Monday, October 17, 2011

Lotta Hope in Quarters

Right now, we're putting a lotta hope in this jar of quarters.
Let me explain.
It started with a toy zebra, which somehow, found its way to the floor of my shower.
I wondered, how long it would take for someone in my family to actually pick up the toy zebra and put it away.
I scrubbed and cleaned around the zebra. I stared at the zebra every time I was in the bathroom.
I hated that toy zebra for what it represented.
Day after day, no one would put him away without being asked. No one seemed to have the self motivation to do what was right.
Surely the toy zebra would still be laying on the shower stall floor if I hadn't picked him up last week.

I hated that the zebra, was like the rest of the stuff laying around the house, waiting for me to put it away.
Last time I checked, I did not own a "Molly Maid" uniform and I decided that this behavoir had to stop.
When we'd ask a child to put something away, they'd say "not mine!" or "I'll do it later" (but later never came).
So, I devised a plan, which, right now, I'm holding a lot of hope in.
Here's the breakdown-
The jar of quarters holds 160 quarters, $10.00 worth for each child, $40.00 total.
This represents family money fund; the potential amount available each week for a family outing, perhaps to eat out, to go to a movie (we've never actually done that), to go to a museum, etc.
The reality is, that money won't be available at the end of the week, I'm positive.
Because, you see, each time I have to pick up someone's stuff, or turn off a light they left on,
a quarter goes away from the family's fund jar.
It doesn't matter who the item belongs to, or who forgot to turn off the light, what matters now, is that the family fund is protected in order to have a little reward. If the item lays on the ground, the family loses out. If a light has to be turned off, the family loses out.
The quarter will go away (to a holding place until next week) while the item is also put away until the end of the week, when it will be put away or donated to charity, whichever the child decides.
Whatever is left at the end of each week will be the amount left for the family to "play" with.
Certainly, in the early stages, there will be little to no money left. That's ok too, because hopefully, it will inspire the kids to get resourceful, and realize that they don't need money to have family time. (They know this, but we want it to be thier idea.)
We also hope that this will stir some motivation so that next time, the zebra doesn't lay on that shower floor for another 2 months.
Who knows, but right now, we're holding a lotta hope in that jar of quarters.

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1 comment:

Fat Pilot said...

That is a great idea and I would love to know how it goes. Yesterday I turned off FIVE lights upstairs and made the kids come in from playing outside to sit for 15 mins (3 mins per light...not too bad when it is just one...hahaha). I am supposed to be developing a reward system today so you have given me some ideas. This parent thing is kinda hard! :-D