By Rana DiOrio, Founder, Little Pickle Press
August 15, 2010
The week before last we hosted two houseguests contemporaneously. One was a mommy of two girls. The other was a transpersonal psychologist and presence expert. While eating breakfast at our banquette, they each noticed our House Rules, Chore Chart, and Rewards posted on the wall. They both remarked on them and suggested I share them, so here goes.
The House Rules. Quite simply, our House Rules are as follows:
If one of our children contravenes a House Rule, they get a time out — 6 minutes for the 6 year old and 5 minutes for the 5 year old. If they break the rules twice within the same day, then the consequence is that they spend the afternoon alone in their room.
I have to admit that at first, I thought the scheme was rather draconian. I mean, the time outs are age appropriate, but the lock down for an afternoon seemed rather tough. Our nanny (who is an early childhood educator) and my husband encouraged me to suspend my disbelief, so I did. The results were remarkable. Each of our older children tested the boundaries just once, that is, they broke the rules twice within a day and had to spend an afternoon alone in their room. Then, they haven’t again since.
The Chore Chart. Hand in glove with our House Rules is our Chore Chart, which lists the community tasks we encourage our 6 and 5 year old to help us with on a daily basis. They earn one star for each chore they accomplish.
We find that giving them this kind of responsibility (in addition to the accountability of the House Rules) makes them feel seen and acknowledged.
The Rewards. Once they accrue fifteen (15) stars, they get the reward of their choice. They developed this list of rewards with our help.
Please notice that the rewards are less material and more about spending special moments with my husband or me. By no means do we have all the answers, but when we have a parenting technique that works, I’ll be sure to share it. Please feel free to do the same at email@example.com.
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