My Wild Ones were on the blog a while back when I mentioned the “Penalties Jar”.
That system works exceptionally well; almost as well as the “Sticker Shop” we had going when they were really small. I must think of a way of bringing that back too.
Ray objected early on to the Jar; pointing out that it’s hypocritical of me to make them all pay in and I don’t have to; and most of all, that I get to keep the money. I explained to him that in the first place, what he experiences as me being “nasty” is usually me making a demand – such as, that they clean up a mess they made or pick up their stuff. That’s not sarcasm and doesn’t break the House Rules in any way; it’s teaching and discipline.
Secondly, I impressed on him, I’m not planning to keep that money. I’m planning to take the whole lot by Christmas and buy something from it. Now depending on how good they were, it will either be a little treat or a huge present for the whole family. But regardless, it will be shared. Much like tax money should be in a (fictitious) real democracy.
This changed their attitudes in a wink! Ray has been “exploiting” the system, paying in first and then going and insulting his older sister; Meggi has volunteered to pay in extra just to contribute to the treat. (I forbade that though – it is a penalties jar and only for penalties.)
Better though, the impact on their behaviour has been remarkable. Ray draws the line much more tightly with his wit and merciless teasing; he stops short of upsetting Meggi, and she controls her temper much better. The two of them have started playing games together again (yesterday it was “Siedler von Catan” and today, UNO). I’m almost beginning to feel as though I’m back in home school with them. It’s glorious.
Parents out there: This system works.
The “Sticker Shop” system:
This is another system that worked very well. Meggi was 3, Ray was 5 and Robbie 9 when I implemented it. It worked like this:
I kept a basket of cheap (new) toys, fancy pencils, sweets, soap bubbles etc on top of the fridge.
On the door of the fridge there were three sticker charts, one for each Wild One. (Guess I could call them “Thing 1, Thing 2 and Chocolate Thunder” for blog purposes but whatever.) The kids earned stickers for good behaviour, compliance, achievements (on their level!), and so on (I can’t remember the exact details). Then on a Saturday, I’d count up the stickers, and the kids could “buy” themselves treats or sweets from the “Sticker Shop”. E.g. a tiny fluffy toy would cost 5 stickers, a sweetie 1 sticker.
The kids loved this. It did fall by the wayside at some point because it was forgotten.
Come and look! Now you can buy a Paypal gift certificate for a friend / your child / your dad, and they can come and pick something from the shop. You pick how much you put into the certificate.