The Reward Chart

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Being a parent is one huge roller coaster.

You think you have one area done and dusted: the sleepless nights, the teething, the toileting, a fear,a goal, and then BAM! another hurdle pops up in your way.

I have found Motherhood about learning and changing as my kids also learn and grow.

To be honest, at times it is bloody exhausting!

Of late my two have been bickering and fighting so much it has almost driven me insane!

That on top of the normal hurdles such as getting ready in time in the morning, or getting them to have a bath, brush their teeth, get ready for bed without asking a million times.

I am putting my hand up to say that parenting is damm tough at times.

It does not help when others try and tell you what you are doing wrong, rather than support you.

It was time to introduce a rewards chart into our home- we have had many before, and I have to be honest in saying they have just ended up falling to the wayside, or not working due to me not being so consistent, lets be honest, it adds another thing into the mix of modern day juggling.

Something had to happen though, and I was over losing my shit, so I decided to implement a behavior chart into our home again, but do it different this time.

Previously the kids would just get random ticks for great behavior, and when they collected a certain amount of ticks, they could pick something out of the rewards box.

On looking back at their completed charts, they could not remember exactly what the ticks were rewarded for, and purchasing enough rewards to fill a box ended up getting expensive, and most of it was crap that just broke anyhow.

So I decided to make it more clear and concise.

I found a great site with many templates here.

For my 7 year old daughter, I used the Hello Kitty template, and for my 4 year old son, we went with Spiderman.

I chose the template with 5 sections, and I broke them up in the link  below:

RESPECT:        * Respect for other people

                           * Respect for belongings

                           * Respect for different opinions

 

ACTION:           Doing all the daily actions I need to get organised eg: getting ready, brushing teeth, making bed, having meals, unpacking school bag, ready for dinner, bath time, bed time etc.

 

HELPING:      Helping Mum and Dad with chores

Such as cleaning up dishes, sweeping floor, hanging

out washing , getting van ready.

 

KINDNESS:        To myself and each other:

Understanding the we each make mistakes and be

Able to support each other and our differences.

 

BONUS!:    Get a tick for doing something awesome! 

reward chart guidelines

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Image from here

With 5 sections over 7 days, the kids have the opportunity to earn up to 35 ticks a week.

I have set out a goal of 25 ticks, and if they get to that goal, they can choose a coupon.

These include:

A trip to the park /beach/creek

A family picnic

A tea party

Make a cake

Arts and Crafts morning

Movie night

Half and hour of uninterrupted parent time with parent of choice

Lunch out

I have done up approximately 20 different coupons, and will be sure to change them up and add more as time goes on.

Different families would have different ideas for coupons.

I realize that I have been making too many empty threats.

We do go to the park and creek a bit, but now I am telling the kids they need to get their point in order to do this, and in some cases, they can use their coupons together for something extra fun, like a trip to the beach followed by lunch, or a tea party followed by a movie night.

We started the chart this week, and not once have we been late for school.

Teeth are cleaned before I have to ask twice.

The kids are running to get into bed on time for a bonus point,

And the school bags are being unpacked with lunch boxes put on the sink without asking!

I am hanging onto this for as long as it works, and I aim to be more consistent this time.

I feel less stressed, and the kids are enjoying working towards goals and cheer when they get points.

There is still fights – kids will be kids, but they are not enough to make me want to run away.

As I said, we are still in early days, but even if it only gives me a week reprieve, it is worth it!

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Added Note: Week 1 of the Reward Chart was completed today.

We have wiped off a few points over the week for some bad behavior, but I am proud to say both kids have earned at least 25 points each!

As a celebration for an awesome week one, I took the family out for morning tea.

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We still have loads to work on, and as we all know, no one is ever perfect, but the increase in great behavior in our house and the smiles on our kids faces for positive reinforcement has been great.

Fingers crossed now we continue on this path.

Have an awesome weekend all!

Alicia

Don’t Presume

As I sit here on a Friday evening, flitting between office work, laminating new price tags and getting myself organized for an early start for work tomorrow, I cannot seem to shake of this icky feeling that has been creeping up all day.

Hundreds of fellow franchise partners are currently kicking back in the middle of Australia, enjoying all that Uluru has to offer a the annual National conference.

