It’s a Saturday morning and I’m not fully awake : sitting in my kitchen, snuggling a kiss in my 5 years old’s neck and sipping my usual decaf absentmindedly. As my too-hot decaf awakes me a little bit, I suddently notice several things : my boys are fully dressed, the breakfast table has been cleaned up, the dishwasher is empty. Then my oldest comes to me and says with a smile : “Mom, I just finished my homework for the weekend, can I begin my screen time please ?” I smile back to him, isn’t a perfect Saturday morning? God bless reward systems!!!
At our house, we’ve been using family rules and a reward system for the kids for 5 years now. They earn stars, they use stars. Can you guess what their favorite use of star is? Screen time, of course!
What does screen time mean for us? Either time on the iPad (games or cartoons) watching a DVD or just watching TV. Any screen really.
To be perfectly honest with you, reward systems have pro’s and con’s.
- Con’s : in our over-entitled world, rewards put once again the emphasis on extrinsic motivation. This is definitely not a tool that will help you to build strong and responsible intrinsic motivations within your kids. But I’m sure the wonderful mom that you are will find the right balance in using different parenting tools.
- Pro’s : it works like magic when you put it in place AND it’s a huge motivating tool when you match the rewards with the things your kids enjoy (screen time, having friends over and choosing family-get-together in my case).
I’m sure that each family is different and the best thing you could do is define your own family rules and kids reward system. But if you lack time, just use mine and give it a try!
This year, my husband and I will be working in our Family Mission Statement. I can’t wait! I will keep you posted 🙂