Because it was going to be a stormy weekend, I knew that we wouldn’t able to go outside to wear them out or do much on separating them, so I decided to use incentives to motivate my kids. You can call it bribing, but I like to look at it as an opportunity for them to work on being kind to one another and practice resolving conflict in a nice way.
So we had a family meeting where we explained that we were going to set a timer for every 30 minutes. We explained that if they were kind, respectful, didn’t fight or irritate each other, they would earn a point. Then at the end of the day, they got to use their points to buy treats from our “treat box”. The nicer they were, the more points they had to spend. If they messed up, they got a fresh start the next 30 minutes to earn another point.
I wasn’t sure how this was going to work, but when my son started coming up with ideas of things he could do that would keep him stress free and out of trouble for a while, I knew we were off to a great start.
Only once did my son forfeit a point, this became a very heated moment, but he was able to calm back down and focus again on earning the next point. Overall, it was an amazing day, every 30 minutes the timer would beep and I’d yell, “Everyone earned a point!” then the boys would yell out big cheers of celebration.
As for my husband and I, we enjoyed an amazing day relaxing, reading, and even napping. With the conflict being eliminated from our house, I was even able to enjoy baking cookies with my middle child. At the end of the day the boys cashed in their points, each earning a small bag of treats. Then they enjoyed their treats while we played a family game before bed.
It really was a perfect day.
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So are you curious if we were able to do this on Sunday? I’m excited to report “YES!” After church we began the timer game and my son with the mood disorder actually earned the most points. When I asked him how he was able to keep it together, he said, “I just kept thinking about how upset I was when I didn’t earn a point yesterday and didn’t want that to happen again.”
To avoid offering up too much candy, on day two the boys cashed in their points for money. The most earned was a buck, now that was money well spent!