Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Affordable Fun with your Children: rewarding good behaviour

You see, my son has selective hearing, the kind where mommy tends to repeat herself 7 times before something gets done. And quite frankly my wits where on their last end. Enter the check list reward system.  I’ll write a different post about that later. But one thing I know about most children, is that offering a reward or some other appropriate incentive can often be a great motivator. Now I’m not talking about bribing, I’m talking about teaching a child the concept of action and consequence, as well as how good behaviour is praiseworthy and ill behaviour will not get you anywhere. Unless Mommy is extremely tired and just can’t deal with it.
Now the concept of rewards and incentives really got my mind flowing with how this kind of a system wouldn’t be draining our family budget. So here are some ideas that I came up with:

1) A Local Library Trip. They are free, fun and educational. The kid gets to pick his own books and we get to keep them for a few weeks. Perfect!

2) Free Swim at the Recreation Pool. We have one just down the road from us, so this is an easy option.

3) A Bake Night with Mom. Now I admit, I love baking, so to me, this is fun, but I know it wouldn’t be to everyone.  Get them to measure out the ingredients, mix it together, or use the mixer if they can, set the timer, etc. Make ‘em feel like they did it all! (Alternative for those who cringe at the word baking: you could do a pancake breakfast, or make smoothies, or just do an ice cream topping night.)

4) Craft Evening. Check out the site, The Crafty Crow for a million easy ideas. Then hit up your local dollar store, your recycle bin, or the outdoors for your supplies.

5) Play Pretend. Tonight the boy and I made a ‘club house’ smack in the middle of the living room. We used some chairs, bed sheets, sleeping bags, pillows, toys, books, games and of course music. We played in it for about an hour by reading, playing Guess Who and putting on our own puppet show with his stuffed animals. He loved it.

6) Home Movie Night. We usually do a family movie night every other Friday that consists of: a totally lame talking animal movie, popcorn from our air popper which he loves to do, a dark atmosphere, cozy clothes and blankets.

How do you reward your children? What technique do you use to motivate? What other affordable options have you done with your family?

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