I know, it is very out of character that I do something notably not dumb. Especially parenting-wise. However, in an uncharacteristic fit of parental inspiration I did something. I did something and it worked!
After Husband’s last work training, he came home with a plasticy portfolio/clipboard thingy with a logo from his work on it that I intended to throw away (under the cover of darkness, of course) before the kids found it and insisted it become theirs and was sucked into the void of crap-n-clutter. Then I realized that there must be some way I could capitalize on their desire to posses stuff that I want to throw away. If they wanted it so badly, there must be a way I could make them do stuff I want them to do, like pick up
their crap after themselves and not hit each other with sticks be kind to each other in order to get it. But not just once, I wanted this extortion good behavior to go on as long as possible. A month is too long to hope for, but a week, perhaps. That’s do-able. Hmmmm… I thought and thought and came up with the idea of a raffle! (Editor’s note: I actually didn’t come up with that on my own, the school does something like this to make the kids read books, but whatever.)
I dug a mason jar out of the cabinet, (Have I mentioned I am a hoarder of mason jars? I love love love them!) bought some brand new teeny tiny sticky notes and I was in the raffle business.
I assembled the shorties and told them I had something very exciting for them. I explained the raffle and then unveiled the clipboard in the style of a Price is Right model. Pumpkin Pie was rapt. He is just the right age for this kind of thing. Pickles was totally on board because he wanted that clipboard and he wanted it bad. He made a list of activities that were worthy of earning raffle tickets on an index card. Sweet Pea was mildly apathetic, but was much happier when I explained that raffle tickets would never be taken away. Once we got rolling, he got into it as much as the other two.
Here are the things that became much more palatable when rewarded with a raffle ticket:
- going down into the basement to turn off the lights
- walking the dog
- feeding the dog even if it isn’t your turn
- giving the dog fresh water even if it isn’t your turn
- playing nicely with your brother
- reading to your brother
- not being a butt head to your brother while Mom is in the shower
- taking out the trash/recycling cans
- bringing in the trash/recycling cans even if it is raining
- carrying a laundry basket upstairs when you are tired
- putting a tv show on for your brother who can’t operate the DVR yet
- settling a dispute on your own
without bloodshed or swear-pot wordsin a reasonably fair way
- turning off your noise machine/fan in the morning
- windexing the storm doors
- flushing the toilet
- carrying shoes upstairs (even if they aren’t yours)
- setting the dinner table without complaining
At the end of the week, I folded all the little pieces of paper, held the jar up high and let Pumpkin Pie pick one ticket out. He happened to draw his own name and of course the Brothers called foul play and there was general unrest. Pumpkin Pie liked winning, but he didn’t care about the clipboard, so he traded it to Pickles for some other plastic toy that someone probably playing skee ball at the Fun Plex. Whatever, they were both happy.
The item being auctioned this week is a set of two lovely gold $1 coins with Andrew Jackson’s face on them. I think Sweet Pea has his eye on them, but Pickles he can make more money getting actual money for his chores. Rock on, Pickles. As long as the basement is clean, I don’t care how it got that way! I’ll let you know how it goes.
(Image Credits: Good behavior collar available from dogtrainingproducts here but *not* at Babies R Us. Raffle tickets available at amazon.com, My
ridiculously poorly planned and marketed toy cleaning trolley is available on kaboodle)