I started a new point system last month for the kids. It is an excel spreadsheet that basically gives them credit for everything that they do in a day, from brushing their teeth, to kitchen chores, to school work. It allows them to set weekly goals, and then track their progress towards earning them. All of the kids have old cell phones, no phone service, just fancy mp3 player, but it is also a mini computer with spreadsheet capabilities. So they can be seen walking around the house checking their handhelds to see what they need to do next.
It is a great little system and the kids have really taken on more responsibilities for what they need to do, and I am doing a lot more praising and a lot less nagging.
Last week, I found Emily in her bathroom at 10:30, way past bedtime, cleaning of all things. She was trying hard to earn her points for the day. We had been gone most of the day, and I had neglected to tell the kids that it was understandable that they hadn't earned their daily points, dinner at church doesn't exactly require the kids to do dinner dishes. I was able to praise her for her dedication to earning her points, and send her off to bed.
However, my favorite story will probably always be this one -
Brad had me ROFL (literally) tonight. I don't remember more than 1 0r 2 times in my life that I did that. I told Isaac he had to earn 5 more points to go watch TV with Grandma tonight so he rushed off and brushed his teeth, and did a few jobs in the bathroom. He came back and reported that he checked the toilet paper and the towels. I was good with that, but Brad went all wacko - I checked the toilet - it's dirty - POINT! SInk - Dirty - POINT! It was so hillarious. I was on the floor for nearly 15 minutes laughing and tearing and laughing again. It was so funny. Not only was Brad loud and obnoxious, he was making faces and jumping around! Of course, he was right also, Isaac did need to do a bit more than just check things, but I was working on the baby steps principle of lets start at least thinking about it before we get to stressed about it. Anyway, Brad took Isaac into the bathroom and laid down the point law - you must use CHEMICALS! to get a point! That of course started us all laughing again, everytime that Brad said, "CHEMICAL". It was a great time - and Isaac even survived yet another lesson on how to clean his bathroom.