Making dinner tonight, I called down to Lanie to bring up some rice from the pantry. When she did, I said, "That's great! Thanks! I caught you helping out. You get a sticker."
Funny that a sticker can still pique a teen's interest.
On the fly, I created a chart and made up the rules as I went along.
One column was for Lanie and one was for Erin. Whoever was caught "doing good" would get a sticker in their column. At the end of the week, the most one with stickers could pick a reward, like:
- stay up an extra hour Friday or Saturday night
- have a game night and get to pick the game
- pick a movie from Red Box for a family movie
- have a friend over for Friday night dinner
- pick dinner for one night the next week
These are all pretty positive incentives that, fortunately, don't revolve around sugar. Or purchasing toys. And, mostly, they encourage time together as a family, which is always a win for all. (Ahem, community.)
Both girls were asking how they could help. Lanie wiped off the kitchen table so it would be clean for dinner. Erin made sure it was dry and set the table with (folded!) napkins.
The volume was cranked up at the dinner table as I read off the rewards they could pick from. Erin could hardly wait. She was already planning the order she would do things. Lanie was pretty stoked for staying up later. She liked other things too, but staying up late made her feel like a grown up.
"Except, you're asleep like at 7," she said to me, laughing.
There are bonus cards too. Each morning, I'll put a card at the kids' seat and they can choose to accept the challenge for two stickers or not. Things like: clean up your sister's room; eat a new food; do not complain for the whole day, etc.
"Can we do this THE WHOLE YEAR?" they both asked.
"Let's get through the school year first," I suggested.
Lanie told me I was a fun mom, a welcome switch after some of the looks I got after lecturing today. Erin gave me lots of hugs.
We'll see how it goes. I really want to give them stickers. I really want them both to win. I kind of hope they tie. A lot.