Pointless (My New Secret Weapon)

Motivating my Monkeys is always a tough row to hoe. However, the other night I unwittingly stumbled upon a new, seemingly endless, goldmine of motivation: Points. The boys were lagging in cleaning up their room, dawdling as they put their p.j.'s on, and playing in the water rather than brushing their teeth. And I'm trying really hard not to yell these days, especially since it falls on deaf little ears anyway, and leaves me worn out and frustrated. So as the Monkeys are picking up one...Tinker... Toy... at... a... time, barely making a dent in the million or so Tinker Toys on the bedroom floor, I said, and I don't know why,: "Twenty points to whomever cleans up the Tinker Toys first!" And it was as if someone lit a fire under their little bums- all of the sudden, they were moving like oiled lightening, and the room was spotless in, like, 60 seconds! Then they were jumping and bouncing before me, clamoring about who got "the Points"? Uh, wow, I'm still a little thunderstruck that it worked- so 20 points for each of you! And they were delighted!! Then, wheels turning in my mind, I offered 10 points each for clean teeth, and another 5 for wiping the water off the counter when done- and that worked too!!! (Whispering) Hey moms, this totally works- I have been doing it for days now, and they have never even thought to ask what in the world they should do with the "Points", or how many they have accumulated- They just love earning them! I have even doled out ridiculous amounts of "Points", like 10,000 last night for sweeping the crumbs from under the table! I think this just might be the magic mama-bullet. If they do ask, sometime, what they can do with all their "Points", I plan on taking them to the dollar store and letting them choose something. It's magic, and from the generosity of my overflowing heart, I share this with you! Shhhhh.... it's a mama secret!


Anonymous Proud Daughter of Eve said...

A bazillion and a half points for you then! :) I'd say you could trade them in for babysitting but I don't think we live anywhere near each other. Maybe you could consider them "sanity points" and use them toward activities that you usually feel guilty about. :)

6/23/2006 05:20:00 PM  
Blogger aquamarine said...

Okay, so starting tonight we are jumping on the "points" wagon! I have got to see if this works for my munchkins. Great secret to share!!

6/23/2006 05:31:00 PM  
Blogger Stephen said...

You've gone Harry Potter.

Points are always good motivators.

6/23/2006 05:53:00 PM  
Blogger melissa c said...

This is a great idea ! I do it too but my 10 yr old has caught on quickly on how many points equal a certain prizees. He's not as excited anymore. I have to keep finding new things! It definately makes me be more creative!

6/23/2006 08:10:00 PM  
Blogger Mrs. M said...

Tracy, I can't wait to try this on my 3yo. You may have saved our sanity!

6/23/2006 08:54:00 PM  
Anonymous JKS said...

I do points. Just one point for each thing they did right. 50 points = a prize (dollar type toy, or occasionally a dollar). So I'm really only paying 2 cents for cleaning their room, or brushing their teeth, or reading a book.
I like it because it gives positive rewards to my wonderful daugther who does twice as many wonderful things as her little brother (but twice as many things that she gets punished for). I decided it wasn't fair that she was getting punished more, but not getting rewarded more for doing the things she does right. She's always so helpful and cooperative.
Like any "system" the excitement fades, but it helps get them in the habit. We still keep it going, even though I might forget for a few days. Pretty soon they start reminding me.
We started when my daughter was 7 and my son was 5. My son only cares about his points when he is very close to getting a prize. Suddenly he wants to read more books and is asking to do chores.

6/24/2006 01:19:00 AM  
Blogger Sheldon said...

My friend's parents did this when we were little kids (elementary school), with one terrible difference: the parents awarded the points PHYSICALLY, with these little pink paper slips that his mom got from the bank she worked at. Well, we had a friend whose parent worked at the same bank... and that's when the counterfeit pink slips started.

It took his parents a full year to figure out what was going on.

6/24/2006 02:35:00 PM  
Blogger Heather O. said...

Totally backfired. When I said, "Hey, 10 points for making your bed!" he said, "I'll give you 11 if you do it for me."

What a little booger head.

6/26/2006 04:33:00 PM  
Blogger Kiskilili said...

Heather, that's one smart kid!

When I was young and one of my older sisters was strong-armed into babysitting several of us, she once used a point system for chores to sell us all of the planets and moons in the solar system.

(What, exactly, we intended to do with Jupiter's moons once we "owned" them, I could not tell you.)

6/26/2006 09:38:00 PM  

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