i’ve mentioned here before how we have been having a hard time with bear lately. his day to day behaviour is exhausting to live with. his negativity, his sassy mouth and the potty mouth are the top concerns we have. so after talking to another mama, i decided to make him a rewards chart. we’ve never made one for our kids, not even for potty training, so i thought it was worth a try.
one day as bear and i walked home from school just the two of us, we had a chat : mom to son. i started off by saying he and i were in a rut and that we had bad habits in place for clear, honest communication. our response to each other was always the same, we were snappy and grumpy, just cuz. i admitted to having my own bad habits and i asked bear if he was willing to work together to change things up.
he said yes.
then i told him about the chart and that if he succeeded in filling it in with stickers, then we would go to the toy store and buy a wee toy. bear helped make the chart; he numbered the days and then helped decide what the categories should be. he wanted everything to have it’s own row, but i had to contain it all. not sure i did a great job, but so far it seems to be keeping us on the right track.
i’m not super excited about admitting that i am bribing my kid to behave, but i think that incentive can work effectively when used appropriately. and really, it’s about changing behaviour and hopefully by the end of this week, we’ll have both taken a turn for the better.
it’s a huge chart with 100 squares, but on the weekend some of the categories are not applicable (hang up back up, take out lunch bag etc), and we’ve given him a few “allowed oops'”, because we all make mistakes and forget or are tired. i’m not looking for perfect behaviour, but i am hoping for an effort towards courtesy, kindness and positivity.
i don’t have a chart for myself and alas, do not receive any stickers for my efforts. but, i do see the change in him and that’s all the reward i need. kids really do reflect back what they see and feel from us, the parents. they copy and mimic us in ways that is so surprising. i see and hear myself (and dear hubby) in the kids; sometimes i cringe in shame, other times i jump up with pride and think “wow, we are doing something right!”
this whole parenting gig is tricky and, as the kids get older it gets much more challenging intellectually and emotionally. sleep deprivation and battles with getting babes to sleep or to nurse, all seem so easy somehow in comparison. but, i suppose i now have the skills and confidence to deal with sleep issues, but i cannot say the same about dealing with a 5 year old who talks back with great sass in his tone. if you happen to be in the same boat as me, it’s best to contact specialists like Gwinnett Sleep, who might be able to help you with your sleep deprivation at least.
having said that, at the end of the day, i am grateful for whatever battles come my way. i am proud to be my kids’ äiti (mum) and happy to take each day as they come. as long as i get to drink my coffee as well!
happy days ahead!