Thursday, December 10, 2009

Therapy Thursday (5) - "Hurry Up" - Rewards and Consequences

"Let's Go"
"Brush Your Teeth"
"Eat Your Breakfast"
"How many times do I have to tell you"
"We're going to be late

Sound familiar. This scene plays itself out every morning since we started kindergarten. Compared to elementary school, Pre-school was a breeze because there were no consequences for being late. We arrived and I left, punto.

Since we entered elementary school, we have to be at school by 8:20 and if you arrive at 8:25, you get a late pass that is entered as part of your child's record. Yikes! The pressure. I have met parents who don't seem to crazed about getting a late pass, but for me, the idea of being late sends the wrong message. I am not saying I am always on time but it bugs me that some people I know are always late, I mean always. That said, it is a race every morning and while I don't mind the racing, I hate that I have repeat the same thing a gazillion times which of course leads to frustration and eventually yelling (yes, I yell and I am not proud.)

So this was a topic I discussed with my therapist "how can improve this situation where I am not losing it every morning?" Who wants to be that parent who is constantly yelling? That is certainly not my ambition in life.

Now I know a lot of you probably do this but sometimes you need to work through what seems like a logical situation with an objective observer.

Dr. R and I came up with a comprehensive set of rules that includes a morning/evening routine, chores and manners list and with it, rewards and consequences for not following through/breaking the rules.

Once we hashed it out, I went through it with my daughter. Yes, it's best to gain buy- in from your constituents (if you have to do it business to gain consensus then it should work at home, right?)

All in all, my daughter was in agreement with the list. So, does it work? Well... The morning routine is still tough. On average, it works smoothly 3 out of 5 weekdays. The manners is also hit and miss but getting better. We review the list every couple of weeks because like anything, repetition and reminders are necessary.

Here are the first grade rules, my daughter's title.

Morning Routine
Get Up/Get dressed/eat breakfast
Brush Teeth
Make Bed (Weekends)

Clear the Table after every meal
Take out recycling

Nighttime Routine
Homework before dinner
Bath/change pajamas

Talk politely
No disagreeing
Don't say stop
Less temper Tantrums
Be more flexible

$5.00 Allowance
60 minutes of TV (weekends)
Leapster/Gameboy (weekends)
iphone on the bus
Call friend on weekends

Lose 1 TV show/no tv all weekend
$1 off for breaking a rule
no leapster/gameboy
no iphone on the bus
No playdate
can't call friend on weekend

Now that you have seen the list, I am sure you are thinking that it doesn't seem so comprehensive but you try the getting a child ready for school in 45 minutes. It's not easy especially when you tell them to brush their teeth and 10 minutes later nothing has happened. What the hell is going in the bathroom? Who knows, its a mystery to me. And breakfast, children do not eat on demand.

If you have any tips, I can incorporate it into our routine, please send it to me.

For new readers, this is a series on my therapy sessions so go to search and input Therapy Thursday for the previous posts.

1 comments: said...

Early mornings are always difficult. I admire your list. I'm sure it'll get better for you and your daughter as the both of you settle into a routine.

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