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The day has been full of photos of the rock, of camel rides around the rock, of games and goody bags, of limousine rides from the airport and cocktails by the pool.

Right now they will be dining at a gorgeous outdoor buffet, and tomorrow will be once again filled to the brim with activities, and a formal Gala dinner.

But we are not there.

It’s funny how others like to presume why, because it was expensive, or out of our reach – it wasn’t, it was very cheap, cheaper than we will ever be able to travel there again.

I will tell you why we are not there.

Because no one will look after our kids.

This leads to another presumption.

That we must live in a different city to our family.

We don’t, the closest family member is approximately 200 metres  down the road from us.

We just do not have family members that wish to play an active roll in our lives.

They loved to tell us their opinions of our children’s names, or our parenting styles, the love to make comments to others about us, or complain about things that affect them.

But they play no active part in our lives.

It is amazing the Facebook profiles that display family members hugging up to and playing with our children, the ironic thing is that may be one out of a handful of times in which they have done that.

We have a new business, and with any business, it has been a lot of hard work, many days in a row.

People presume we have a team of babysitters on call.

We don’t.

We have taken the kids to events with us on the weekend, kept them out way past their bed time, or tag teamed with each other so one is at home with the kids and one at work.

And others presume that the fact we have a business means we have unlimited supplies of cash to get a babysitter at any price.

We don’t.

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Our business website and details mainly only show Jamie’s name, he was the only one who went to Sydney for the franchisee training course.

The franchise face book page ran hot that fortnight with photos of Jamie’s endless Barista training, and business training. The head of the company was photographed at the end of the training handing Jamie his certificates and gifts.

People think I was not there because I was not interested.

Purely, I could not go because no one would look after the kids.

Others presume that as individuals, we get plenty of “me time”

We don’t.

A recently single friend told me that only now she has become a single Mum, has she got so much more time to herself.

Ironic I know.

You see, like me, she had a husband whom worked long hours, leaving her to have main care of the kids.

Now she is single, people are offering assistance left, right and centre, and her ex has the kids at times too.

She has been on regular nights out, weekends away and even holidays.

I have been a Mum for 7 years and in that time have not had one whole child free weekend.

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Others presume that the fact our daughter has not filled in any names for the form for Grandparents day at school is because her Grandparents are deceased, or live miles away.

They don’t .

She has not even asked to bring any of them along.

They just don’t play a part in her or her brothers life.

People presume because Jamie and I have been together for so long, our journey has been easy.

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It hasn’t.

We have had our hurdles, and a lot of them, but we have stuck it out, and continued to grow.

It hasn’t been easy, in fact sometimes I have to say it has been bloody hard!

I bet you read this post and think I am a whinger.

A thankless/ungrateful whinger.

Perhaps I am.

Despite it all,

The missed chances, the hardships and hurdles.

I have one thing to be grateful for.

For being part of this awesome little gang of 4 people whom I get to call my family.

The way in which we have been treated, the things in which we regret, we get to make sure are not repeated.

While the unfortunate thing is too many people do not play an active part in these two gorgeous children’s lives.

I am so very grateful to be a part of theirs.

And while I moan and complain about the things we do not have in life, I never, ever, not once take for granted the fact that we were blessed enough to be parents to not one but two amazing little beings.

And when the tears are threatening to fall, and the dirty green eyed jealously monster comes out to play, and when I get away from Facebook so I can no longer play the “comparison game”, we take a moment to look at each other, and six simple words are said that make it all worthwhile .

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“At least we have each other”

And you know what?

That’s worth it all.

I must Confess……

It has been a bit of a full on day today, I guess it has been a bit of a full on few weeks.

Life has been showing me what it is like to ride a roller coaster, and some days I just feel way too dizzy to work things out!

My mind is on a million and one things, and I am a tad exhausted, so what better thing to do then confuse you all with my verbal diarrhea of confessions!

Enjoy!

