired of mommy monster setting the tone in our house...it's time to take control!!  I'll keep you updated on how it is working.  But so far, it is going well!

p.s...Do I believe in spanking?  Yes...

Good deeds and SNOW

A concept that I have been teaching the kids over the past year is lovin on our neighbors.  This is very easy to do since they are all so lovable!  In the summer, we always bring up the neighbor's garabage cans up close to the house.  It can get windy out where we are and with living close to route 9, neighbors are known for losing their garbage cans.  Since we are all out playing and they are at work, we stop to help them out.  So today since it was in the mid 30's and not windy, I let the kids get all bundled up to check out the snow.  The first thing Reecey asked is if we could put away all the garbage cans for the neighbors (I use to do this on my own but once the kids figured out they roll, they wanted to help...see, I am a good example every once in awhile).  So we went up the street rolling all the cans up to their houses.  Fun and easy lesson to do with the kids!
(Sara if you are reading, you can be a witness that this is your house and not mine! - you can actually see our house down the way in the back)
 Doing by example like big sis...

1st Gingerbread house

While my husband and I got to enjoy a much needed date night (for his birthday), my neigbors watched the kids and helped them construct their first ginger bread house.  I didn't miss out on all their fun as I got to help them get started before I headed out the door.  My neighbor being all pro and everything had all this candy lined up for them to pick out...but the trick was they couldn't eat any of it because it was super old!  I suggested that next time we have bowls for them that they can actually eat since it was very hard to keep them from eating it!  Here is the finished product...

 Reece did this side of the roof...
 Brody did this side (pretty good I thought)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Update on the kids

Once again, another month has passed and I am just now getting around to posting something.  We have been really busy with school, errands, Christmas shopping, Awana, etc.  We have been learning a lot of new lessons this past month.  It has been rough on me as a parent that is for sure!  There are so many learning opportunities that I narrowed down a top 10 list from the year and will be including it in our Christmas card this year (or course, trying to make light of it).  I will post them on the blog after I know the cards have been received (I don't want to ruin the surprise).

Reece is as bubbly and enthusiastic as she has been since birth.  She is enjoying school.  So far in school they have gotten through the letter K in the alphabet.  Each week they focus on one letter and do all kinds of activities around that letter.  I can't believe how much she is learning.  She was selected as star student one week at school and all the students got to learn more about her.  That was a neat time for her.  She is learning all her verses for Awana too.  It is neat to see her learning about the love of our Savior.  She has been quite a handful this past month and I am wanting to see obedience without the "dis" in front of it.  I think we are heading in the right direction.  Everyone told me that parenting would be hard but I never imagined it being this hard.  It is constant teaching, re-directing, punishing, discussing...it is very tiring.  Trust me, I have no problem going to sleep at night...correction...I wouldn't have any problems falling asleep if someone wasn't constantly getting out of their bed (main reason Brody is still in a crib).  I continue to see God's wisdom and direction on how to parent this child (each of them).  Without Him there are days I might just pack up and run away!  One day last week I was at my wits end with her.  I was doing my morning quiet time and read some quite comforting news about the peace God offers - even when raising our children.  "I am leaving you with a gift - peace of mind and heart.  And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give.  So don't be troubled or afraid" John 14:27.  There was a devotion in my bible on experiencing God's peace - it just so happened to be tucked into where I was reading in John (where I am in the "bible in a year" reading).  Jesus promised peace - not absence of conflict.  If we turn our worries into prayers and present our needs to God, we will experience God's peace.  "Your stomach will stop churning.  You'll be able to sleep. You'll be able to face the days without tears.  You'll be able to focus on what needs to be done.  You'll be able to deal with your kids without yelling at them.  You'll be able to get through the crisis intact.  How can that be?  The conflict is still there; we still have a long way to go to get out of this crisis. The peace comes not from feeling good about our situation.  It comes from knowing the one truth that matters most:  God is in control."  I give it all to Him.  I don't want to be in control of it!

Everywhere we go, Brody's smile is recogized as innocent, cute, big, "the best".  He's a happy guy with a bubbly personality like his sister whom he totally adores.  He is also very affectionate.  Loves to cuddle and hug and when one of us is gone, he is the first to greet us when we walk in the door with a hug and a kiss (and scream).  His smile truly lights up the room!  A month ago we ventured into potty training.  I didn't think he was ready but he asked about the potty.  I let him sit on it and much to my surprise, he went.  So that day we began and it's been a whole month now (I think he started training the day after my last post).  He's truly been a piece of cake to train.  I never thought I would say it about a boy...and especially not my cautious boy.  It's nice be free of diapers!  He has learned the art of throwing a temper tantrum which is not so fun when it happens in the middle of a crosswalk! Again, each day is a crisis...I mean learning opportunity in which God can strenghten me with His peace.

 The boy loves his underwear...and his sister's boots!  While there are some things she does that I am glad she is his example, other things I hope he doesn't pick up on.  Wearing her boots is not one of them but it made for a cute picture.
 My cuddly momma's boy!

 Reece saw a picture of me with braids in my hair - I was about her age.  My mother use to do this to my hair, make me sleep on it, and then when I woke up I would have instant curly/crimped hair (this was before the days of crimpers!!).  So she wanted me to do it to hers.  26 braids later....

and 12 hours later...A totally 80's girl!!