Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Time To Enforce The Rules

Zee only pretended to cry after I made him pose with his pile for a quick photo.
I have a mom friend who takes $.05 from each child for every article of clothing she has to turn right side out for the washing machine.  Now THAT is a smart mama!  She had a frustration and she put a plan into place to eliminate the frustration.  That idea got me thinking...I have already simplified my laundry system so I don't necessarily have that frustration, but "what if" I had children (5 of them to be exact) who were having a difficult time remembering to put their clothes away.

Hypothetically, of course.

And "what if" this particular non-act put me in such a grumpy mood that things were said that probably shouldn't be said, at a level and tone of voice that probably shouldn't be allowed.

Like I said, completely hypothetical.

It would do our whole family some good if I followed my friend's example and put a plan in place to eliminate the lazy behavior and the frustration it brought.

So here is my not-so-hypothetical plan to get the kids to put their clothes away.

For each article of clothing (costumes, socks, shoes, jackets, pants, undies...) that I find on the floor I get $.05 for whomever it belongs to.

I shared the plan with the kids but initially still had lots of grace and leniency, which wasn't really helping anyone.

Until one day, I walked in the boys room and I could hardly see the floor!

Enough was enough.

Today the rule would be implemented.
Tears were going to flow but lessons were going to be learned.

I piled everything up in the middle of the room and left it there until the boys got back home from school.

After we settled down after school I called all three of the boys into their bedroom and had them sit next to each other facing me and the pile.

They had no idea what was about to happen.

I started holding up pieces from the pile, one at a time, and asked whose it belonged to.  This divided the massive pile up into one pile for each boy.  Cai looked nervous, Jude just looked interested in what was going on, and Zeke, well, most of the pile was his so he just kept laughing and laughing, kind of nervous but it was as if he had already resolved to accept whatever consequences were coming his way (which is HUGE for this particular boy, BTW).

We then made a mini math lesson out of it by counting each pile's pieces by 5's.

We only had to get up to 15 for Jude.  Cai had 35 and Zeke had a whopping 85, ha!

I then reminded them of our rule and that that day we were going to be taking away $.15 from Jude, $.35 from Cai and $.85 from Zeke.

Jude didn't skip a beat as we counted out his money.
You would have thought I made Cai hand over all his toys and told him that we weren't celebrating Christmas with him, ha!
Zeke just took it like a man, respectfully laughing through the lesson at his misfortune, owning up to the consequences he clearly knew he needed (again, SUCH a huge thing for him!).

Sometimes I find it hard to follow through on things like this, but I wasn't helping anybody by enabling them to continue on in their sloppiness.  And my attitude wasn't benefiting anyone either (just ask my kids).

But now, wouldn't you know I walk into a clean bedroom every morning after dropping the kids off at school.  And one quick reference to a sock in the driveway or a spiderman mask has them scurrying off to put it away before I can even finish my reminder!

This time, it's a WIN for everyone!

Here's to many more WINS, a lot less mom freak-outs and being able to glean wisdom from other wise moms that God has allowed me to be surrounded by.

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