It is officially summer. Well, not officially of course. But school's out and my kids have started fighting. So that means it's summer. Today, three of my kids slept until 8:15 and one slept until 9am. Loving that! We have a little bit of time before t-ball games start and swim team begins so this week I'm going to enjoy fewer responsibilities. Plus, I'm saving money. It's next to impossible to run multiple errands with all four kids. So, I'm not currently shopping. Too bad I'm almost out of milk and bread. We'll just improvise, right? Water in cereal never hurt anyone! We're going to stay home and remember that we love each other! Some days that's easier said than done!
Last year, I used marble jars to reward my kids for good behavior and chores done. We still use them from time to time, but they're not a giant motivating factor right now. This summer I think I'll try something different. Lately, I've found myself saying a few things pretty repeatedly.
"There are consequences for your actions."
"The way you speak to people matters."
"When someone prepares a meal for you, you should be respectful..."
"Your sisters are your best friends, treat them that way."
The list is growing, but I'm thinking that each week I should just focus on a specific issue and really make sure the kids are getting it. This week we're talking about the consequences for our actions. Instead of me giving multiple warnings, I'm just giving out the consequences they know to expect.
1. We were at a playground and the kids were fighting. I gave them one warning to play nicely or we'd leave. After 3 minutes of playing - we left. I was not a popular mom, but they know the behavior I expect from them.
2. Sophia was out back yelling at her sister. I made her immediately come in for time out and we talked about the way she speaks to people. Yelling is not necessary and rarely gets you what you want.
3. Sophia and Anna were standing on the stairs fighting over a scarf. Seriously? So, I made them stand in my room, *gently* tied the scarf around their waists while they remained in a lovely hugging position for 3 minutes. I set the timer and said when it beeped if they weren't smiling I'd restart it. They were smiling (one through tears) and they were then sent back downstairs to play without the scarf.
Yes, this was just one day and believe me, I've got more examples than that. I'm not going to be very popular this week, but I'm hoping we will at least see some improvements! There's a sign on my fridge now. It says...
There are consequences for your actions.
Here's hoping we all learn this lesson quickly! Wish me luck. I think I'm going to need it.