Mommy Loonies, or dollars, or bucks, or money… We went with moonies ;-). I have gotten so tired of my girls fighting and bickering and picking at each other. They are less than 2 years apart and should be friends, or at least get along some of the time. Emily has her sensory issues and can be physically rough with her little sister and Grace can be just as mean. It has been non-stop fighting since they arrived and I really don’t like to yell. I wake up in a positive mood, relaxed and generally happy, and within minutes I’m feeling bitchy and impatient. It only took two days before I reached my limit and had to do something or consequences would be severe.
So I took an idea from the girls’ teachers and decided to let them earn “moonies” for being kind, thoughtful, and polite, of their own volition. At the end of the week, the moonies would be tallied and converted into something special, a treat, toy, outing, etc. I would not reward individual actions or direct requests, the moonies would only come out when I witnessed ongoing considerate behavior. I told them that I did not require them to play together or do things for each other, just treat each other the way they treated their friends. In addition, if I saw rudeness or bullying, I could take away a moonie.They were very excited about this “game” and I gave them each a box to decorate to keep their moonies in.
We started Sunday morning, and the vibe in the house was instantly much better. I walked into the living room to see them helping each other with their iPods and actually thanking each other. This behavior continued through lunch and one invited the other to play outside, each bringing a game of choice. They entertained each other all afternoon. I must be honest, I didn’t expect it to last. Emily is an instant gratification kind of kid and loses interest quickly if there is no action. But we’re Tuesday now, and they are outside playing with water guns and laughing hysterically. I have not had to intervene or take away a moonie once.
Ahhhh…. peace in the home …. I know I shouldn’t have to bribe my kids to be nice, and I don’t plan to continue this system indefinitely, but I believe that they are developing a habit of politeness with each other. I’m not deluded enough to expect them to never fight again, in fact I fully expect it. I think we just needed to break the nastiness cycle and regroup. I find myself enjoying their company more and I’m so proud of the different ways they are finding to be considerate on their own.