Wednesday, December 03, 2008

My 1st Works-for-Me Wednesday!

Every Wednesday I check out a blog carnival at "Rocks in My Dryer" called "works-for-me Wednesday." Hundreds (and I'm not kidding) woman link their blogs and share something that "works for them." I've gotten quite a few ideas from there so I thought I would share something that works for me this week. You can click here to see what others have posted this week but be sure you have some time, there's a lot of links!

We have a small bucket that sits on our counter with pretty pink ribbon on the handle. We use it to measure good deeds and behavior for Allison.
It all started when we were sitting at Open House at school. Her teacher told the parents that the Guidance Counselor did a presentation to the kids about filling someone's bucket. She explained that you can fill someone's "bucket" by doing or saying nice things for or to them. Some of the things could be picking up their pencil when they drop it or telling them you like their shirt today. Basically anything that can fill them up and make them feel good. She also explained that you can take from someone's bucket and make them feel sad.
When the teacher was explaining this concept, a light went on in my head. Yes. Occasionally the light switch does get flipped and I come off with some good ideas. Anyway. I thought I could make this "Fill the Bucket" speech work for us.
I went to Michael's and bought a small galvanized bucket, floral stones and ribbon. I went to work and made the bucket look pretty and fun. After all, little girls like pretty!
I then cleared a place in our kitchen junk drawer for the stones. We actually call them pebbles. Oh...and I can't believe I'm showing you my junk drawer!

After I was prepared, we presented the idea to Allison. Basically she can earn pebbles to help fill her bucket by doing nice things or good behavior. We use it to reinforce what is expected of her. We do not have a list with how many pebbles she gets for doing a specific task posted anywhere. This isn't a "payment" or reward system for doing chores like setting the table or feeding the cats. She knows those things are some of her responsibilities of being part of a family. They are things that need to be done in the home and it's our job to get them done. It's also not a bribe system as in "if you do this, you'll get a certain amount of pebbles." The pebbles are given at Mom and Dad's discretion so she doesn't know when she will earn them or lose them. It keeps her on her toes this way. If she does something without having to be reminded, she'll earn a couple of pebbles but she also doesn't earn them every time she does something either. As an example: If she makes her bed three days in a row without being told, I'll throw a couple of pebbles in her bucket each day. If she makes it on the fourth day, I don't throw pebbles in her bucket. If she asks about it, I explain to her that it's her responsibility to make her bed and not having to remind her was wonderful for Mommy and that she shouldn't be making her bed because she thinks she's going to get something for it but because it's her responsibility. She usually understands. I then pray that I taught her a good habit and she'll make her bed the next day without being told!
Some of the things she can earn pebbles for are: doing something extra I ask her to do with no fussing, doing something without me having to tell her, eating her whole breakfast without me having to say "Allison, please eat", doing homework correctly, putting the kitties down when they squirm (she loves to hold and love them to death), giving compliments (she earned 10 the other day when she said the dinner I made was the best she's ever had in her whole life!) and she's also earned some for reciting a prayer she needed to learn for church.
Some of the things she can lose pebbles for are: not listening, sassing (yes, my sweet daughter can sass...I'm hoping it's just the age!), me having to repeat myself more than a couple of times when I ask her to do something. This one is my favorite. Through my frustration of her not doing what I ask, my voice gets louder. I admit it but I think most of you Mom's out there can relate. However, with the bucket system, I just walk over to the bucket and reach in and take a pebble out. I make sure that I make a lot of noise when I do this which is sure to result in Allison's change of attitude and she immediately does what I was asking her to do. When her stubbornness kicks in though, it does take more than one pebble at times but I make sure I am very dramatic in my actions when I take them out of the bucket and eventually she gives in. You may think this is cruel but I say it's effective.
What happens when the bucket is full, you ask?
Well. Allison gets to pick an activity. Some of the ideas I've offered up to her are: going to a movie or renting a movie of her choice, sled riding, a picnic in the park, going to the library, baking something special or anything she wants to do. She is currently working on a family picnic in the park. I told Curtis that it may be 30 degrees and snow everywhere but by golly we'll be there with our picnic basket!
Wait! Did I just say "by golly"???
Have Fun!
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pam @ beyondjustmom said...

I love it! Our school uses the bucket philosophy too, but it's so fun to see how you make it real and tangible. Great idea.

yunia said...

wonderful idea, heard of incentives before but not this way, might try to implement it with my little girl, have a great day

Jill Scott said...

What a great idea, and I love that the bucket is pretty.

Kathryn said...

I love this idea! I especially like how there is no payment plan! What a great motivator!


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