Friday, February 26, 2016

Accentuate the Positive

Have you ever heard that song Accentuate the Positive?  The Andrew Sisters and Bing Crosby (old, old school) sang it and it was on Disney's The Mighty Ducks movie as well.  This song came to mind as I was praying for wisdom in parenting my boys, discipline, good character, chores...everything.  I frequently find myself laying in bed at night, after all the house is tucked in and sleeping, pleading to God for wisdom.  In the book of James, we are told to ask God for wisdom and He will give it to us generously; without finding fault. Parenting is challenging work and knowing that I have the Creator of the universe listening to my prayers gives me strength and peace in this journey.  I have three delightful, curious, full of everything kids; Ren is almost 7, Sam is 3 and Alex is a couple months shy of two.

This picture is hilariously them....funny, distracted and ready to take it all in.

I hunted around for ideas of how to implement a system that would work for my boys, focusing on good behavior, completing age appropriate chores, starting an allowance system for Ren and rewards that we can do, that have a focus on fun, individualism and building family relationships.  The Character Counts and Good Job Jar system is what I came up with.

I bought glass jars and popsicle craft sticks from Hobby Lobby, Ren and Sam picked out stickers and letters to decorate their jars and we used the letters of our last name acrostically (Kindness, Obedience, Serving, Truthful, Eager, Ready, Meek, AWESOME, Neat) to come up with the character traits that we wanted to focus Ren on and added lines to the side of Sam's jar to give him goals that he can see.  The rewards that they can choose from are: Pizza and Movie Night, 15 Minutes of Extra Screen Time, Staying Up 30 Minutes Past Bedtime, Your Dinner Choice, Extra Date with Mama or Daddy, Choose a Family Outing and One Snack Pick at the Grocery. 

We started Ren's Character Counts on his 6th birthday last year. These Character Counts are earned though out the day and counted at the end of each week.  He earns them through daily chores (Feeding the pets, putting his laundry in the hamper and also putting it away once I do the laundry, taking the trash from the bathrooms out on Wednesday, emptying the dishwasher of plastics and silverware and picking up toys and books at the end of playtime/day.) and his overall attitude through out the day. Each stick is worth .10  and is used to determine an allowance for Ren. The AWESOME stick is given when he has a really awesome day or does something that really stands out to Ed and I (going above and beyond, thinking of others, etc). The AWESOME stick is used to pick a reward and does not count toward his allowance. If Ren earns more than one AWESOME stick though out the week than he can pick more then one reward.   His allowance earnings have varied in the last year, the average is $2.30. Ren has earned as much as $8 one week and as little as .80.  He saved up all his allowance, for about 7 months this past year, to buy his own fish tank.  The pride and excitement he had when he paid the cashier for the tank out of his own wallet was the coolest thing.  He still has the receipt from that purchase in his wallet and is now saving for another pet. 

We recently started a Good Job Jar for Sam and he earns poms though out the day; there are lines on the jar and once he has earned poms to the line then he can choose a reward.  Sam earns poms by: using his words instead of just crying, picking up his toys and books, peacefully going to bed, putting his clothes in the hamper and being obedient.  

Earning Character Counts and Good Job Poms helps me to "Accentuate the Positive" in my boys.  Before we started the Counts and Poms I found myself  highlighting their negative behavior; to myself and to them.  Philippians 4:8 tells us to think on the things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and think on and highlight these things.  We don't always have great days (in fact the last two days have been a been a huge challenge for me and Ren) but using this system helps our focus and puts their good behavior and choices on the forefront of their minds though out the day.  

Do you have a system that works in your house? I would love to hear about it!

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