I know parenting experts are divided on the idea of bribery. So we’re just going to call it a reward system and leave it at that okay?
It started with Noah and trying to get him to stick to his diet at school. Because of his ADHD we’ve removed all preservatives, high fructose corn syrup and dyes from his diet. That pretty much rules out every item in the average fifth graders lunchbox.
Obviously we have found alternatives for him and he dutifully packs his lunch every day. But at lunch time something weird happens.
EVERY kid at his table has some irresistible treat that they are all too willing to share. Apparently self-control is not very easy for him. (Hm, who does that sound like?)
There is NO doubt when he has eaten something with evil chemicals in it. We can tell within about 20 minutes of him being home. When asked he will fess up to eating someone’s cookie or drinking someone’s chocolate milk. “But it’s sooo hard mom!”
And I feel for him, I really do. Try as we might there are just some things that he really loves that there are no substitutes for. (Although that is getting better. Who knew there would be organic “cheetos”).
So we offered up a reward system. Stick to your diet at school, get a Hershey’s Kiss when you get home. Stick to it for 30 days in a row and we’ll buy you a new book. (Can I just say that I love that books are a reward for my kids! Yeah for readers!) Of course, if you know Noah you know that he’s constantly trying to up the ante and work new milestones into the system.
So then the other kids wanted in on the deal and gave me the “it’s not fair” plea which got my standard response of “Life’s not fair. Suck it up!” 🙂
When I explained that we were trying to help Noah with a problem area, they all-too-quickly started offering up their own “problem areas” that they deemed could be fixed with chocolate and books.
So they all four have different goals. If they meet their goal for the day they get the chocolate and the same book offer stands. Natalie is working on not hitting/grabbing Luke all the time (it’s “love pats”, but still annoying). Luke is working on not dawdling when given a task. Beza is working on not whining, complaining and having a bad attitude.
We’re only two days in but I have to say that I’m loving it. It’s an inexpensive reward system and seems to be helping. I wasn’t sure how well it would work with Beza who, admittedly, has the largest obstacle to overcome (besides Noah). She didn’t make it the first day but did catch herself several times. Yesterday she had a GREAT day.
The power of chocolate is amazing!