Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Go Two

Last week, I implemented a "behavior" chart in our house. It's actually a "positive reinforcement" chart with the added advantage of peer pressure!! Since we are home to an ultra-overachiever and a don't knock the status quo adherent, I decided we needed to address both personalities in a way that I would receive the optimum results.

I made it pretty simple, and thus far it has had some positive results. Each child has three "behaviors" they can earn stars for. For overachiever, the tasks are behavior oriented - washing the dishes, cleaning her room (specific goals here) and making lunches. Because she is so highly motivated, she has already earned her 20 stars and the monetary award that came with that achievement, $10. For status quo chick, we needed to focus on academic behaviors, so completing all her schoolwork at school, using her best handwriting and also cleaning her room (with specific goals). As an added motivation that only one child has taken advantage of, they are allowed to barter for stars. One night the girls made dinner for a star each (overachievers idea), overachiever has also cleaned the bathrooms, emptied the dishwasher and set the table. Needless to say, I'm wondering why we didn't start this last year!!

I have heard no complaints anymore about someone getting rewarded and someone else not, how unfair it is for someone who needs little effort in completing work to get rewarded when the other is not, etc. I think we've chosen achievable behaviors and people are choosing to complete them accordingly! So far, a success. I'm quite happy to have a clean kitchen sink, lunches made and kids awake to make them (=)) and no extra homework!! All in all, it's created a much more disciplined and happy household. Yay!

Oh, right... the title of this post. Overachiever has translated her encouragement to go the distance and more in all aspects of her life. Because she is now getting up early to make lunches for that star, she has time to practice running for the 1 mile Pumpkin Run. She and her friends are "training" at lunch and at home. Yesterday, while I sat in my car at the bus stop so I could head off to work, she came up to my window talking a mile a minute...

"So... last night I needed to do this book for school and I had 4 pages left. L (our babysitter) told me I should do two pages, so I remembered this verse "If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles." (Matt 5:41) I decided to do all four pages instead so it's done!"

I realized that that is the key to overachievers - doing more than they are asked and having this passion to go the distance and farther. And the motivation? It's internal, but it's increased when the effort is recognized. Reminder to self: keep the chart simple so your 10 year old doesn't get burnt out!!


Kathryn said...

Great idea!

deanna said...

Thanks! now let's just hope it's long-lasting! ;-)