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"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." ~Aristotle

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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Button, Button, Who Has Enough Buttons?

The Great Button Experiment has begun.

This is a reward system wherein A and Z do things around the house: chores, showing kindness, having a good attitude, etc. Exercise counts, too. [Mommy is going to get in on the good attitude and exercise bit].

It's a fluid system, but there are a few guidelines.

There are mini buttons, which are worth "5". In the abstract, that's 5 minutes of screen time. We don't watch much teevee in this house, but despite this Mom-imposed virtuousness, the mere existence of the Big Black Box produces a CONSTANT barrage of viewing requests throughout the day. I am tired, quite frankly, of being the TV Nazi, and truly I don't have a problem with occasional viewing. Unfortunately I vacillate between a) saying "no" because I'm tired of being asked or b) being tempted to keep it on all day so they stay entertained and STOP FIGHTING.

Large buttons are worth "15". This is, naturally, half of a half-hour television program. I am hoping that it will catch on ... cash in these 2 buttons and watch Super Why, or do a few more things around the house and get to watch a MOVIE. Lessons in choice, consequence, work and time value. At least, I HOPE some of that gets imparted, subtly.

My challenge is going to be a) having age-appropriate tasks available for a semi-fair opportunity of button earning. Obviously I can expect more of A, but that means she will end up with more buttons ... and so I have to break larger jobs into small, very doable parts for Z to tackle. No, this is not about "everyone being the same" but rather having realistic expectations for a 3 year old and not wanting to banish him to his room when A cashes in her reward.

The future of the system: buttons can always be cashed in for REAL MONEY. This concept is of NO interest to them yet (which reveals their values at 6 and 3), but I have the feeling that will change soon enough.

We have not yet unleashed the family Christmas present: the Wii. I anticipate the button-earning to turn to frenzy. I might also need to adjust things, although I'm not sure how that will look.

Bonus GOLD buttons can be exchanged for special dates with Mommy or Daddy: dinner out, trip to the park, a bike ride, whatever. Those will be completely unearned - a lesson in grace!

Stay tuned for periodic updates on our new family experiment!

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