Tangible Rewards for Good Behavior?

{This post contains affiliate links. It’s okay, it has nothing to do with the post, but the law requires me to “disclose” that top-secret information. Read on}

Market Spice Tea Update:

Sharon Burroughs, my random number generator picked YOU as the winner of a box of Market Spice Tea! Please email me with your mailing info and I (okay, Amazon) will pop this in the mail for you!

Kindergarten Update:

Apollo is still enjoying school. Unfortunately, I got a call earlier this week to come pick him up. He was complaining that his stomach didn’t feel good and he felt like he was going to throw up. Since another little boy, who sits at his table, had thrown up earlier that day (not around Apollo) the teacher thought it was prudent for me to come get him. That means, he also missed part of his fourth week of school. If you’re keeping track (I am) he hasn’t had a single full week of school yet, due to sickness. 

black and white photo of boy holding a lightsaber

He is doing a lot of counting and adding as he plays…obviously having fun practicing what he is learning at school. He was using his LeapPad Epic last night to “finish the word”. The had words like s_d and he had to fill in the missing sound. I love seeing him connect what he is learning at home with what he is learning at school. 

Question of the Day

So, dear friends, I have a parenting question for you…Avi has Oppositional Defiant Disorder. No, this isn’t a label professionals put on bratty kids who need more discipline. It is an actual disorder. It would be fair to say that Avi suffers from it. Suffers, because it is unpleasant for her, as well as those around her and it makes it extremely difficult for her to maintain friendships. 

Her psychologist has suggested we reward her lack of disrespect by letting her earn something (Avi suggested a DVD player or iPod touch or iPad. We said, “ah….no”. She suggested a new LEGO set…I said maybe.)

Basically, we are supposed to set up a chart where she gets tangibly rewarded for not being disrespectful and not arguing…I feel very conflicted about this idea.

On one hand, I understand helping her get rid of an old habit and replacing it with a new one. We had great success in getting Avi and Tucker to stop sucking their fingers/thumb this way. Never mind that a few weeks later Avi started sucking her fingers again. I reminded her of our deal and she said, “It doesn’t matter…I lost my LEGO pieces anyway“. For the record, we were persistent, and she no longer sucks her fingers.

On the other hand, I feel that it is sending the wrong message to my other kids, when she gets a LEGO set for not being disrespectful. Yes, this is an area she needs to work on (so does Tucker) but do I really need to reward it with something tangible?

To complicate things in the past, any reference to her good behavior, any positive reenforcement, makes her behavior worse. It is part of the ODD. 

The psychologist has also suggested we reward Mordecai with something tangible (he suggested a trip to McDonald’s; the dr suggested a LEGO mini figure) for not raging. The problem with that is, he goes through good periods where he doesn’t rage or act out. I could reward the heck out of those days or weeks, but that isn’t the issue…the issues is the times he does rage.

So, according to the psychologist, we should set up charts are reward Avi for not being disrespectful and reward Mordecai for not going on a violent ramapage…meanwhile, the other kids who already have to live with this very difficult behavior, of course, get nothing. 

While I *could* set up reward charts for everyone, it seems like a logistical and financial nightmare…

And doesn’t rewarding something like “not being disrespectful” take away the intrinsic  desire to be respectful, just for the sake of being respectful…What is the motivation to behave in the future? 

So what are your thoughts? How have you dealt with difficult behavior in your children? 

Make Homework Just a Little Bit Sweeter

Make homework just a little bit sweeter
I remember when I was a kid (before I decided I would homeschool my children), I used to imagine what it would be like when my children came home from school each day. I could see myself in an apron, hot cookie sheet in hand. My adorable children were crowded around my kitchen island. I handed each of the children a still-warm chocolate chip cookie. They ate them with glee and gulped frosty cold milk. I could imagine every detail in my mind.

Toaster Strudels make a great after school snack I got married, had children, refused to wear an apron, and began homeschooling. I baked my kids plenty of chocolate chip cookies (now they bake their own), but we didn’t have an after-school snack . . . since we didn’t have an after school. Then life took some twists and turns that I never could have anticipated. And suddenly, my kids were in school and we had not only “after school,” but homework as well!

Our after-school routine includes: hanging up backpacks, doing homework, and eating a snack.

Toaster Strudels make a great after school snack!

Homework time can be rough after a long day at school, so I try to sweeten the deal with a satisfying snack. I usually choose something predictable: fresh veggies, crackers, cheese, etc. But every once in a while I like to surprise them with something unexpected like Toaster Strudel™.

Toaster Strudel™ is celebrating its 30th birthday by putting 30% more icing in all Toaster Strudel™ packages!

What is your go-to afterschool snack? What would your kids love for you to surprise them with for a snack?

Excuse Me Ma’am, Do I Smell Alcohol

This weekend we attempted to watch the blood moon rise while at a youth group Camp Night. The camp night, fun. The blood moon? A bit underwhelming from our vantage point. But hey, I felt photographically obligated to try to get a picture anyway.

blood moon 2015

Youth Group 2

Today, I want to share with you one more reason why you should be thankful you aren’t me.

