I have learned over the past 4 years that there is no one parenting book or style to which I can ascribe totally. I have gleaned bits of wisdom from a dozen or so, but truly, parenting involves creativity and flexibility, especially when multiple children with differing personalities are involved!
I would describe my current model as a blend of counting to 3, prayer, green-yellow-red light, reward charts, and Love and Logic.
I made up the "Yes Game" last week out of frustration with the frequency with which my children were saying "yeah," "uh-huh" and "uh-uh." The rules are simple:
Each time a someone replies with a Yes or No= 1 pointNo/Yes, ma'am/sir, Yes, please, or No, thank you = 2 points
Yeah, Nope, Yep, Uh-uh or Uh-huh = Lose all your points (Wipeout!)When anyone gets to 20 points they get a dollar store treat.
We have been playing for about 10 days with great success. (and my husband and I are now realizing how often we say the offending words, too)
Because loading the car to go anywhere is a very frustrating process for me, I was looking for a non-confrontation way to speed up my pokey little people. So, we have turned loading the car into a race against the clock. I count as they are climbing in and buckling. I don't stop counting until all three sets of harnesses are securely fastened. There is no tangible reward for this, we are just trying to beat our own record.
The latest addition is a fun treat my friend, Emily, brought on her visit Monday. She gave us a large glass cannister full of Hersey's Kisses with a label on the front that says: "Kisses for Kindness." This is a simple way to reward children on the spot for showing kindness. The only ground rule is that they are not allowed to 'toot their own horn' and ask for a treat. They have to be 'caught in the act' doing the right thing.
At this age I am finding the more I can turn a challenge into a game or competition the more willing my children are to joyfully participate. I'd love to hear your ideas of how to make chores or everyday challenges more fun.