Summers can be tough for moms, right? I know, this is no great insight to those of you who are moms, but still, it bears statement. Summers are a special challenge.
Last year, I started working with Sammy, just a little bit each day, on subjects his teacher suggested to help him going into first grade. I knew that transition wouldn’t be easy for him, so I wanted to give him a head start if I could. I think he actually enjoyed it, or at least didn’t complain all that much. So this year, I met with his teacher to get some ideas for the summer before second grade, and since she is awesome, she gave me a ton of stuff to do, including things for Sabrina if she wanted to join in (of course she wanted to join in anything her big brother was doing, pa-leez).
I’m not a home schooling mom, hoo boy, oh no. I give much respect to those who are, but I do not have the depth nor breadth of knowledge I’d need to feel comfortable being in charge of my child’s education, nor do I have the patience. What I’m doing is trying to keep up the skills the kids have already learned and maybe introduce a little bit of something they’ll be seeing in the near future, all under the guise of spending an hour away from the TV and computer. And I’m no fool, they know what’s going on, and it’s not like they coming running in every day, overflowing with joy about doing another worksheet, and they do whine about it often. But they thrive on routine, so that’s a good start to get them going.
But I also stumbled onto another motivating factor (in addition to making Mama happy, natch). Sometime during the first day, I started assigning points for each activity they did, and they grabbed onto the concept like starving dogs on a t-bone. I flashed back to my mom giving us tickets on car trips for good behavior, and how she’d have this bag of treats that we could buy with our earnings. Well, that worked pretty well back then, so I ran with it, and decided they could use their points in the Mommy Store.
Holy cow, has this been working. I didn’t get around to actually opening the Mommy Store until about 3 weeks in (I’d promised a weekly shopping visit), and it didn’t matter as long as I was still handing out and tallying their points. Over the weeks, it’s expanded to include points of good behavior and doing chores unbidden and can even be bestowed by their grandparents. And because I am the great and powerful Mommy, I can take points away, and boy does that get them to sit up and take notice. Sammy is on the hunt now that he’s seen what’s available to him if he saves up (I still can’t believe he didn’t blow his stash when I opened the store), and actively asks for ways to earn points. He cleaned up his sister’s toys last night. This is fantastic!
Now that I’ve written this, it will all fall apart next week, but for now, I’m loving that I’ve finally found a positive method that directly results in good behavior. I’m tired of time outs and toy removal, and it doesn’t work all that well anyway. But so far, fingers crossed, this is.
Hopefully, they won’t figure out that most of my inventory comes from the dollar store any time soon.