You probably didn’t drive around with alcohol in your vehicle, hoping the cops wouldn’t pull you over.

Yesterday, while making an emergency trip to Trader Joe’s for Chunky Olive Hummus and pita bread, we had an incident in the van. Out of no where I heard large BANG! At first I thought Apollo had thrown something, but when I turned around he was just as shocked as me. A plastic bottle with a bit of some unknown liquid apparently fermented in our van…and the built up gasses made it explode. No one was hurt, but the van was filled with the unmistakable scent of alcohol. I was terrified I was going to get pulled over and have to try to explain to the policeman that I didn’t actually have open alcohol in my van and hadn’t been drinking…it was really just really old,  fermented juice.

Teens gathered around a campfire

Why, why does this stuff always happen to me?

teen Karo und campfire

I have no idea…but hey, the cops didn’t pull me over, and we made it home with our hummus. I call that a good day.

In case you missed it, you an enter to win $100 VISA by just leaving a comment on yesterday’s post: My Unique Children. I don’t about you, but I could use an extra $100! 

The Life Changing Magic of Sending Your Kids to School

{Post contains affiliate links}Life Changing Magic

I’m sure you have heard of the best-selling book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo. In fact, I’ve mentioned it on this blog before. I love clean, uncluttered spaces. I enjoy organization and order. Marie Kondo suggests to sort by category (like books or clothes), that you pile them all in one place, and only keep the things that spark joy. This, Kondo asserts, will mean you only need to tidy once, ever. Sound too good to be true? I wouldn’t know. I live with 10 other people and could never actually do this.

In fact, there is a direct correlation between the book and The Magic of Having and Empty House During the Day. Marie Kondo insists you tidy in this order: Clothes, Books, Papers, and then Komono (miscellaneous). Apparently this single gal from Japan didn’t have a kitchen, because that isn’t even a category in her book.  What the heck, right?

Wheel I could never follow her method exactly (though judging from my kids’ rooms, they’re trying. Last time I ventured in they had everything pile on the floor…that’s step one, right?) I’ve found a different type of life changing magic…it’s called sending your kids to school.

You all know I love homeschooling. I think homeschooling is the bomb. I was sad when our homeschooling came to an end earlier this year. The school days are long and I miss my kids. But you know what? I am actually getting stuff done.  You know, Getting Stuff Done, that state that seems purely mythical once you begin to reproduce and fill your house with the pitter-patter of toys being thrown on the floor. 

Here is what I have discovered during The Life Changing Magic of Sending Your Kids to School: 

1. Dishes magically stay clean.

My routine is to wash the breakfast dishes and clean the kitchen as soon as the Big Yellow Bus pulls away. Turns out, my kitchen magically stays clean. All. Day. Long! 

2. There really is a laundry fairy.

True, the laundry fairy is me, but at least now I am available to finish the job. My laundry baskets (for 11 people) are empty on a regular basis now. I can do my usual 4-5 loads of laundry per day, and fold them. I sort them into these baskets and the children put their laundry away when they get home from school. This is so astonishing, in fact, that the kids are commenting on it. Jubilee said at dinner recently, “I put this shirt in the laundry basket this morning, and when I got home it was clean and folded!“.  There you go, friends, that’s magic right there.

3. Bills get paid and paperwork gets filed away.

While I’d love to get on board with Marie Kondo and throw all of our paperwork away, that doesn’t seem prudent. I run a business, Chuck had a business for several years and I have a medically complex child (his records alone are about 18 inches of paper). I have taken her advice and gotten rid of manuals, etc, that can be found on-line. You know what else? With a quiet house and lack of peanut butter covered hands and poop-polisions, I can actually pay those bills and file the paperwork properly. That’s a win right there!

4. My kids are getting an education, even when I’m busy.

My busy isn’t Normal People busy. I have three kids in the house right now with special needs that time up a lot of time, require a lot of doctor’s visits and cause a whole lot of drama. Before sending the kids to school, a trip to Seattle meant a missed school day. Doctor’s appointments meant missed school work, a messy house and a frazzled mom. Now, I work  hard to schedule appointments and get my computer work done while my kids are in school. It is a beautiful thing, my friends. 

If you don’t have the Life Changing Magic of Sending Your Kids to School, you might want to read another favorite book of mine, Sidetracked Home Executives. The authors (two moms who happen to be sisters) are hilariously funny! Not only will you laugh your head off, but you may also pick up a few helpful tips. These sisters wrote the book while their houses were messy, cluttered and full of young children. Years later, they reflected back and commented about how much easier is was to keep house once their children got older. It seems to be a fact of life, friends, it’s hard to keep a lovely, tidy home when it is full of sweet little babies. 

So there you have it. Need some life-changing magic? If your house is full of young children, it may just take a while to achieve it. But at least now you have another fun book to read while you wait for the kids to grow up.

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