Monday, February 8, 2016

The Earn It System


Over Christmas break I had a revelation. I’m not doing my kids any favors by paying for their electronics. Of course almost all kids now play on iPads, iPods, iPhones, Kindles and whatever else is out there.  My kids have the goods too and they use them regularly.

When a bad grade strikes, or behavior isn’t up to snuff, the electronic is the first thing to go. 

But when I had my revelation I thought about how my kids have their electronics all the time.  We have limits, but they never have to worry much about when they’ll have their electronic again. For the phones, I pay for them monthly.  Life doesn’t work like this. There is no one paying for my car, my house, my phone or anything.  Just being a nice person doesn’t pay my bills.

And I want my kids to know how life works.  If you want it, you work for it. If you don’t make enough, you don’t get it until you earn what you need to have it.

Which made me rethink my system.  I decided all electronics had to be earned through grades and chores. 

You earn days and when you don’t earn enough, you don’t get.  Period.  Or as my son would write, #thestruggleisreal.

I made a chart.  Every child starts the week at zero.  They can earn “days” with an “A” on a test or a quiz. They can earn partial days through helping with laundry and sweeping the floor.  There are many ways to earn the days necessary to have their electronic for a week.  Every week we are earning for the next week. So Sunday night I add up what they earned and they start over Monday morning.

My points system goes like this:

A on a test – electronic for 2 days (this is the gold standard)
A on a quiz or project – 1 day
All homework completed for 1 week – 1 day
Good behavior for the week – 1 day
Chores are all ¼ day, and 4 must be completed to earn a day

When the kids complete a chore, they fill out a sticky note and stick it to the chart. Sunday night, I check grades and go through the sticky notes.  I award days for homework and good behavior if it was earned.  If a child earns more than 7 days, they can “bank” the extra for a week they may not earn as much. Another good lesson for them - earn more than you need and you put it in the bank.

I then mark my chart. If they have to hand in their electronic for a day I let them pick what day to go without.

This system has worked marvelously. We had two children go without their electronics for a day already because they didn’t earn enough time for the week.  It was a lesson learned.  It hasn’t happened since.

There is no punishment.  There is no “you lose this for a day”…it’s all about what you earn.  If you earn it, you get it.

Obviously if you are well behaved, do your work and help there should be no trouble earning what is necessary.  This holds true in life as well.

I love to share what helps my house running smoothly, and this has been an eye opener for 2016.  After all, we aren’t raising kids.  We’re raising adults.  And when my little munchkins go into the world I want them to know how it works.

I am not one to keep up a system long that requires me to work harder (adding up all the chores...keeping track of days...) but it was worth it to start off the year.  I did this for a month, and I've seen my kids go from "ughhhh" when I need extra help to "yes mom..."  And that was exactly what I was looking for when I implemented my system. 

Happy Trails!

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