I get so many great questions in emails and blog comments and I've just been saving them all in a folder and waiting for when I'll have a minute to start responding. That minute has arrived (sort of - if I really wait for a "spare" minute, it'll never happen).
Each Friday (taking the lead from my dear sister, Shawni), I'll start responding to a question or two that I've received. Feel free to add your questions in the comment sections of these posts and I'll add them to my list of questions and get to them when I can.
Saren...just a really quick question for you. I saw on a Channel 5 interview that you did that you had little awards for your kids for the week. I have 6 kids under 10 and I would love to do this with them. i am curious just the awards that you used. I saw self starter...but I was wondering what the others are. I just want to do more positive reinforcement and less threats! :) Thank you! I KNOW you are busy and I appreciate it!"
Here is the video segment she's talking about
I think awards are one of the most helpful, positive ways I've found to really encourage the behaviors you want in your home. Initially, my husband and I brainstormed a list of behaviors we really wanted to encourage in our kids and then we worked with our kids to come up with a list of awards. Then the kids made these cute awards (just a simple paper designed and colored by the kids and/or parents and put in a sheet protector to keep it nice):
At the close of Sunday dinner, Jared and I ask “who's in the running for the ____ award” and kids can nominate themselves or someone else by sharing a story about something they did that week that would make them eligible for the award. Then we quickly decide who should get which award for that week (it works great if there are the same number of awards as there are kids and if you track who's won which award when with a little note on the back of the award so we can help ensure most kids get a chance to receive most awards at some point). The "winner" of each award gets to put the award on their bedroom door for a week and then brings it back to the dinner table the next Sunday.
The kids LOVE this and it's really so simple. We aren't all that consistent about doing it. Sometimes we'll do it regularly every Sunday for a couple months. Then we'll sort of forget for a while. Then one of the kids asks if we can get going on awards again, so we do. I don't think it matters if you do it EVERY week. It makes a big difference, though, to do it quite a bit. We switch up the awards we offer from time to time - adding in new ones as we see the need to reinforce a new behavior.
- Super Friend Award: For someone who was extra friendly to someone, helped someone in need, made a new friend
- OK (Obedient Kid) Award: For someone who did what parents asked quickly, happily and well quite a lot that week
- Self Starter Award: For someone who has shown real initiative to get tasks done (jobs around the house, homework, helping a sibling or parent, etc) or who's noticed something that needed to be done and done it w/o anyone even asking.
- Neat as a Pin Award: For someone who's done a great job keeping their room really clean and keeping the area of the house they're in charge of (their "zone") nice and neat.
- Leader for the Right Award: For someone who did the right thing even when it was hard and set a good example for others.