Friday, December 14, 2012

Psychological Warfare 101

AKA: How to get your kids to be good and make them think it's their idea.

I has a tube of heavy casino weight poker chips on the dining room table. My seven year old daughter asked me what they were.
I explained that they were used to represent a value and that they could have any value you assigned as long as everyone agrees on the value.
I said, "This token can be worth one dollar, five dollars or could even be a 'get out of time-out' token."
Maddie's eyes lit up.

We established some rules.

  • You can only earn a token by doing something extraordinary. Just being good isn't enough.
  • You must keep them in your room.
  • To cash it in you must go to your room and calm down. Once calm you can bring it to me and cash it in.
  • You can trade them with your siblings for goods or favors. (Be careful of your scamming siblings)

So far they are working well. In two days the kids each earned two tokens and each of them had only one time out. Apparently they want to collect the tokens.

On the first night I told the kids, time for bed. Maddie (my seven year old) disappeared  She went upstairs. Got in her pajamas. Brushed her teeth. Put toothpaste on her brother's toothbrush. Picked out a book and was waiting for me to read. She even gave up her spot to let her brother have it when we read that night. She got a token.

The next morning, my five year old let me wash his hair with absolutely no fuss. It's usually a battle. He got a token. He also got told that I now know that he can be good when I wash his hair, so that won't work again.

I've been doing this for a couple weeks now and my seven year old is doing things like cleaning her room spontaneously, and folding her own laundry. It's magic!

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