Thursday, February 24, 2011

You Get a Star!

Charts.  Sticker charts, chore charts - I'm not a big fan of charts.  We can never keep on top of them for very long, the enthusiasm wanes quickly, they put the focus on getting stuff for what you do  instead of doing stuff because it needs to be done and being a participating member of the family.  But sometimes what we need is a good chart.  Charts always have a nice honeymoon period where they inspire the kids to do great things and life becomes easier for a few days (a few weeks if the rewards are good enough and frequent enough).  Grandma left for Arizona for a week and things have kind of taken a turn for the worst around here simultaneously.  I have been frazzled, to say the least.  So I said to myself, "Self, let's make a chart".

What kind of chart to make?  A chore chart?  A sticker chart?  What should earn stickers?  Hmmmmm...

I decided on an awesomeness chart. 

You get stickers for anything that mama deems awesome.  Brought your homework home and did it without screaming?  Awesome!   Put your boots and coats away without being asked?  Awesome!  Sat in the doctor's waiting room without making a total scene?  Awesome!

When everyone gets to the top, we're going to Chuck E. Cheese's.  Awesome!

Basically I'm setting up an economy in my home where the currency is stickers and I am the Federal Reserve Bank.  Is it bribery?  By the definition set forth by some of my friends, no.  Bribery is when you give the reward before the good behavior.  Incentives are what you give afterward.  But it feels a lot like bribery.  Especially when I sing out after dinner, "I'm coming upstairs in five minutes and anyone who is wearing jammies and has clean teeth gets two stars!", and my offspring scurry for their toothbrushes and footie pajamas without any help or cajoling or yelling from me.  It feels wrong, it feels like bribery and lazy parenting.  But if this is wrong, I never want to be right.  It just works so well!  At least it does this week anyhow, and this week is when I'm feeling kind of crappy and really need to not fight with anyone.  Just today I handed out stars for playing quietly together and for shoveling the driveway, no fighting involved.

I feel a little dirty...

How do you feel about charts?  Do you use them?

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