Years ago when my children took naps and Dr. Phil made cameos on Oprah, I heard him talk about currency. As in "What is your child's currency? What is most important to your child?" And I'm sorry to report, around here, all three of our boys' currency is screens. TV, DS, Wii, computer, my iPhone, iPad, iPod. . .you get the idea. Using some sort of electronic device is almost always what they would choose to do with their free time. In the summer our guidelines were pretty strict, but since school has started, mommy hasn't been policing it well enough and sometimes the screen usage is a wee bit more than I'd like to admit in writing.
SO! Screens are the currency, and tokens are the ticket. We have decided to allow the boys to earn tokens (each worth a half hour of screen time) by showing good behavior. They can use up to one hour a day (after their lists are finished after school) and save extras for the future. If they are not behaving, we will take a token away.
We are hoping to a) encourage the boys to be kinder to each other, b) nip bad behavior in the bud, c) scale way back on screen time, which often contributes to their bad behavior in the first place, and d) keep a shred of our sanity.
I'd really like to accomplish a-d, but if pressed, I would be happy to settle for d. If I indeed do not lose my mind, I'll try to post preliminary results of this new disciplinary plan.