I Confess:

  • That I feel if I ever decide to give my daughter a day off of school “just because”, someone should promptly slap me in the face with a dead, rotten fish, that is wrapped in dirty, smelly socks. I thought it would be nice to chill together today, and have an impromptu day off, but the kids just used that time to fight non stop with each other.
  • The result of the above confession led me to locking myself in my room for a few moments to regain my composure after the kids just kept pushing the buttons.
  • Yep, you guessed it, I confess that I really am not the most consistent parent lately, I know I need to be more consistent, but I am just down right exhausted, and some times just can’t be bothered – yep, terrible I know.
  • I confess that I have a secret stash of chocolate – medicinal purposes.
  • Yesterday I found out that a Mum from school whose son has been in the same class with Kiara since prep is named Mandy NOT Pauline, like I have been calling her for almost a year and a half! I always thought I got some strange looks from her, but she NEVER corrected me, I only found out her real name yesterday when another Mum called out “Mandy”, now I have to retrain myself to use a totally different name to what I am used to!
  • The library actually have some pretty awesome DVDs that you can borrow for FREEEEEEEE!
  • Making business phone calls with kids fighting in the background makes it very hard to portray a professional manner (or hold onto sanity for that matter!)
  • I talk to inanimate objects.
  • I am over feeling sick and have my fingers and toes crossed that the ultrasound I have tomorrow will show what on earth is wrong.
  • Which brings me to feeling for people who live with disease or sickness every day of their lives, I do feel crap, but it could be so much worse.
  • I sometimes just lie on my kitchen floor no particular reason, I just like doing that.
  •  Today I accidentally stabbed myself with a screwdriver whilst trying to open Noah’s walkie-talkie.
  • I wish I was a better cook.
  • I confess that I am looking forward to Jamie working more family friendly hours soon, in fact I can’t wait.
  • I need a night out.
  • I am looking forward to chilling in front of the tv and watching Packed to the Rafters tonight.

Over to you now,

Do you have a confession you would like to share?

I will fight for you

To my Children,

I am not perfect, no one is, and I am well aware of my emotional moments and lack of energy of late.

Mummy is not so well, and some days feel like a real battle.

The recent school holidays were a tad full on. As we know, one night right as Daddy walked through the door, home from work, with dinner ready on the table, I walked out.

A day of constant arguing with each other, and with me, of misbehaving, of back chat and bad manners and stressful moments, I felt my blood boiling, and my tether having been reached to its end. I picked up my car keys, told you all I was done and walked out.

Bad planning on my behalf, with no shoes, food splattered, sweat stained clothes, I was in no state to go treat myself to a coffee and cake as I would have liked…… so I did the groceries.

It was the break I needed.

We all hugged and apologized when I returned home, and while some days feel like a real battle between us , I want to let you know one thing.

I will always fight for you

You have both had moments in your life where I have found myself going to numerous doctors, until I would find one who would listen to me, and assist with your health issues.

Noah, as a baby, it took 6 doctors, and me crying all over the last one before we got to the bottom of your health dramas.

Kiara, we had to stand up for you so much when we found that the amount of glue you had in your ears had made you profoundly deaf, thankfully we finally were able to get grommets put in your ears, and have never looked back since.

No matter what life throws your way,

I will fight for you

Kids, I know you think I am mean when I tell you to pour your own drink, or get your own snack, when you ask me to do it for you.

I want you to learn to be independent, to do things for yourself and not think I am just your slave.

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Kiara, when you say you don’t want to go to school because someone is teasing you, I suggest ways in which you can handle it yourself, and keep a close eye that it is not getting out of hand.

I do not immediately step in, because I want you to learn early how to avoid conflict and resolve  situations, as one day you will be a teenager at your first job, and I will not be able to stand in for you then and fight your battles.

By teaching you to stand up for yourself and believe in yourself.

I am fighting for you

If there are areas that you both struggle in, and you need help, I will get it for you.

I am your Mum, I love you unconditionally, and want what is best for you.

I will fight for you

I am not here to make your life easy, just to guide you along it’s path, so some days you will wonder why I am not doing more for you, I just want you to know, I am not here to live your life, and some times you need to be the one to do the learning, just know, no matter how hard things get,

I am always here, fighting for you, and alongside you

I hope this week you saw some examples of how I am willing to fight for you.

Kiara, you had your cross country on Thursday, you had been looking forward to the day.

I stood at the starting line with you, prepared to take some photos, when you hugged me tight and tears poured down your face.

I asked what was wrong, and you told me you were too scared to run, you begged me to take you home, and your tears had turned into loud sobs by this stage.

There was no way I was taking you home, and I knew you would be upset when you realized you had not run the race, so without a thought, I threw my inappropriate shoes off, attempted to tuck my long, loose pants up, and prepared to run with you, holding your hand the whole way.

