Saturday, February 13, 2010

the "poker chip" game.

Please tell me I'm not alone when I repeat myself about 15 times to do the same thing.... "Brush your teeth. Brush your teeth. Taylor, brush your teeth. Have you brushed your teeth yet?" Ahhhhh!!!! I find myself losing patience (and hair) nearly every single day.... I don't know if my voice is so annoying that she just doesn't listen, or if she just doesn't care what I ask her or TELL her to do, or if her ignoring me is the only way she feels she is "voicing" her control.... Whatever it is drives me nuts!!!!

Anyway, this started a while back, almost a year before Taylor started Kindergarten. She attended Kindercare. It was her preschool. It was a vicious cycle. (Or so it FELT vicious to me). I'd lose my patience nearly everyday. I'd yell at her to GET READY!!!! And she'd get upset and I'd get upset and it just felt horrible for both of us.... So I sought help. Needed to find a way to get over this daily battle before it escalated. During one of these mornings was the one time she told me "I DON'T love you mommy!!" Ohhhh, it broke my heart and I thought I was going to die... Seriously! I cried about that alll day! She was soo little and had suuuch a sweet caring heart that I didn't think she would EVER say such a thing, or even more than that, ever have such a feeling inside her like that. I KNEW that all of these chaotic mornings were making her feel just as horrible as they were making me feel....

Soooo, off for help I went. Mind you, she never got spanked, although, I felt like I wanted to spank her butt. However, I think the loud raised voices were probably more scary and painful than a swat on the butt.... Anyway. I got this brilliant suggestion from this woman. She suggests that we get a jar and some poker chips.... We pick 3 things that Taylor is having the hardest time with for one week (or 2) and make a list. 1. Getting out of bed. 2. Getting dressed. 3. Brushing her teeth. The list went something like that. Now, if I told her once to do something, she would get 3 poker chips if she did it the first time. If I had to tell her twice, she'd get 2 and if I had to tell her more than twice, she wouldn't get any. BUT if she took the initiative and did it BEFORE I asked her to, she'd get 4!!

We used a glass vase, so that she could seeeee how many poker chips she was EARNING! What we did to go along with this, was made a chart. (A "reward" chart).... This consisted of the things she really enjoys....

Me reading her a story at any given time.... Cost.... 4 poker chips. Chuck E Cheese visit, 50 poker chips.... At this time, Taylor REAALLLLY wanted Heelys.... She hadn't tried them out, but she insisted that this was what she wanted.... Mind you, these things were expensive at that time! They were about 80 bucks! So Heelys carried a hefty pricetag of 100 poker chips. Taylor worked hard and very much took the initiative for many things, as she wanted these heelys! She counted her poker chips, daily, and multiple times in a day.... I would tell her, "Honey, you counted them earlier remember?" She'd say, "I just wanna make sure they're all there." She'd get closer and closer and even if she had 25 poker chips, she was SOOO excited that she was "almost" at 100 and "almost" gonna get her heelys.... So 100 poker chips came and she got her expensive heelys!!! She didn't get much use out of them (probably mostly my fault.... I'm still learning too you know.... But it was a great system.... The reward chart can include many different ideas and rewards. A visit to a fast food place. (Ick). A visit to the library. Disneyland. Bowling. Zoo. A picnic. Anything. =) you guys design the reward chart and hang it somewhere for them to stay motivated.... Taylor has done pretty well for the most part with an occasional slip up here and there.... Now I am sure there are going to be many people who will say, "ashley! She's only 7 yrs old!" Yes, that's right. She is 7 years old and in 2nd grade. I do expect her to get up with her alarm clock (because that's how she prefers to wake up). I do expect her to eat breakfast, make her lunch, dress herself (we usually decide the outfit the night before), brush her teeth, I'll do her hair, but expect that her lunch is made and in her backpack. I made a checklist for her for the mornings, so that she wouldn't forget anything. If fridays were library days, then on her checklist for thursday night, it included "put library book in backpack." I look at it like this.... Your kids are going to blame some sort of unhappiness on you. And that's okay. I'm okay with that. I'd rather have my kids sitting in therapy, complaining about me, but being independent and complaining about me rather than having a HUGE wake up call when I continue to do everything for them and then all of a sudden they wake up and realize what it's like to be independent.... When they have to realize what the cost of living is, or how long it actually takes to get ready. Do you see my point? Sure, I can wake Taylor up and HAVE her ready in 15 minutes, if I changed her clothes for her, made her lunch, fed her breakfast. Oh yes, we've broken records before. But she is LEARNING much more this way.... She is LEARNING to make it without me, and as much as I'll probably hate that one day, ultimately that is a parent's goal, right? You want happy, healthy, independent children who handle business!!!! At least that's what I want....

So to my lovely daughter Taylor, although you may complain about me in a few years and say how I've never done anything for you, you'll appreciate it one day when I'm not here.... I work very hard to not have you NEED people and their help.... I want you to grow up knowing how to do everything on your own.... So that when you do have a partner whose company you truly enjoy, you will be with them because you CHOOSE to be with them, not because you NEED them.... So here's to feeding yourself breakfast, making your own lunch, setting your alarm clock and waking up on time.... I love you and am EVER so PROUD of how wonderful you are.... Though I don't always say it, because you don't need to hear it all the time (and grow up NEEDING to be told how wonderful you are all the time), just know that I do think you're wonderful. I've always thought you were wonderful, and in my heart, you will ALWAYS BE wonderful.... =)

3 comments:

Stephani Nicole Anneler said...

Awwwwwwwwww great post once again. I love this and i totally agree with how you are bringing her up, she will appriciate you and life a heck of a lot more as she get's older. These are the things she's going to remember forever, these are the things that are gonna allow her to grow and mature faster then others....These are the memories you hold dear to your heart the older you get. Great Job Ashley, your an amazing mother by all means!

Jenni Newman said...

I want to see the rewards chart! Is Disneyland on there or was that just an example?

Ashley King said...

this reward chart was from long ago. i don't think we have it anymore. disneyland was a reward. we used to have disneyland passes. =) i am really thinking about taking out the poker chips again and making a new reward chart for her age now. =)

stephani, thank you for your sweet words. =) you always have such positive things to say. =)