Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Incentive and Thanksgiving.

Obviously, with four daughters in the house, we do a lot of talking and modeling and hoping for and stressing the importance of treating one another respect and kindness. Equally obvious is the fact that their ages and stages sometimes make it hard for them to remember to be kind or even recognize it as a valid response. This can be frustrating. Therefore, a little behavioral incentive is sometimes in order to actually create the habit of responding with patience or helpfulness first (as opposed to rudeness or cat fights).

So, we made the "random acts of kindness" jar. I drop a colored paperclip into that puppy every time I overhear someone be genuinely helpful or polite or respectful (ESPECIALLY when there was a potential for an angry or impatient reaction). When we get 30 paperclips, we all go to Menchies yogurt (from the proceeds of our coin collection jar :P) What I *don't* do is take paper clips out as punishment, or hang it over their heads as a threat...this is about creating mutual joy and camaraderie. So, they get into the habit of automatic reasonable responses, so they have the mental muscle memory of what that feels like. When they get to a moment of frustration, they have CHOICES. It's rehearsed. They can choose to be rude, but they can also choose to remember their kind words. And, if they all practice enough, they go together and have more fun in celebration of a goal achieved together with pumpkin ice cream and nuts and snicker pieces and chocolate fudge. With money they collected together. It's a baby step for such little girls in the direction toward tolerance and working out problems in a way that honors family and community, and lack of snarling and pulling hair.  And I get 20 min of zero whining. Win-win-win. Gotta dig that triple win.

We had a really lovely Thanksgiving...we traveled all the way to Atlanta, Ga to visit family, and stayed for a long weekend. (My children are now Spiderwick Chronicles fans after listening all the way there, and now blame unfortunate happenings around the house on brownie/boggarts. Joy. XoP)

 We went to the community lighting of the Christmas tree where we suffered through terrible teenage belting
renditions of classics like "Santa Baby", and the kids tried their very first cotton candy ever. (My oldest having avoided spun sugar for 8 years and my baby consuming it at 9 months...albeit her was a tiny amount for the giggle-effect. That's a testament to how lax parental standards get with each additional child ;oP) It was magical. My oldest was horrified when I started PUBLIC.

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