Or rather, "beans and rice".
This is another gem from my very own parents (see Super Kid post).
Do you ever feel like you are always asking your kids to do the same exact things? (put away your shoes, put away your backpack, put away your dirty socks, etc.) Or NOT to do the same exact things?! (please stop chewing with your mouth open, please stop provoking your brother, please stop singing the Thomas song, etc.) Can you tell I have all boys? :)
Do you ever feel sad that your sons don't open the door for you? Or that no one appreciates the okra stew you spent two hours making?
Do you ever wish that you could ask your children to do/not to do something without that sound of barely subdued rage in your voice?
Well, I do. (I actually don't make okra stew, though. That sounds faintly disgusting.)
Mom and Dad also got fed up with this type of repetitiveness in parenting, and devised the following method.
1. Get a bowl of beans (dry pinto beans) and a bowl of white rice
2. Get cute little containers, one for each of your children who are old enough to be expected to obey, and label them with their names.
3. Explain to your little sweethearts that there is a new game you'll be playing every day. And there will be a prize at the end of each day.
4. "Here are the rules: When you do something nice, I will give you a bean. When I ask you to do something and you cheerfully do it, I will give you a bean. When you do something REALLY nice without my asking (like hold the door open for me when I'm Primary President and trying desperately to carry armloads of handouts and my scriptures and your "reverence" stuff into the church without letting your little brother escape back to the parking lot), you get MORE, like maybe even FIVE BEANS.
"When you do something naughty, I give you a rice. When you disobey, I give you a rice (think: then make sure you obey! :).
"For each rice you have, you will lose two of your beans when we count them."
5. At the end of the day (I usually do this after supper, when they're still at the table), I bring over the cute little containers, and we tally up the scores. For each bean, I give the little sweethearts an MnM or a chocolate chip. Some days they don't get any! But usually they get probably around 15-20.
Another way of rewarding with the beans is to let them save up for something. Like, "when you have 50 beans, I'll take you to DQ for a dilly bar." (Or if you prefer something more healthy, "when you have 50 beans, I'll make you your very own pot of okra stew.")
Anyway. It's a great system! Our boys have started racing to the door to open it for me (good thing there are two sets into the church!) :)
Tweak this any way you would like. . . .whatever works in your family! It's nice to have a ready reward and a ready consequence even for the little things.
Thanks to Wikimedia Commons for the pix, except the "bean and rice cart" one is my very own.