Wednesday, January 26, 2011

First Time Asked

I stood in front of the kids and clapped my hands like an idiot and said, "I have already said twice, GO. GET. YOUR. SNEAKERS."  Then my rational self said, "What the HELL are you doing?  Look at yourself.  YOU are the mother yet you're acting like the 4 year old with the clapping and asking for something to be done multiple times."  It was then that I decided I'm not asking for things twice (or three times) anymore.  Well, I might, but there will be no sweetness reward if I have to.  

It's all about training.  Somewhere along the way I've gotten less strict apparently because my words the first time hold absolutely no meaning.  I'm not sure how that happened but it did and it needs to change.  I'll do that with positive reinforcement for now.  Then my hope is that I can slowly wean everyone off the positive reinforcement thing and it'll be second nature.  Don't laugh, it's my goal.

So here's my grand plan.  It's called the First Time Asked chart.  You do it the first time I ask, you get a sticker.  TA DAH!  You fill up your sticker chart you get a little somin' somin'.  TA DAH!   

Now in the mornings when I say, "Everyone go get your socks and sneakers, please." I'm going to expect everyone to jump up and do it.  Expecting too much, you say?  Well, you haven't see the reward at the end of a full sticker chart.  Here it is!

This is one of those things they advertise on TV and the kids will say, "Mommy, can we ge?" and I cut them off and say, "No, we're not getting those."  This has been something they've wanted for a while and I knew it would be a hit.  I think the key to the First Time Asked chart is having somewhat of a buy-in.  I bought this reward already and showed it to them.  They know it is here and it exists and it's literally within reach.  Now, it has nothing to do with me.  It's all about them and their choices.

Here they are.  So simple, right?  William has racecar stickers, Drew has heart stickers.  I tried to make it awesome and fun and something different from the other.  We also brainstormed together some areas which we have difficulty following directions the first time.  Some look rather general and they are - Lauren means anything having to do with Lauren.  If you're making her angry and I ask you to stop, I expect you to the first time, etc.  If I ask you to get ready for karate I expect you to, etc. 

I have explained, and they understand, that not every single action will result in a sticker, it may be somewhat hit-and-miss.  You never know when mommy is going to bust out with the stickers!  I'm drunk with power just thinking about it!  I know that if I had to be responsible for putting stickers on everytime I opened my mouth and they obeyed that I wouldn't be consistant and this wouldn't work.  I also made the rule that if you ask for a sticker after you've done something then you absolutely get no sticker.

We'll see how this goes.  I'm hopeful at this point because they are so super jazzed about those stupid Mighty Beanz.  Whatever it takes to get this off the ground...

Also, while browsing the teacher's store this morning I bought a few extras I thought the kids may enjoy.

I put the alphabet strip up in William's room.  He's 4 and obviously knows the alphabet and sounds BUT writing uppercase and lowercase letters is still an art form he is perfecting.  I know he'll lay in bed and stare at these and I'm hoping that will help him to visualize the correct way to write both uppercase and lowercase.

And obviously he can count to 100 but he enjoys the relationship between numbers so I know this will be fun for him to look at.  "Mommy, all the even ones are in blue!"  That is exactly what I'd hoped for.  He'll find all kinds of cool things that go on with numbers while laying in bed staring at this.

This is the ceiling above Drew's bed.  It's just a chart with some sight words.  She can read them all and it makes her feel proud to lay in bed and recite them all. 

So, that's my new system.  I'll let you know how it's working.  Fingers crossed that it's effective.  Plan B is much uglier.

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  1. Yes! Love it. I hope it works. First time asked is rare..or I get the "I know. Why do you keep telling/asking me?" I HATE THAT. Ryan would be the child that asked for a sticker for breathing right so I"m glad you mentioned you don't get a sticker for everything!

  2. You always have sweet rewards. Now I just need to figure out a reward they are super excited for. I love it when you post things on their ceilings.

  3. If I was William I wouldn't be laying in bed looking at those letters, I'd be staring at that sweet tank all day! F--- learning, I wanna blow s--- up! Well, good luck with this rewards program. We have a mileage rewards credit card from Virgin which we use like fiends and we're bloody adults, so I'm sure it'll be a success!

  4. OMG...I was going to comment on this last night, but got distracted (crazy baby and a three year old who didn't want to try the potty...don't ask)

    So is it ok if I copy, borrow, pilfer this idea? Because this is my biggest pet peeve. Why o why must we as mothers ask our kids to do things mulitple times ... like really you didn't hear me the firt time I yelled it at you...ugh. Then the worst is I catch myself begging. EMBARASSING.


  5. Kim Crippen-WillardJanuary 27, 2011 at 11:59 AM

    love this..stealing it...and im also...heading to School Works for some of those ABC, Number & Word charts for Aubreys ROOM! Love ur your parenting your honesty & your humor!

  6. As a former Reading Specialist, turned SAHM I can honestly say "thank goodness for you!" This is what I tell the parents of my struggling readers to do (charts and all), and they silently nod their heads with glazed over eyes! Even just having it up on the walls (without saying a word) will sink in in ways you have never imagined!
    See my reading blog for more tips to try too:

    Or my Mommy Blog at:


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