children, humor, kids, motherhood, parenting

The Manners Game

How do you teach your children manners?  My methods thus far have been modeling the manners I would want from my boys, and repetitive reminders to say ‘please, thank you, sir/ma’am’, hold doors for others, etc. I am officially over the repetitive reminding.  I’ve probably been over it since early 2010.  Since I don’t have a creative alternative I’m kind of stuck with what I got.  Until…

I brilliantly came up with a pebble/reward system for every time the boys use good manners in public without a reminder.  If they each fill a jar to the rim they earn a special privilege.  I especially wanted them to focus on speaking respectfully to adults.  Nothing pains me more than when a lovely elderly person asks the boys how they are doing, and the boys respond with a silly dance followed by a fall to the ground in a very unbecoming slapstick sort of way.   I was feeling good about my newly minted reward system and happy the boys showed extreme enthusiasm.  Until…

First stop was the gym.  I was headed to workout and went to drop the boys in the kid zone.  They went up to every adult in a 200 foot radius and said, “How are you doing today, ma’am/sir?”  They said, “Thank you, ma’am!” or “Thank you sir!”  if a woman or man glanced at them even in the slightest of ways (honestly, they were hard to ignore with the manners spectacular they were displaying).    They said, “You’re welcome, sir!  How are you doing today, sir?” to each other about 157 times and then tried to hold the door for every single person in the tri-county area.

At this rate I now officially owe them 497 pebbles a piece and counting. 

It’s time to tweak the rules, don’t you think?

children, mommyhood

My Nugget(s) of Wisdom

Little T.Puzzle had an excellent tae kwon do class. This morning he went to the childcare at my gym without complaint.

I think he is truly growing and expanding as a human being.


I’m getting better at bribery.

If only all conflict could be solved with the promise of chicken nuggets and fries…

children, humor, life in pictures, mommyhood

The Reward System

My sister came across an interesting article in the June/July issue of Disney’s ‘Family Fun’ magazine. It’s about a reward system to motivate your kids to help out around the house. I liked the idea so much I decided to give it a try. I’ve tweaked it considerably so it fits more for a five and three year old. I made our list of rules very broad so it could fit our changing needs of the day.

My version is if you follow the listed rules, you earn a pebble that goes in your marked jar. When the jar is filled you can have a reward of your choosing within reason of course.

When I picked up the boys from school I tried to explain the concept and the list of rules. Of course Full Speed had to throw his two cents in.

“So you’re saying that if I follow the rules, I get a pebble?”

“Yes, Full Speed, it’s that simple. What do you think some of the rules should be?” I ask.

Full Speed launches into a rote recitation of our rules of the bathtub: no splashing, no throwing toys, no hitting your brother, etc.

“You sort of have the idea but what are some rules for around the house because bathtub rules won’t really work for that,” I say.

“Oh, well there’s be a good listener, respect Mom and Dad, eat your food and don’t put your brother’s head under the couch.”

Well said.