family anecdotes Life

Raising kids #1

I posted yesterday that my kids aren’t noisy ones. And I’ve been mulling over for a while now, a few posts with regard to this.

Quite regularly, I’m given compliments regarding the good behaviour of my children. And I love hearing these comments! So I thought I’d share what works for me. Disclaimer: this is only what’s been working for ME. I hope that it may work for you, too, but each and everyone’s situation is different, hey!

So, here goes. #1. Rewards first.

One of my favourite Bible verses is Proverbs 29:18, which talks about ‘where there is no vision, [the] people perish’. Meaning: you’ve got to have an end-goal in mind. Something to work for. A reward that you can see, that you want, that makes the doing of stuff-that-you-don’t-want-to-do, worthwhile. Call it a bribe, if you will, but honestly, who doesn’t work without one? Adults get paychecks, so why shouldn’t children?

With that in mind, I love the app ChoreMonster. It’s free, and it helps my children be responsible for their own ‘rewards’. Each child has their own profile, and there are dozens of different chores that you can load onto their profiles. I’d suggest just a few for starters, because you don’t want to overwhelm them! As each chore is done, the child send it to you for approval, and they get to spin a carnival-style prize wheel, which gives them either good prizes – monsters to collect (and there’s good reading practice for younger kids, showing what each monster likes) or kid-style bad prizes (warning: some toilet humour involved here!)

Once the parent has approved the chore, they also receive points towards a reward of their own choosing – again, there are dozens to choose from. So there’s Maths skills involved there as well, where my kids add up exactly how many points they need to get to their wanted reward. And the best thing about these rewards – they’re completely earned, so there’s no subjectivity and ‘it’s not fair’ cries from little mouths.┬áParents can also give ‘boost points’ if they want, for good behaviour, doing well in a spelling test at school, helping with the gardening, etc etc.

But what I like the most? It’s fully customisable. I don’t actually use the default chores, or the default rewards. I use their program, and have tailored it completely to our own household and my own expectations. So ‘chores’ for my kids include ‘pack schoolbag’ and ‘brush teeth’ and ‘unpack the dishwasher’ but I also have ‘child-specific homework’ (eg. readers for Mr6 but Maths Mentals for Miss10) and ‘violin practice’ (three different reward options for three different lengths of practice) on there too, for example.

With the rewards side of things, I use a point = one cent system. So if a child wants to exchange ChoreMonster points for cash to spend at the shops, they know that 200 points equals a $2 coin. Or if they want me to treat them to McDonald’s, then they need 500 ChoreMonster points (for each child for wants to go). But generally, they use it for in-app purchases for their favourite games. So they can buy gems for DragonVale, for example. On Sunday just gone, both Miss10 and Mr6 bought diamonds for the app SingingMonsters because the app was having a currency sale. They were pretty stoked – Miss 10 bought 100 diamonds, Mr 6 bought 50. Miss7 was a little put out, but then again she *had* bought gems for the MyLittlePony app just a few weeks earlier!

So – that’s my Tip #1. Rewards first. Give them a vision, something to work towards, and make sure it’s something that THEY want.

And all the best with it!

Have a lovely day, dear reader ­čÖé

— KRidwyn