We had a rough few weeks about a month ago. Both children were driving me mad. They were naughty, highly strung, rude, generally being rather trying. So I had enough, things were about to change.
We’ve had a reward chart for The Beast since he was about two and a half. It was a magnet one, and always worked very well, however, as he began school it began to conflict with the chart in the classroom, and suddenly my threats of “if I get to three and you’ve not put your shoes on you won’t get a magnet” were falling on deaf ears. No more scurrying into the hall as I did a haphazard attempt at remembering fractions in my low deep voice “ONEEEE….TWOOOOO…TWOOO AND A HALF….TWO AND THREE QUARTERS…..TWO AND SEVENTEEN EIGHTHS…” that sort of thing, instead a dismissive look at me, followed by a shrug.
We also bought The Chunky Monkey a chart from The Early Learning Centre. It was crap. I’m sorry but it was! Anything magnetic where the magnets provided don’t stick to it does not count as good, I am forever finding tiny rocket magnets and starts strewn across the room, and when I did my counting he was enthused, he LOVES numbers, so we quickly became aware that every time we counted to discipline he’d jump up and down, clap, and carry on counting for us. There was no look of fear, no look of remorse, just sheer pleasure.
So we went for a change, and as it seemed to work in the classroom, we ripped off the chart from school. Although, in true Aimee style, I had to make it slightly different, I didn’t want to make it so similar that it was competing with the one from school, so instead of star, sunshine and clouds, we went for for a space theme.
Basically the monkeys start at number one (the green planet), and if they are bad they go down to earth with a bang and a toy is confiscated. If they’re good they can go up the chart, and if they’re outstanding they get on number 5 which is the moon, and there they have a choice, they can have a small reward (ice-cream for pudding, some stickers for a sticker book, something teeny tiny), or they can work towards something big that they really want (Iron-Man suit etc.). We go through and discuss it every night before bed and reset it every day.
So, is it working? I think so…
The Beast has fallen down to earth once (he refused to do his writing at school), he chose to surrender his Black Spider-Man suit, mumbling under his breath “doesn’t matter anyway, I still have my muscle one to play in”. Oh. That told me. But as a whole he’s responded well, he’s earned a few cool treats, he’s enjoyed the satisfaction of climbing up chart and he’s also become far more aware of his actions.
The Chunky Monkey…he’s another kettle of fish. Every day the conversation goes…
Me: Let’s do rockets!
Me: Now, you’ve not eaten anything today, you’ve had a 45 minute tantrum because you didn’t want to get dressed, and a random stranger had to help me force you into your pushchair today…soooo…
L: WOT MUMMY? WOT NUMBER?
Me: So you’re going to go to 0 I’m afraid. <sad, disappointed face, helps The Chunky Monkey move peg to the bottom of the chart>
L: YAYYYYYY! I DID ZERRROOOOO I DID ZERROOOO DADDDYYY I DID ZEROOOOO!
Me: So, we’re going to be taking away the Barry books until you can behave batter (THANK GOD, I AM SICK OF READING BARRY THE BLOODY FISH WITH FINGERS)
L: Otayyy, bye bye Barry!
However, I tell myself, it’s geting him used to it, as he grows older and understands more consequences he’ll start to realise that Zero isn’t good…won’t he?! After all, I can’t keep shutting him in the hall and leaning on the door…he’s bigger then me!