As a parent, we never want to hear, “So, your son had a bad day today”, but it’s inevitable that kids will be kids and some days they won’t be on their best behavior. Some days they will be downright awful and act like the brattiest little human beings ever. And, then there are the days where they are perfect angels and extremely loving, well-mannered, and so adorable that they could be ramming a baseball bat at you and you’d still think they were perfect. With my kids, they are all of the above and then some.
Harrison started Kindergarten this past year and while it wasn’t a huge adjustment for him since he attended pre-school and then Pre-K, starting “big kid” school was a bit of a learning curve for him. He had to learn very quickly that his day would have structure and that he couldn’t do what he wanted, when he wanted. Now, don’t get me wrong, Harrison LOVES a routine and having structured activities and “centers”, as they called it at his old school, but Harrison likes things HIS way and on HIS time. It’s hard for him to start, stop, start again, without having the perfect amount of space in-between. Only Harrison has this perfect recipe mastered and the rest of us have had to learn to, well… cope with it. I know… he’s the child and I’m the parent. I know that, really. But I also believe you have to meet a child where they’re at, and with Harrison, sometimes it’s easier to meet him halfway. As he grows up and becomes even more precocious than he already is, he’ll eventually catch on that he’s not the master of the universe and it’s best that he’s amenable to other’s timelines and plans.
With that said, Harrison did have a bad day last week and knowing that it was part of a bigger issue of him being defiant, which I do NOT tolerate, I knew I had to do something creative to get his attention. I definitely don’t discount Harrison’s behavior and let his “bad days” go unnoticed, on the contrary, but I would certainly say Daddy is the lead disciplinarian between the two of us.
Harrison loves rewards, prizes, and anything that he can “earn”, so I essentially created a “Do Good, Be Good” board that will serve a monthly point system for rewarding good behavior. On the flip side, there are punishments for bad behaviors, which cancel out the good behavior points. Not only is it important that he earn the points, it’s also important that he sustain them. The worst case scenario for Harrison is having something he’s earned be taken away, so he’s very much on board with this! See what I did there? 😉
Here’s how it will work:
- One board = 1 month
- He earns points (dots in our case) throughout the week and they add up over the course of the month
- There are 4 GOOD behaviors and 4 BAD behaviors (they will rotate; we started with the areas he needs to work on) – He can earn as many good dots as possible throughout each week, as long as they have merit and are genuine.
- Bad dots take your good dots away, i.e. 1:1
- The goal is to have a certain # of GOOD dots by the end of the month. Reaching goal+ earns a reward and/or prize.
- If there are a certain # of bad dots, there are punishments in the following month, i.e. tablets, video games, etc. taken away. The audacity, right?
- This will repeat each month
Harrison is really excited about this and even helped me design the board. I mean, why wouldn’t he be, right? He gets a reward and/or prize for being GOOD! That’s easy right? I sure hope so. I’m a believer in rewarding good behavior, but I’m also a realist that understands that I can’t simply dish out a prize every time my child is good, especially considering that I expect my kids to be good ALL THE TIME. But, let’s face it… this is the real world and our kids will act like devious little monsters some times and if I can do something that will gain his attention, allow him the opportunity to learn from his mistakes, and that he can “earn” by sustaining good behavior, then I call that a win in my book. Mother of the Year, right?
Stay tuned for updates early next month! We’re committed to this and Harrison is already excited that he’s earned 3 GOOD dots so far. Yippee!
P.S. Yes, I realize Harrison is wearing mismatched pjs and sitting on Harley’s dog bed. I don’t have a sassy explanation other than it was a lazy weekend and THIS is where he wanted to post it. Who am I to argue?