One of the first things we do when school ends and summer starts is sign up for the summer reading program at our local library. The kids get charts that they can fill out with colors or stickers for time spent reading. Even non-readers in our family get their own chart, and receive a sticker every time someone reads to them. They complete levels and get a small prize at the end of every level. It’s a great motivation, and for a few weeks, before we lose the charts or the toddler tears off all the stickers, they get into it, accumulating several stickers a day by devouring books and reading to their sisters.
Wouldn’t it be nice if parents had a similar rewards program? Not for reading (I need no motivation for that, just a few minutes of uninterrupted peace, which is much harder to find), but for other small accomplishments. A couple of times a day, I think, “Hey, I should get a sticker for that!”, so I’ve started working on a Summer Rewards Program for Moms.
How to Set Up Your Own Rewards Program
First, create a sticker chart for yourself. Or lie about having an extra child and get one of the reading rewards ones from the library. Then place a sticker next to every parenting struggle you overcome, goal you achieve, or general pat on the back for making it through the
day hour activity without completely losing your cool.
Stickers Are Rewarded When…
I will place a sticker on my chart every time…
- We are more than 11 seconds early to swim practice.
- We arrive at swim practice and everyone has towels and goggles. And shoes. Because one time last year someone got in the car barefoot so I had to make an emergency trip across the street for cheap faux-crocs while they practiced, since we had somewhere to go directly after practice.
- The kids have a ‘fridge snack’ (ie: fruit, vegetable, yogurt) instead of a ‘pantry snack’ (ie: chocolate chip granola bar, animal crackers, or any of the prepackaged foods I always want to stop buying). Bonus sticker if kids choose fridge snack voluntarily instead of me saying “fridge snack or no snack.”
- We go somewhere. Bonus sticker if where we go is not Target.
- I successfully complete any outing with all 5 kids in tow. Success is defined as everyone being alive and accounted for at the end, and no screaming on my part. Add a sticker every time someone tells me that I have my hands full and I respond with a gracious smile instead of snark. Lose a sticker if someone says “I feel so bad for you” (true story).
- The total number of Disney Channel show episodes we watch is less than
- We go an entire week without having nutella sandwiches for lunch.
- We go an entire week without skipping swim practice.
- We go an entire
week dayhour without watching, listening to, singing, or quoting Frozen.
- Breakfast does not involve syrup, or cereal that is banned in other countries because they artificial colors in it might cause cancer.
- Lunch is not a variation of carbs and cheese.
- Everyone reads something. Bonus if they discuss what they read among themselves (because I cannot follow the adventures of anthropomorphic Warrior cats. Can someone just please get into Harry Potter?).
- I complete an hour’s worth of paying-job-related work. Bonus sticker if it actually takes me one hour and not seven.
- It’s 5 pm and I haven’t had an adult beverage, even though I do not need to drive anywhere and my fridge is stocked with some ice-cold beer and a half-full bottle of pinot noir.
- We plant something.
- An entire week goes by and the thing we planted has not died.
- I don’t roll my eyes for an entire day. Extra long blinks are acceptable.
- Naps happen. Bonus sticker for 2+ kids napping simultaneously.
- The kids dress themselves in appropriate clothes, mostly meaning matching(ish) for the boys, and shorts that are larger than a size 6 for my 10-year-old daughter.
- No one calls for ‘mom’ for
60 3015 whole minutes.
- I successfully and patiently settle a sibling dispute. Bonus sticker if this dispute takes place entirely in their imaginations because they were on a Pokemon journey.
- I manage some sort of physical activity that does not involve carrying laundry or babies up and down the stairs. Playing Just Dance, proving I can still do cartwheels, and doing a Yoga-for-Splits youtube workout with my daughter DO count, even if I am hobbling the next day. Bonus sticker if the kids join in. Lose a sticker if they laugh at you.
So, let’s earn some
nutella quiet time wine stickers! What would you add to the list?