It seems my posting during this pregnancy is going in fits and starts. I have days and weeks of great energy and days and weeks where I can barely manage parenting, much less housework. Writing, and even reading, take a back seat on those weeks. Part of the problem is that both Calvin and Hobbes have been going through phases of difficult behavior this Fall. I'm sure much of it is due to Hobbes adjustment to school, Calvin's growing independence since he turned four, and both of their minds adjusting to the idea of a baby in the house. Nonetheless, there are some definite behavior tendencies that we need to be more consistent about dealing with now, while they are young.
With that in mind, we have decided to institute some sort of system that rewards good behaviors and discourages bad. Something more than consistent timeouts and other disciplines is in order. I had thought of doing a sticker chart, but I am copying a good mommy-friend of mine instead. We are going to have four basic behaviors that we work on, written out and visible to the boys. I am going to put marbles or small, polished stones (from a craft store) in a clear cup. When one of the boys expresses a good behavior, we will move a stone from the full cup to an empty one. When they do something negative, we will move a stone from the reward cup back to the original cup. Once the reward cup is full and the starting one empty, we will get some sort of family reward, like a trip out for ice cream.
Calvin has helped me to come up with the list of good behaviors, and he seems excited about the idea of having some visible sign of how well or poorly he is doing. I think this will really motivate him to work on some areas. I'm hoping Hobbes will go along with it because his brother is excited. (He usually does.) So here is our list. (I plan to put a scripture reference or two with each in an attempt to begin some scripture memory with the boys. Number 2 is specifically addressing our main issue with Calvin, and number 3 is mostly for Hobbes.)
In our family...
1. We respect daddy and mommy by obeying them the first time they ask without grumbling or complaining.
2. We use kind and polite words when we talk to others. (No violent language, talking back, interrupting, or yelling.)
3. We respect one another's need for space. (No hitting, biting, kicking, or grabbing.)
4. We work together to make a clean and welcoming home for friends by cleaning up our things when we are done playing and by doing our daily jobs.
Please tell me what you think, should I add or delete any? Any editing suggestions? Does this sound like a good idea? I am excited about the idea of collective reward, because I want to emphasize that these behaviors are about us as a family, creating a home of peace and respect and laughter. I am hoping it will help the boys works together, especially as Calvin would have a tendency to get really down if he had a separate reward system and wasn't doing as well as Hobbes. This way, it's not all dependent on him. He's already anxious enough as it is, no need to add pressure.
I'd love to hear what you think, especially the more experienced mommy-types out there. I am definitely up for suggestions!