Monday, October 19, 2009

The Grab Bag

When I was a little kid, I remember my mother having a "grab bag" in her closet. If we were really good or did a bunch of extra chores we got to go pick a prize out of the grab bag. It was a thrill to see what treasures she had hidden in there. It was literally a black garbage bag filled with small prizes. We put our hand in and whatever we grabbed was our prize.

I have had a "prize box" in my closet for years now. Usually I have reserved the privilege of picking a prize out of the box as my most desperate form of bribery. This is likely because the prizes in there have been worth about $10 a piece. So my kids didn't get to go to the prize box very often and only when they have done an insanely wonderful thing.

Recently, my prize box had been raided for last minute birthday party presents so many times that only a few easy to read book remained. Since I don't have a child at the "easy reader" level right now, the box may as well have been empty.

Then one day last week I took Annie to her violin lesson. She was so good during her lesson. Last year, I used to take her for an ice cream cone after her lessons if she was good. But that was back when her lessons were at 10 am. Now they are right before dinner so it isn't a good time to be eating ice cream.

I told her she could get brownie points instead. She said, "Yeah but brownie points don't mean anything." She was right. They were like the points on Whose Line Is It Anyways? So I decided to give her a "brownie buck" instead. I decided to make "brownie bucks" out of the scratch and sniff stickers I give the girls if they finish their morning chore list. I just put the sticker on their chore list. When they earn 10 points they get to pick out of the prize box.

I introduced the plan to the kids after I restocked the prize box with some smaller priced items. I told them they could get brownie bucks by finishing their chore list in the morning (it is a challenge for them because) or when they are caught being extra good, or by doing extra chores around the house.

Since then I have had Lauren begging me to clean everyday. Last week I went to Pilates one day and when I got back she had done 5 chores by herself. And they were well done too! She got to pick a prize out of the box and has been working to earn brownie bucks since.

I love it when a plan comes together!