I recently found this creative new way to have a nag free day with my children. It was in the Family Fun magazine. I am always up for new ideas in discipline and reward systems. We had our first time trying it out. Success!
During the summer I get to grocery shop with all three of my children. This can be a challenge. In order to make things go smoothly, I use an incentive. If everyone cooperates and we get done in a timely manner I take the kids to a movie.
Here's the new fun part. I gave the kids $10 for food from the concessions. Normally I tell the kids we aren't buying. It's too expensive, and you don't get much for your money. This time I figured $10 wasn't going to break the bank, and they could do with it what they wished.
I told the kids as long as I didn't have to open my mouth today and discipline them, the money was all theirs. As soon as I heard fighting, or if I saw disobedience, we would take away a dollar. They had to work together as a team. If one team member lost a dollar, the rest had to graciously accept the punishment. If I heard any name calling, or yelling between children, another dollar would be lost.
I had them keep track of the money. I printed off a simple chart for the kids to use. It had a big STOP sign to remind them to STOP and think first. At the bottom I had individual dollars listed. Every time someone got in trouble, they had to mark off the dollar.
This worked like magic. My kids were so well behaved at the store, and there was almost no fighting at all. They were very respectful of each other, and they helped me out so much. It was like I had little angels walking around with me, not something I normally would claim. Almost every dollar was taken away for lack of obedience in Zechariah. I can handle that. It's the constant bickering and badgering that gets on my nerves. I also despise going to the store with my children when they turn into little greedy monsters. This solved it. They knew the rules ahead of time and they stuck with it. The money was too important to them. They felt like we were rich.
By the time we made it to the movie theater, four dollars was left. There isn't much in the concessions for four dollars, and I was amazed that my children took it so well. I think a day of being positive kept them from being too discouraged. They simply chose a tub of cotton candy and quietly shared it during the movie. I was impressed! I am certain to use this idea again. It worked like magic!
STOP and think before you act! That goes for me too. I'm reading a book about motherhood right now, and in it there was a phrase that really stood out to me. "One of the biggest things a mother transfers to her children is her feelings. Children respond more to your joy, love, anxieties and fears than your words."
We must be very careful with our feelings and how we show them to our children. I know when I'm feeling frustrated, it seems like my children get frustrated too. When I'm having a bad day, it seems like they also have a bad day. But if I'm feeling peaceful, and happy, that shows up in my children as well.
I found that I wanted them to get all their money; they were working so hard for it. It gave me more reason to be patient in my speech. I believe it gave my children peace. I didn't overreact as much. I thought before I spoke, and I weighed my words. I found myself asking multiple times, "Does this really warrant a correction from me?" Sometimes I expect too much out of my kids, and I don't allow them to be kids. I want them to be little duplicates of me. But honestly, how boring would life be if that was true? All of us in our individuality add so much spice to life.