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I fought your battle with you

It was hard, damm hard.

2 days later, my calf muscles are still aching, and my feet are scarred from all those prickles I stood on.

We laughed along the way,

I was not feeling so well that day, and the pressure of running left me feeling rather ill for a good few hours, but it was all worth it,

Just to fight for you

cross country

You were overjoyed when I picked you up from school that day to tell me that your sports team had won.

 I reminded you that by participating, you had contributed to their win, getting them a point for just completing the race.

That made you smile.

And Noah, this week

I have fought for you too

Despite being constantly told to stop mucking up at bath time, you both continue to run wild in there.

The day that we all predicted came.

You fell over in there while slipping and sliding and split you chin open.

I wanted to yell “I told you this would happen”, to both you, and your sister,

But I saw the fear in your eyes as the blood poured out.

Instead I held a towel to your cut, and hugged you close, letting you know

I would fight for you

I found a medical centre open, and got you in there, another emergency meant we had to wait a while.

Daddy met us there after his late shift.

I held your hand and whispered calm words as the Doctor glued your chin back together.

You looked so frightened.

I was there to let you know

I am always fighting for you

You have added a scar to your bank of scars, and we finally were able to get you and your sister home to bed, you chin will be better soon, and the Doctor was so lovely, despite being kept back at work well after his finish time.

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Kids, you need to know something, I know I seem cranky at times, I am emotional and drained, and doing my best.

I love you, even when life seems so tough.

I will fight for you

Mummy and Daddy have just purchased a new business  with one of the main factors for the purchase being the increase of family time it will allow us to have.

We are fighting for you

Know no matter what battles you have to fight in life, no matter what mountains you need to climb.

I am here, right beside you, every step of the way,

because, as your Mummy, I promise, every single day

I will fight for you

xoxo

Thank you Mr Policeman

Mr 3 has become shocking at keeping his seat belt on, or even getting it on in the first place.

We have had tears and tantrums to get him in his car seat, only to find out a few minutes down the road that he is attempting to get out of his seat, or pulling his arms out of the strap.

I have explained that he needs to be strapped in for his own safety, but we just do not seem to be getting anywhere, and to say it has been frustrating is an under statement.

Countless times, I have found myself pulled over on the side of a busy road waiting for Noah to be safe in his seat again.

It is a worry.

Last week we had just undergone a regular struggle of the seat belt when we arrived at the local farmers markets to stock up on our weekly fruit and veg supplies.

As we were walking around the market, I came across two burly policemen, in our area this is not that frequent, in fact Noah is convinced that Taxi cabs are actually police cars.

These officers were fully decked out in bullet proof jackets and both stood at approximately 6 feet high. They kind of looked out of place among the peaches and grapes!

I hesitated for a moment, before deciding to seize my chance, and I approached one.

“Excuse me Mr Police officer” I commenced

He looked at me with a questioning look on his face.

I proceeded “It is really important that we wear out seat belts in the car isn’t it?” I said as looking down to my son who was standing beside his Dad.

The officer did not exactly look like this, but I do not think I would have complained if he had!

The officer did not exactly look like this, but I do not think I would have complained if he had!

I expected the officer to just agree with me and on our way we went.

This big, booming voice came out “Oh yes, we need to wear our seat belts, if I find anyone not wearing them, including you young man, I will have to arrest them and throw them in jail”

OMG! I think we just overstepped the mark! But on saying that, I could not help but hide behind the apple display to suppress my giggle as Mr 3 hid behind his Dads legs.

On the way home we asked what the police man had said to Noah,

“Nothing” he replied.

When I picked Miss 6 up from a play date, she was horrified that I found it all so funny, she said it was just plain mean!

Perhaps it was, but I am happy to announce that in the week since our chat with Mr Police Officer, we have not had one seat belt incident.

A few days after the police  chat, we drove past a police car.

“Oh look! “I pointed out,” he must be out checking that everyone is in their seats properly!”

Both kids yelled from the back “my belt is on properly!”

So Mr Police officer, perhaps you scared my son a bit, at the time I thought we may have taken it too far, but I really want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for finding a way to make him stay safely in his seat, and just keep an eye out for me, I may have to come to you to assist with more issues at a later day!