My husband and I feel like we are turning into the king and queen of empty threats when it comes to disciplining our kids. We are really good at threatening them with punishments, but aren't very good at following through with those threats. This was beginning to drive me crazy and I knew something had to change. We have tried different ways to enforce rewards or punishments in the past, but nothing really seemed to do the trick. Mainly because we weren't very good at following through with things and the kids would forget to "cash in" their prizes and then our system slowly faded away.
I came up with this idea recently and have put it into practice this week. So far, it has been awesome for all of us! I wanted to make my board all cute and fancy, but mainly I just wanted it done without costing a ton-hence the lack of cuteness.
I made three jars. One is full of consequences for when the kids misbehave, one is full of extra chores, and the last is full of privileges. Each jar is full of different colors of paper. Yellow is the least severe, blue is a little worse and orange is the dreaded color. I did this for both consequences and privileges. With privileges, yellow is good, blue is really good and orange is amazing!! My thinking with this is when the kids have been bad or broken or rule, instead of threatening them with a punishment or just using time out, I can just say, "Go pull a blue consequence" and it's a done deal. Same with privileges. When we see good behavior or good choices being made, we can reward those immediately with the kids pulling a privilege from the jar.
My kids are loving this system and we have seen such a difference with my 5 year old especially. She is so anxious to pull the privileges, that our mornings before school have been heavenly this week! Normally I have to remind her about a billion times of what she should be doing. I haven't had to ask her to do her chores once this week!
Here are some examples of what are in these jars. ( I picked things that were applicable to my kids. If you want to try this, think of things that your kids would love to have or hate to have taken away).
A yellow privilege might be: read for an extra 15 minutes at bedtime or play outside an extra 30 minutes or play an extra video game, etc
Blue could be: go on a bike ride with daddy, go get a treat from Costco, watch a fun show before bedtime, etc.
Orange: go to see a movie, go to Nickel Mania, etc.-things the kids love to go do, but is a major treat and things we don't do very often
Same idea with the consequences-
Yellow examples: Lose tv for the rest of the day, no video games that day, no reading at bedtime
Blue examples: pick an extra chore, time out for ______ minutes, no tv for 2 days, no playing outside that day, etc.
Orange examples: Pick an extra chore, and then I have lots of "mommy gets to choose", etc.
The chores are things that my kids normally don't have to do around the house. They can either pick chores as consequences or pick them to earn some extra money. Blue ones might include washing all the light switches, or cleaning out a cupboard. The orange are little more intense and yucky, like clean the garage or wash out the garbage can. My kids are praying they never pick the garbage can chore!
This may make me sound like a crazy, mean mom but I am trying to help reinforce good and bad behavior with my munchkins. Like I said, so far this is working great and I am no longer the queen of empty threats. It's been a good change for all of us!